I'm Out

The Air Force recently asked pilots to give some feedback on why they’re bailing out of the service. One sublimely creative rogue made his point in 95 subparts and posted it on The Pilot Network facebook group. It is provided here for your edutainment.

I’m not sure if the guy who made the comment wants his name tied to this post … I will leave the door open for him to claim attribution if he so desires. This list needs to be scrutinized by senior leaders for what it says, what it implies, and what it doesn’t say.

Away we go.

1. I joined the Air Force to fly planes. I will do the jobs in the squadron that will get the jets off the ground. Everything else is eyewash for the commanders to feel important or add items to their OPRs.

2. Pigeons. You have to throw a rock at them to get them airborne.

3. I’m only a number in the eyes of the AF, whatever slot needs to be filled will be filled regardless of job, abilities, or family/life situation.

4. Claiming that the AF is not a business because we fight wars and go into combat. A combat organization can still be run like a non-profit.

5. Not looking into operating more like an airline because the argument is that we go into combat. This sounds very similar to “the AF is not a business” argument.

6. Rewarding for the wrong things. I’m a pilot and I only get one line for flying on my OPR, maybe two if I had an emergency or flew a General.

7. The idea that everyone should be the CSAF, no other organization grooms its employees in this manner, why should the AF?

8. Up or out.

9. Spend it now or you won’t have it next FY.

10. “What would the taxpayers think of #9?” Maybe if we were accountable like a business to our shareholders…

11. Assignments are handed out through AFPC and my commander through a computer program based on an algorithm developed by whom?

12. The incessant need to track things but with little accountability on the other end of the tracking.

13. “The paperless AF” (This will only happen when the CSAF went through their entire career without any paper products.)

14. I’m only in a job for a year and when I get good at it we switch everyone for a chance at this thing called “experience”.

15. This also leads to the cyclical pendulum that swings the AF. We’re over manned, let everyone go … oh shit, we’re undermanned, quick … what do we have a surplus of? C-17 Pilots? Ok make half of them MC-12 and RPA pilots and send the rest to watch Cadillacs being built by TCNs in the ‘Deid. “Excellent use of resources AFPC, write that on your OPR.”

16. “You’re the last one.”

17. The pilot bonus as a retention tool. The folks that take the bonus were going to stay in regardless of the money.

18. Surveys written by a company that never took a social or behavioral science course. Of course the AF has a high satisfaction rating when the questions are worded with agree or disagree answer choices. If you disagreed on everything there would probably be a doctor or First Shirt coming to check if you were a danger to yourself.

19. CBTs.

20. ADLS.

21. DTS.

22. Finance being run by Airmen that went to a Tech School versus actual CPAs like the rest of the world.

23. If you’re not the commander’s top three, watching him sell everyone else up the river so he looks good. True leadership is how you improve upon everyone else in your organization. 

24. Leaders thinking that long hours equates to loyalty and solid work.

25. Work should be judged by quality, not quantity.

26. The idea that correlation implies causation. Violation of the first rule of statistics is rampant in the Air Force. And the use of such statistics to make policy or push agendas is disgusting and will continue the cycle that the AF is in.

27. DEROS.

28. Time on Station.

29. Not being able to interview for the jobs that you want to try for versus what your commander or a computer program thinks you’ll be good for.

30. 3 year PCSs again and again to gain “experience.”

31. Lack of a SME program like Warrant Officers for those not looking to become the CSAF.

32. Watching commanders get in trouble for cheating on their spouses because they think they have to put in long hours at work. This leads to the needs of both in the relationship to either grow apart or search for other ways to fulfill their needs, emotionally or sexually. The moment a coworker or anyone expresses interest in them at work they feel that is a real connection and they cheat.

33. CCs and DOs never saying No to TACC.

34. TACC.

35. Being controlled by Flight Managers instead of real FAA qualified Dispatchers.

36. Flying empty on missions.

37. Upgrading someone just so they can get promoted or apply for school.

38. Upgrading someone to send them to a non-flying assignment.

39. Deploying not in your primary AFSC’s capacity.

40. Volunteering that then gets to go on your OPR.

41. Fitness Testing as a form of discrimination. I saw some great pilots get booted because they didn’t fit the physical mold of the AF.

42. Fuel savings initiatives: if we were serious we would do it like the airlines.

43. Requiring only a 65% pass rate on your squadron’s financial audit.

44. Joint Basing.

45. Shift Change as an excuse for ignorance.

46. When folks say, “I was on leave last week, I don’t know what’s going on.”

47. Squadron Culture.

48. Thinking that phrases like “That’s what she said” leads to a rape culture.

49. Continuing to take supplies to a war and bring soldiers home with no real end in sight. This leads to being gone quite a bit. Who knows what this leads to within each Airman’s family (divorce, addiction, suicide). And what do we address it with? Briefings and CBTs. I don’t think these fixes have helped this. Congress … thoughts?

50. Leave Policy.

51. ADSCs.

52. Quarterly Awards.

53. Who actually writes all your medals? Yeah that’s right, it’s you!

54. Who actually writes your OPR? Right again, it’s you!

55. The AF has a fighter pilot shortage … I think this started to happen when they sent over half of their UPT students through T-1s instead of everyone flying a T-38. Now you can’t cross-pollinate.

56. Hurry up and wait.

57. The briefing starts at 1000, so every group in the chain adds 15 minutes early to the show time.

58. Meetings in general.

59. The VIP-bend-over-backward culture of the entire AF.

60. Doing your job is the bare minimum.

61. Doing your job well means nothing on your OPR, the only thing that matters are stratifications.

62. Chosen ones,

63. The idea that Stop Loss can fix your retention problems.

64. “Pretty darn good.”

65. Additional duties.

66. Completing PME in correspondence and then going in residence.

67. Using computers as modern day typewriters.

68. I have 6 to 9 bosses. Who should I report to?

69. Box checking.

70. The apostrophe and quotations email. 

71. When Generals and VIPs come to visit, the wing leadership provides specific questions for its members to ask.

72. Leading by email.

73. What happened to IP-7.

74. Thinking that if you want to leave Active Duty and continue your service in the Guard or Reserve you’re a quitter.

75. Similar thoughts about you for applying for Palace Chase/Front or other separation programs. 

76. The VSP bait and switch.

77. DLJ Selfies.

78. AFSO 21.

79. Green Dot Training.

80. Using delay codes as markers of performance for organizations versus the intent of finding what caused a delay and fixing the problem.

81. The hidden world of the HPO.

82. The no-mistake AF culture.

83. SOS.

84. Tongue & Quill.

85. Having to “play the game.”

86. AF Politics.

87. No one willing to speak the truth about that good idea train that is leaving the station every 10 seconds. You can say “No sir, that sounds like a bad idea because X, Y, and Z.”

88. VMLs.

89. Wanting the ability to control my life and schedule on my terms.

90. If you’re looking for good sources of ideas about how to change the AF, look to the comments section of JQP, TPN, and anywhere else on social media.

91. The fact that the AF has to even draw this information out of us shows their lack of SA.

92. I was lucky enough to deploy and accomplish what I was trained to do. But I saw too many folks not have the same fortune.

93. Most of the folks I worked with were great people with amazing families.

94. I actually have no complaints about the money. I was compensated really well.

95. See ya!