Well it’s been a good long while since I wrote that last post and I still haven’t gone back to delete it. Naturally it turns out that a good portion of it is wrong because the AF hasn’t unmasked advanced degrees, but as my current boss pointed out that doesn’t mean my previous boss didn’t hold it against me. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of him holding it against me so no telling what my recommendation will look like this time around. Some things I did find out are that my performance reports for the last 5 years–as long as I’ve been a major–were not very well written and have a fairly strong negative impact on my chances to get promoted. I also have to consider that less than 30 out of 700+ promotees were above-the-zone, meaning that no matter how stellar the record my chances of getting promoted are very slim. My cynicism only became worse when I saw that my previous boss weakened my OPR and downgraded my medal. It’s hard to feel like he wasn’t deliberately trying to cause me to fail. Happy news all around, huh? Of course, good things have happened here, our […]
After more than 15 years I’m starting to get the first signs of a major relationship problem. Not with e, thankfully, we’re doing just fine. I’m talking about the Air Force. I’ve been in a committed relationship, you might say, for nearly 16 years now. In fact, I don’t have the option of trying to leave until 2013. The Air Force, on the other hand, has no such obligation to me. It demonstrated as much by letting me know that I wasn’t worth promoting to lieutenant colonel this time around. Being passed over puts me in the bottom 25% of the 1,000+ majors who were up for promotion in this board. It also means that if I’m not selected next year then the AF will have a second board to decide if it’s worth keeping me around. A lot of pilots get what’s called selective continuation each time they get passed over, but there’s no guarantee. Without being continued, I’ll be unceremoniously asked to leave the Air Force within six months of the decision to pass me over. Wow. That’s a hard blow to me. I’ve been wearing an Air Force uniform since I was fifteen years old. Granted, the […]
Well this trip is turning out to be loads of fun. After checking out of the hotel at 3 and getting to the airport by about 3:45, we started planning for the flight back to San Antonio with the medical team still over 3 hours away. The pilot had the great idea of shortening the day by flying closer to the medical team instead of waiting for them to drive back to us. He looked around and found that they were 10 minutes away from Moffett Field near San Francisco and directed us to start planning for that. This is where things got interesting. The pilot, while well known and somewhat important in AFRC, doesn’t have a lot of experience with active duty missions–at least it seems that way. So far throughout the trip he’s refused to deal with the active duty command who actually controls us; instead he only deals with AFRC command and tells them to report what he says to the Air Force. The reality is that we’re on an Air Force mission and should deal with them exclusively. Anyhow, this led to the pilot asking the wrong set of people to recut the mission down to […]
Well, I’m off to a good start on another fun trip with the C-130. It started out Thursday night at 11:30 when I got the call saying we were leaving ASAP Friday morning instead of Saturday. On Friday morning when I got to work the Air Force was already calling asking why we didn’t take off at 10. This is the kind of small stuff I sweat: there is no way a crew can legally even be in the building less than 12 hours after the phone call comes in, so asking them to be airborne in 10.5 hours without any kind of waiver is ridiculous. Add this to the fact that there was someone else from the Air Force calling to say they weren’t sure who we were or where we were going. Typical fun. We finally found out where they wanted us to fly and got airborne towards San Antonio. On the way in, Houston Center called us and said we didn’t have permission to land at our destination so where did we want to go? A few quick phone patches later the destination realized their part in the game and agreed we certainly did have permission. When […]
There wasn’t much flying for me today. I made it to bus time after having my £9.50 free breakfast. What’s that you say? Well, breakfast is included with the room, so in addition to the £3.50 normal room service fee the hotel tacks on an additional £6 fee for putting your selected breakfast on a tray if you ask them to deliver. I figure since I didn’t eat last night that’s at least £10 worth of meal I can afford to spend on breakfast. Since the Colonel wanted to fly again and the aircraft commander still hadn’t been in the seat, those two went together while I hung around ops for awhile and went back to the room. Still jet-lagged, I just hung around for the few hours until I had to go right back to the base for the welcome BBQ. I haven’t driven a right-hand-drive since 1990 when I was in Japan, so it was interesting to get used to shifting with my left and staying on the other side of the road. The BBQ was pretty good although almost none of the RAF chaps were able to make it since they were flying. After I got some […]
I am SO ready for bed! Last night I wasn’t able to get to sleep until 10 before my 3 o’clock wakeup. When we got up it was the usual hurry up and wait until we finally got airborne just after 9. The flight was relatively uneventful, although it was interesting to see an O-6 have trouble with radio calls and position reports. On active duty an O-6 would have crossed the pond many times, but a reserve O-6 might be a high-time domestic Delta captain who’s only flown over once or twice in his life. He did well enough to get us across in less than the predicted 7 hours (the winds get the credit for the shorter time of course). By the time we landed my little headache from this morning was pounding from having a headset on so long. When we finally got to the hotel 2 hours later I announced that I wouldn’t be joining the crew for dinner. I don’t even feel like waiting for room service. I think I’ll talk to e and then hit the sack!
