The Greatest Generals and Admirals are gone forever. First and foremost, George Washington who led amidst his men enduring unpleasantness and uncomfortable conditions while trying to hold his ill equipped and untrained force together. Public Schools don’t teach students much about Washington today but he took on the greatest empire in the world and won OUR FREEDOM. The sun never set on the British Empire as Britannia ruled the world. John Pershing who was thrust into the War to End all Wars after perusing Poncho Villa on the Mexican Border and Dwight Eisenhower who walked a tight rope to keep all our allies focused and working together to defeat the Axis Powers of Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy.
Although General Washington only wore three stars during his lifetime, by act of Congress he was promoted to the rank of General of the Armies and nobody can ever outrank our founding father. Washington gave us this sage advice, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
The only officer promoted to the rank of General of the Armies while living was General “Black Jack” Pershing. He chose to wear four gold stars while later Generals with the lower rank of General of the Army wore five star insignias. I wonder if these officers and others like Omar Bradley could even make Major in our military today.
After the ongoing purge of our best officers and senior enlisted personnel by the Obama Administration, we are left with a lot of air heads who blindly follow the party line. The Vice Commander of Air Combat Command who told airmen that speaking to Congress about plans to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt amounts to treason is a prime example. He stepped down from his position and had his hand slapped but that’s about as bad as it gets these days. Especially if one is only echoing the sentiments of his bosses, in this case reaching all the way to the Oval Office.
What shocks me most is the fact that an Inspector General actually substantiated this General’s abominable abuse of power! The government IG system is little more than a huge fraud. IG’s work for the military commanders or Agency Directors, THEY ARE NOT INDEPENDENT! It is my belief that if there was ever a criminal investigation of the IG system a lot of people would end up in prison. I had a front row seat watching several so called IG Investigations. One such investigation involved one of my men who was obviously guilty. The female IG concluded her investigation and came into my office to brief me on her findings. She told me she could not substantiate the allegations and then said, “That’s what you wanted to hear isn’t it?” I told her I wanted to hear the truth. Although I have seen her since, she has never looked me in the eye or spoken to me again. I have seen so many cover-ups and lost respect for so many military leaders, that I have become the mother of all cynics.
There can only be one reason the Air Force is aggressively moth balling the A-10. I believe America is systematically being provocatively weakened and the one weapon the terrorists fear most is the A-10.
I never flew the A-10, I was privileged to fly the glamorous supersonic air supremacy fighters, the F-100, F-101, F-4 and F-16. I never had a desire to fly the subsonic Thunderbolt II affectionately called the Warthog. I have always appreciated the importance of the A-10 to ground forces in the Close Air Support mission. I believe the Air Force considered giving the A-10 to the Army at one point but realized the Army already had more aircraft than the Air Force.
I can’t speak to the President’s motives but I have observed his actions beginning with the release of the Terrorist leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in 2009 and systematically releasing many other Terrorist Generals including trading five for a U.S. Army Combat Deserter. Our military has been weakened beyond imagination and rules of engagement demanded by the administration favor the enemy.
Money is not the measure of military capability just as it has no bearing on education. Education is about learning and the mission of the Defense Department is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country. Waste within these government empires is monumental but it is NEVER the waste that is cut!
I have never understood these military Turf Battles. At one point the Department of Defense tried to save money by developing standard items to be used by all services. They started with a belt buckle. The services could not agree. Then an Air Force Chief of Staff decided to test a new uniform with rank insignia consistent with virtually all our allies. That Chief of Staff also did something that changed the face of Airpower from an unwieldy hodgepodge of forces to a sensible structure. While I respected and admired the Chief, most ridiculed him.
