AF taking steps in the right direction

This is a discussion on AF taking steps in the right direction within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; It used to be that only the Air Force Security Forces went to Camp Bullis. I came across this article in Military.com. It is about ...

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Thread: AF taking steps in the right direction

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array mark555's Avatar
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    AF taking steps in the right direction

    It used to be that only the Air Force Security Forces went to Camp Bullis. I came across this article in Military.com. It is about time the rest of the AF realized that it is an armed service. McPeak must be pooping his pants (former CG of the AF) This sounds more like the ghost of Curtis LaMay.

    CAMP BULLIS, Texas - A row of rumbling flatbed trucks and Humvees outfitted with gun turrets lurches toward a mock village of cinderblock buildings where instructors posing as insurgents wait to test the trainees' convoy protection skills.

    The training range is Army, as is the duty itself - one of the most dangerous in Iraq these days. But the young men and women clad in camouflage and helmets training to run and protect convoys are not Army; they're Air Force.

    They are part of a small but steady stream of Airmen being trained to do Army duty under the Army chain of command, a tangible sign the Pentagon was scouring the military to aid an Iraq force that was stretched long before President Bush ordered 21,500 additional U.S. troops there.

    "What we've seen is the Department of Defense continues to find ways to meet the requirements imposed by the commander in chief," said retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center in the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    No plans to expand the Air Force's role in convoy operations have been announced since Bush ordered the troop surge in Iraq, but Ryan said the Army and other branches of service have been looking at every possible job that can be shifted - from the Air Force performing convoy duty to the Navy setting up medical facilities far from waterfronts.

    "I can't imagine there are any jobs that they could be doing that they aren't doing, but certainly, that doesn't mean they're not continuing to look to find every possible instance where we can use the full military to solve this problem and not just have this be an Army and Marine Corps issue," he said.

    Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the military's chief spokesman in Iraq, said it makes sense to bring in other branches of service for routine activities such as the convoy operations, whereas "it's not something we should do to use them to clear buildings and conduct operations."

    The 2,225 Airmen who have been trained and sent to run convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan so far remain a relatively small part of the overall force that includes tens of thousands of Soldiers, who are sent for longer stretches and more frequent deployments.

    The training at Camp Bullis began nearly three years ago, without the elaborate camp that evolved with the persistent need for Air Force help and long before Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week extended active Army deployments by three months.

    The Air Force is running a regular rotation of 5-week courses for Airmen to work convoys between Kuwait and Iraq. Recently, separate training was created for those being deployed to Afghanistan.

    Few of the Airmen, who once mostly moved or fixed equipment on Air Force bases, imagined they would be sent to fight in a ground war, but course trainers say it makes little difference.

    "We want to be one team, one fight. It doesn't matter which service tape you have on your uniform," said 1st Lt. Matt Addington, the course commander.

    Most Air Force enlisted personnel haven't had ground combat training, and the Army has its own sets of weaponry, terminology and command chains - all of which have to be taught to the Airmen.

    The Camp Bullis training, in an area named for two Airmen killed in Iraq convoys, includes courses on assault rifles, roadside bomb recognition, combat first aid and driving tactics. The Airmen live in a camp designed like a forward operating base, sleeping on cots, eating MREs and scrambling to shelter when air raid sirens sound.

    The training culminates with a 72-hour exercise that includes instructors dressed in long white shirts and tapestry caps, planting mock roadside bombs and shooting blanks at the convoy from open windows in an "urban warfare village."

    Many Airmen were surprised at the assignment.

    "I was expecting just to be a vehicle operations troop, dealing with wreckers, forklifts - vehicles like that," said Senior Airman Robert Bledsoe, who manned a 50-caliber gun during his first deployment to Iraq. "It opened my eyes a bunch."

    He completed a second round of training last week with a unit that will deploy within about a week for a 6-month tour, longer than the standard 4-month deployments for most Air Force personnel but much shorter than the 15-month tours active Army personnel now face.

    Staff Sgt. Stewart Jordan, a transport instructor for the course, said even the most reluctant Airmen-turned-Soldiers usually come around, ultimately finding the mission fulfilling.

    "Those that it's tougher on realize that they signed on the dotted line," he said.
    "Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    Well the RAF has it's own force for airfield protection, guess the USAF was feeling left out of the budget wars.

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    Ex Member Array HOLYROLLER's Avatar
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    The USAF is headed in the wrong direction, we are not the Army. I agree that we (USAF) should be more combat oriented/trained, but it needs to be done w/o losing our identity as a service. So far this has not happened, we seem to just be copying the Army (uniforms, assignments, missions,speach, etc.).

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    New Member Array sbucks's Avatar
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    Mark555 says:"It is about time the rest of the AF realized that it is an armed service."