My night may have been uneventful, but one of our troops had an experience last night. Apparently while I was with my mom listening to old ladies complain last night the rest of the gang was at the sports bar across from billeting having some food and drinks. One of the guys had more drink than food and was worse off than he seemed to everyone. When the last three left the bar, two turned right to their building while the last guy seemed to be turning left to his. He overshot and instead wound up in the golf course 1/4 mile away, trudging through the fairways in the dark. At one point he fell down a drainage ditch and bent his thumb back pretty hard. He says he was pretty out of it but woke right up when a security policeman said “On your knees!” and ordered him to produce his ID card. Seems the guy wandered on to the flightline side of a building and was nearly on the flightline itself when they spotted him. It didn’t take the police long to figure out what was going on, so they brought him in to the drunk tank to […]
I’m off on a trip again, this time to participate in the 62nd anniversary of the Normandy invasion. We’ll be dropping some troops on 4 June, but for now we’re just concerned with getting there. Today was a very early start, with a 3:30 wakeup time. Despite a minor maintenance problem the trip was fairly uneventful as we picked up passengers in Macon and Nashville. We’re staying the night at McGuire, which gave me a chance to see my mom. Getting her on the base was a mess, since apparently everyone else in the world was trying to get on at 4:30 on a Saturday. After that mess we were able to have a good time. There’s not much town outside the gates, so we decided instead of driving halfway back to my mom’s house we’d just eat at the Garden State Diner near the base. We had a true New Jersey diner experience, complete with a not-quite-rude-but-not-friendly-either waitress and a table of old women loudly complaining about the food and how they were going to eat some of it and take some of it home for later. When my mom dropped me off I found out that my key […]
Well, despite the poor night’s sleep, everyone was in high spirits this morning. We got moving at our usual slow pace and then were finally on the way home. Nothing ever seems longer than the last 30 minutes from Birmingham to the base, but before I knew it we were on final for 29. We got home just in time to miss the squadron’s pot luck lunch, but most of us were more concerned with going home than eating anyway. I said Merry Christmas to the guys and headed home. For some reason it feels like I’ve been gone the full 8 days even though I spent the night here at the halfway point. Now to enjoy a little peace and quiet before the house is full of Christmas guests.
Ok, so I can’t count. Or rather, I misspoke earlier. It’s a 7 night trip, which means 8 days, otherwise I’d be writing this from home. Instead, I’m writing from the very nice but loud Renaissance Worthington hotel in downtown Ft. Worth, TX. Nice because it’s more hotel than I’d ever want to afford (the gov’t gets a rate quite a bit below the general public for official travel), and loud because the KU football team is here to play a bowl game on Friday. I don’t know why it is that you can have a hotel filled to the gills with strangers and will hardly hear a peep, but the same hotel less than half full where half of those guests know each other is a different story. I guess people think that they have such a large group that no one else on their floor could possibly be a regular business traveler who needs to work the next morning–not in 3 days like they do. Anyhow, the trip here was pretty fun. This morning we decided to plan to fly over the Grand Canyon instead of going straight to Texas, thus ensuring we’d meet today’s 4-hour and the […]