During the Vietnam War commanders had to deal with other commanders to complete their missions. The Strategic Air Command blocked all the airspace above 28,000 feet and popped in and out occasionally to drop bombs. Fighter jets had different commanders as did rescue, reconnaissance, tankers and tactical airlift. I was one of a handful of senior officers who worked on what was termed the “objective wing.” After I rent my clothes and gnashed my teeth for a few months, our modern structure immerged, the Provisional or Expeditionary Wing. Everybody in that wing works for One Commander. Even the mighty Strategic Air Command became part of a single command with the fighters and tankers. Before I retired, the Air Force allowed me to command the Cope Thunder Provisional Wing equipped with six billion dollars worth of hardware from the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and Canadian Air Force. I had F-16, F-15, F-18, F-15E, F-14 and CF-18 fighter aircraft, F4 “Wild Weasel” Suppression of Enemy Air Defense aircraft, E-3B AWACS airborne early warning and control aircraft, KC-10 Tankers and C-130 Tactical Airlift. Search and rescue was provided by the U.S. Army and I did lose an F-15 that crashed in the Alaskan wilderness without injury.
Most of the air combat during the Gulf War was conducted by the 14th and 15th Provisional Air Divisions. In short order they created the highway of death leading from Kuwait and had belligerents trying to surrender to TV cameramen and drones. President George H.W. Bush stopped the attack short of Bagdad and essentially ended the last armed conflict of the 20th Century. The forces could have easily and quickly delivered the knockout blow to Iraq then and there.
I have tremendous confidence in the combat forces we have although they have too many distractions and too much social experimentation. Fighter pilots can no longer control their own cockpits and drone controllers can do nothing without a consensus from petrified military commanders. Hundreds of people are watching every drone flight on big screens from the Pentagon and White House to Intelligence Agencies and Field Units. Most drones are flown from the United States through optical cable under the Atlantic and then linked to a satellite over the Middle East. There is a two second delay between the time a control input is made and the time the drone responds. So far, takeoffs and landings are controlled just like model airplanes with a controller looking at the drone and relinquishing control when the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is airborne.
The time has already passed when cutting government fat should have been the top priority. Unfunded liabilities such as Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Military and government Pensions, etc. now exceeds $700,000 for ever legal and illegal man, woman and child in America. The government tinkers with data to fool the public and intimidates companies that lower the U.S. Credit Rating. Practically everything you see is an illusion built on a house of cards. The stock market is propped up with bogus money printed 24/7 and backed by thin air. The Federal Reserve takes its share off the top but the Fed has NEVER been audited so who knows the whole truth? The few courageous people in Congress who try to get some control of spending are attacked like they are enemies of the state. The media and liberals think shutting down the non essential parts of government for a few days is the end of the world. Trust me, thoughtful, systematic reduction of our government by 50% is what is sorely needed! Before we had the United States Department of Education, the U.S. was FIRST in Education in the world, now we are 20th in math.
The Federal Government has FIVE Service Academies, West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy. Seriously, we cut combat units at the drop of a hat but no one will dare to even suggest consolidating some service academies. Very few will suggest the government cut one single SUV or luxury private jet used by government officials like they were their own personal toys. The federal government and even a few state governments tax meager military pensions and use them as a revenue stream to fund their insatiable appetite for more and more reckless spending.
Who warned us to beware of the military? That would be Supreme Allied Commander, Five Star General and former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The year I graduated from Mountain Home High School, President Eisenhower gave his farewell address to the nation, his final public speech as President. It was delivered in a television broadcast on January 17, 1961. Perhaps best known for advocating that the nation guard against the potential influence of the military–industrial complex, a term he is credited with coining, the speech also expressed concerns about planning for the future and the dangers of massive spending, especially deficit spending. Here is part of that speech, heed it well:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.
It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”
Dwight Eisenhower passed away four months before Neil Armstrong, a former F-9F, F-100 and F-101 pilot, made man’s first footprint on the surface of the Moon. Americans are so bad at History that I fear we will never learn. Most people live in the moment without a thought about tomorrow. Many people who drive $70,000 SUVs have not saved one penny for retirement or a rainy day. In that respect, many people see nothing wrong with a government that lives like there is no tomorrow.
An alert and knowledgeable citizenry is just a big pipe dream. I can only do what I can do. I guess I do enough worrying for everybody?