    Remember that when you need close air support from our A-10's or F-16's.
    I dont need a rifle ( it would slow me down) to arm and combat turn these "weapons" to join in the battle.
    Maybe we shouldn't use combat aircraft..we could all cary rifles and work on foot (thats what "real" soldiers would do ; right?)

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    The Air force separated from the Army so they EACH could do what they do best. That is ideal. However, if modern circumstances demand that AF take a more active combat role, then trying to do it different than the Army would only serve to put a barrier between branches that would show when we need (and we would, at times) the army to bail us oput of a tough spot. There may even be times when an AF unit could provide support for an Army unit in distress. It would be a lot easier to teach the AF Amry-speak now than to retrain everyone later.
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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    I dont know that we need AF convoy guards , but let me tell you that some of the " sky cops " as well as some of the folks who recover downed airmen are not the folks you want to screw with . The AF has the " zoomie " rep that they fly and live in bases with beer and sat TV . This does not happen to be true for all of them lol . They have some snake eaters too .
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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    USAF - Sit down, push buttons, mission completed

    Really though,

    PJ' and CCT's are all trained for combat extractions and fac. Have been since Vietnam.

    SP's and SS's are all combat trained to protect airbases and provide security.

    All combat forces. I am glad the Air Force is starting to take it more seriously.

    Things have changed since I was in.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    LOL az ill defend them here , but my brother in law is retireing this year , and the only thing i will call the AF to his face is the " Air Farce " but then i dont much care for the fella on a personal level .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Hey, don't forget the AF Combat controllers. The few I met where pretty sharp operators.

    My last AF stint was in ICBM's and if we'd ever "pushed the button" not only was the mission over but our lives were over, our families lives and most of the world was over too. It was a very sobering thought.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELCruisr View Post
    Hey, don't forget the AF Combat controllers. The few I met where pretty sharp operators.

    My last AF stint was in ICBM's and if we'd ever "pushed the button" not only was the mission over but our lives were over, our families lives and most of the world was over too. It was a very sobering thought.
    CCT = Combat Control Team

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs View Post
    LOL az ill defend them here , but my brother in law is retireing this year , and the only thing i will call the AF to his face is the " Air Farce " but then i dont much care for the fella on a personal level .


    You call it the air farce, I say we are the only branch to send most of our officers into battle while the enlisted members stay in the back in support roles. Pretty smart if you ask me

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azchevy View Post
    You call it the air farce, I say we are the only branch to send most of our officers into battle while the enlisted members stay in the back in support roles. Pretty smart if you ask me
    I think Redneck was saying that he only calls it that to his Bro-in-law, to push his buttons.
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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    The AF has produced fighting men before. I had a friend who was in the AF, some type of recon group, trained sort of like an FO I guess(?), in 'Nam. Then worked right along with Spec Ops guys from the Army and a few times with Marines and Seals, way in the boonies. No BS either, becuase I saw most of his military record when I was helping him move one time. He was an operator for sure. One bad dude, won a medal of Valor and knew demolitions inside and out. IIRC, some of his work involved slipping into places where he wasn't supposed to be to sabotage SAM sites. Ones that our planes weren't allowed to hit, becuase they were on the wrong side of the border of one piss ant country or another. Only AF guy I ever knew who was in it deep on the ground. Not sure what his group was though, I can't recall. haven't seen him in years.

    After the war he was a bomb loader and builder for another 10 yrs and then got out.
    Last edited by sgtD; May 24th, 2007 at 12:37 AM.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    It is funny how some people bash us REMF Air Forcers but I can tell you right now that if I didn't do MY job those seals, d-boys, reconners, rangers, and other assorted bad asses would be walking out of combat zones, more like running. God bless them but for every spec-operator there are crew chiefs, navigation specialists, flight engineers, fuel technicians, mission planners, operations specialists, and other assorted support units that make their job possible and we are proud of what we do.

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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azchevy View Post
    It is funny how some people bash us REMF Air Forcers but I can tell you right now that if I didn't do MY job those seals, d-boys, reconners, rangers, and other assorted bad asses would be walking out of combat zones, more like running. God bless them but for every spec-operator there are crew chiefs, navigation specialists, flight engineers, fuel technicians, mission planners, operations specialists, and other assorted support units that make their job possible and we are proud of what we do.
    In my case, and I would presume in most, bashing is all intended as humorous fun.

    I had a bunch of apache fly boys save me some grief one time and I was proud to see 'em, even if they did sleep in airconditioned baracks instead of sand holes like us.

    I spent a lot of time in the rear with the gear my self, or providing security for convoys. No contribution is unimportant IMO. Without food, goods, and gear, men can't fight. If you don't believe me, ask some of those starving Iraqis who couldn't wait to surrender and get something to eat.

    I have told the story before about my buddy who was a cook. On the day of the breach into kuwait in the gulf war, he was a rifleman first, as all Marines are. He ended up running through a minefield under fire that day. Back to cooking a week later.

    I fully respect everyone who serves in any capacity.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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