06 February 2012

Monday Musings...
It's a sparkling Winter day here in Ft. Wayne (dunno what the hell we did to deserve that), and the Super Bowl, with all the weeks of hype upon hype is FINALLY behind us. I was busy watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, and I was highly amused by that. I live for the Kitty Halftime Show
If you did watch the Super Bowl though, the best part would have been the final TWO MINUTES...the rest really didn't matter.
I also hear there was a bit of a flap about a halftime "guest singer" (read rapper?) called M.I.A., who obviously lived up to the NAME when it comes to brain cell functionality when he (omg, I found out it's not a HE...it's a SHE...astounding!!!) mumbled an expletive and gave a middle finger salute (according to news sources).
Leave it a person of "this" caliber to muck up a family oriented venue such as this. Whatta woman...NOT!
And naturally, the intelligence-challenged contingent in Indianapolis managed to get 11 of their number arrested for public intox and resisting (with assault) to police there.
Talk about examples of a declining society...well, maybe let's not, okay?
On to other things....
I want to speak about the recent "changes" to the 122nd Air National Guard Fighter Wing stationed in our fair city in just a bit, but first, we have some other news to attend to.
*** We have had homicide #3 in Allen country. Here's the link to the story:
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120205/LOCAL07/302059928
And again, we have another (innocent) person in the MINORITY community gunned down in a car.
No, he has NO record, which in and of itself is amazing down here.
(umm...where's the OUTRAGE from the BLACK community, anyway? Down in Indy waiting to come back from the Super Bowl?)
We are still on track to at least DUPLICATE last year's totals (24 - I said 25). Personally, I think this city CAN do better.
Philly already has 34 homicides, but they also have TEN TIMES the population (but only less than 20% are CAUSING all the crime).
*** Well, I suppose there are other reasons why people LOVE Ft. Wayne, aside from the crime rates, as evidenced in THIS link:
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120205/FEAT/302059998
Amazing how a city can consistently IGNORE the worst part of town, hoping it will somehow "fix itself"...ain't gonna happen, people.
(at least not with THIS crowd of TROGS living around us)
And I'm definitely in the minority wanting to change it back to someplace the rest of the city doesn't have to look down it's collective nose upon.
But, I digress...
*** Let's take a look at what the latest DoD reports have done to a proud installation, shall we?
The military is apparently performing another round of what we call BRACs (Base Realignment and Closure), in order to trim down those tasked with "providing for our common defense"...
Seems that cutting THOSE jobs makes about as much sense as teats on a damn bull.
Back in the 1990s, Baer Field (aka FWIA, home of the 122nd ANG Blacksnakes) was switched over to (older) F-16s, and then as recently as 2010, were changed over to (even older) A-10 Warthogs.
But the mission for the base remained the SAME...it was a FIGHTER group.
It was only the PARAMETERS of the mission that changed to ground support and light bombing from air combat and ground support.
Now, the A-10 is an aircraft the military NEVER really wanted...even when it first came out in 1973.
Here's the WIKI on the A-10:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunderbolt_II
But, in spite of what the military wanted, it proved itself decade after decade a VIABLE contingent when you needed something slow, ugly and full of ordnance...that ALSO got the job done every single time.
Hell, the B-52 (called the BUFF by a lot of us...you should look that nickname up for yourselves) has been in service since the year I WAS BORN (1952), and they predict it will STILL be around for at least another 20 years (hope I can say the same...LOL).
But now, in it's "infinite wisdom" (?) the military wants to (again) mothball the fleet of Warthogs, and send along between 9-12 of these "new" (???) MC-12 surveillance aircraft to take the place of the Warthogs.
Now, before we go any further, here's some history of the MC-12 (from WIKI):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechcraft_C-12_Huron
You can see that THIS aircraft ALSO was first placed into service back in the early 1970s.
Of course, you have had upgrades over the decades, but the basic airframe is an OLD design...as old as the A-10, in fact.
The civilian counterpart to the MC-12 is called the BEECHCRAFT HURON, and is basically an executive aircraft, meant to fly the bosses from A to B.
Some smaller regional airlines use these "puddle-jumpers" to shuttle people to large international airports with great success.
Now what possible claim can be made for this aircraft being placed in the surveillance category?
Actually, it's more like RPG-fodder...or a target for small arms fire...that's about it.
It can't shoot back, and it's range is comparable to that of the A-10, which DOES have a serviceable function on even today's battlefield.
The Warthog is the BEST damn tank-buster in theater today...ask any ground-pounder.
It's the ONLY airframe that employs the GAU-8 Avenger 30MM Gatling CANNON (with depleted uranium rounds), and surrounds it's pilot with a titanium-alloy protective "tub".
Also, this platform has a REAL brain at the controls, and not some pre-programmed chip that might stray off mission and bomb something it's not supposed to. The HUMAN element is something no technology can surpass.
But, the 122nd is being given the MC-12, and supposedly losing the A-10s.
Yeah, this is one of THOSE moments, so go ahead and say it...
"WTF???"
(betcha feel a lot better now. I know I did)
Interestingly enough, the Willow Grove NAS outside of Philly, is also losing THEIR A-10s (last ones should have left last year), and THAT facility used to be a really happening place.
I think in a time where we practice unconventional warfare, maybe we should keep things that are a bit unconventional (like the A-10s).
Here in Ft. Wayne, we WERE told ( a couple years ago) that the 122nd would be (eventually) getting the new F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter)...
Now, the transition from the A-10 to the F-35 would be a lot easier than going from the A-10 to the MC-12s and then back to a REAL fighter like the F-35. This facility has had a proud history of being a FIGHTER UNIT...as far back as 1947 (the year the USAF was born, coincidentally).
Not to mention, the 122nd ANG base here has pumped in about $60 MIL into the county and city budgets in one manner or another.
Originally flying North American P-51 Mustangs, then Lockheed's P-80 Shooting Stars, then the Republic F-84, going to the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, then up to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, to the (Fairchild) A-10 Thunderbolt II aka the Warthog...these people KNOW fighter aircraft...period.
And to me, if something WORKS, why the hell screw with it?
(Guess this is Obama's way of getting back at congressman Stutzman and Pence?)
Back in the late 1980s, I was fortunate enough to spend some time aboard the USS Kittyhawk (CV-63 - Constellation class carrier) when she was in Philly (at the now, also closed dry dock of the Naval shipyard) for something the officer called the SLEP (service life extension program), intended to provide at least 30 years MORE service to her. Well, that didn't last barely 15 years, as she was decommissioned (and mothballed) in 2009.
The military "bigwigs" have this wonderful habit of SAYING one thing, and then doing the complete opposite...amazing we can still win ANY conflict these days with such tactics.
I say we petition our politicians to have the 122nd REMAIN a FIGHTER GROUP...and KEEP the A-10s (until they can get the F-35s we were PROMISED). Let the "bosses" take their COMMUTER PLANES and find another facility to use, instead of OURS here in Ft.Wayne.
You want surveillance aircraft?
Use the damn DRONES...or bring an SR-71 out of storage...just a thought.
If there is one thing that would depress the hell out of me (more) about this city, it would be having to see the 122nd BLACKSNAKES turned into the 122nd GREY SQUIRRELS, because that's the difference between the Warthogs and the Hurons...plain and simple.
That ought to get us all thinking about the future of our military.
Have yourselves a great week.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay safe out there, America.

* * * * * * * * * *
(( Tomorrow, we take a look-see at our "cyber-infrastructure", and the precarious state it's in, so we'll see 'ya here, then.))

8 comments:

Slamdunk said...

My knowledge of decisions to maintain US air superiority is limited, so I would have to just smile and agree with you on your plane talk Bob.

On the SB halftime festivities--I was pumped that it started right about 8:00 pm which is little kid bedtime so I got to miss the whole thing.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Remind me to sign you up as my "XO"...if I ever find myself in a situation where I might need one...LOL.
The whole politics vs. military is what caused the slice & dice in Berlin when WW2 ended...set up IN ADVANCE...pre-planned.
And that led to the cold war..and all the rest is history, too.

Unfortunately, any and all military "decisions" are eventually made BY politicians.

Ancient ROME found that one out...the HARD way.

Hate to think we'll follow suit.

As to the hafltime show?
Didn't watch any of it...at all.
I just saw the article and laughed my butt off...can't even have a NORMAL performance these days...can we?

Hey, thanks for spendign part of your morning here and commenting...
Have yourselves a great week.
Stay safe out there.

gadfly said...

Bob G:

As I understand it, a dozen F-35A were delivered to Elgin AFB in Oct 2011 for use in establishing a flight training center but none of these suckers are protecting our butts right now. 1700 are planned but the current defense budget reductions should bring production to a near halt.

So there is nothing out there to protect our troops except the A-10. But from what I have also heard, the A-10's at Baer Field are virtually inoperable simply because pilot training has not progressed that much in the past two years.

Rumor has it that the ANG folks are lounging luxuriantly in the first rate facilities that your and my tax dollars built in appreciation of their Iraq tours flying the C-130 cargo transports.

Bob G. said...

Gadfly:
With the recent budget merry-go-round between the W/H and the Pentagon, I have NO idea how many JSF's are expected to roll out and in what quantities to all THREE of the branches it was supposed to be a part of now...that's anyone's guess.
I'd be surprised if they produce HALF of the initial order. they already slashed production of the F-22 to under a hundfed airframes.

I think the Eglin deal was "supposed" to be for training not for the pilots (per se), but for FTIs (instructors)
Then, THOSE Zoomies would roll to the bases assigned down the road and train the rest of the drivers at the AFBs.

They (gov't) DID turn down the proposal for a SECOND manufacturer to produce an ENGINE for the F-35, so they only have the ONE (for now).

There really IS no other REAL protection for our ground-pounders except for the Warthog...drones can't make the "snap-calls" in combat theater that a HUMAN pilot can...the tech doesn't yet exist for THAT level of complexity.

I have had more than a few FLYOVERS from the A-10s since they arrived (they have a really specific turbofan sound), so someone's doing something with them, other than checking the tires on the ground...lol.

If anything, I thought activities would RAMP UP at the 122nd when the Warthogs came on board.
(could be orders were cut to curtail flight ops...always a possibility)

Be a shame to see the ANG become "commuter pilots", though...that don't seem right after all those BETTER years.

Thanks for the info...good stuff.
And thanks for taking time to drop by and comment.

Stay safe out there.

CWMartin said...

Madonna tried to surround herself with"new Talent" and found out why old washed up acts are brought to the Super Bowl in the FIRST PLACE- because 90% of them are low class low talent idiots. Should have ditched all of them except C-lo and the tightrope guy.

John D. said...

Hey, at least the 122nd isn't being shut down entirely, and they are still going to have planes. Units like the 181st (in Terre Haute) and the 102nd (on Cape Cod) lost their planes entirely. Both switched from fighter wings (F-16s and F-15s, respectively) to intel analysis. Important work, to be sure, but not what guys who want to be in the air would prefer to be doing.

Sadly, this is all part of our continuing pattern of preparing to fight the last war. We'll be ready for Iraq and Afghanistan just as those wars come to an end.

Bob G. said...

CWM:
Or, they could have gone back to the good old days and got a real MARCHING BAND to play...(just a thought).

Coulda had TOBY KEITH, too.

WHat passes for "talent" these days is a mere shadow of times past...(with VERY few exceptions).

Thanks for stopping on by today and commenting.

Stay safe up thre.

Bob G. said...

John D.:
I suppose that commuter planes are better than NO planes at all...
(kinda, sorta)
But, I also think that a FIGHTER GROUP should be just that...accent on the FIGHTER part.

They have PUH-LENTY of tactical units, intel units, security units, refueling units, air control units...and so on (too many in fact), so why not COMBINE the units (fighter/Intel).

This changeover will leave the better part of ALL of NE Indiana without ANY real fighter assets.

(unless some old civvy pilot mounts a "MA DEUCE" on an AT-6 Texan warbird...or a Piper Cherokee...LOL)

That might cause the BATFE to come callin', though...

Sure is a far cry from the old SAC days when we had damn near every aircraft ready all the time.

Now, they just sit out in the desert, marking time.

Guess the DoD politicos have no idea how important these facilities are...until it affects THEIR constituents (and votes)...then they will spend 50x the money to keep it in THEIR area.

Double standards?
Anyone?

Hey, thanks for stopping on over today and commenting.