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More With Less

Posted by Jolly on September 21, 2011

I got an e-mail from an old Eagle buddy this morning after retuning from a cocktail party as an Air Attaché’ in training.  iwm-duxford-battle-of-britain-1299.jpgHe attended a party  at the British Embassy last night to commemorate the Battle of Britain.  He uses some pretty big words for a fighter pilot, but his observations are spot on.   You’ve got to love the Brits and how they still think Fighter Pilots are da bomb.

Later this morning I was reading my daily AFA news blurb with words from the Chief of Staff about how budget cuts would reduce the size of our AF, but not it’s effectiveness or make it “Hollow.”  How is that possible? I realize that UAV’s are here to stay and play an important role, but without enough iron and fighter pilots to drive those machines how can we expect to really provide Air Superiority for our nation?

Yesterday, Slew sent me a receipt from a Super Market that kind of sums up our woes.  You know the old saying; a picture is worth a thousand words.   So our managers in Washington are willing to sacrifice our ability to provide Air Superiority for our nation, but cutting the Porter House Steak and Maine Lobster are out of the question?  YGBSM!

Last time I checked, you need to own surface to the moon in order to have Air Superiority. However, it seems more important that non-working stiffs have a steak and lobster on the taxpayer’s dime then having the ability to pay for a blanket of protection for our country.  So sleep well tonight my friends, our force is not hollow, the steak and lobster are on me, and the Morale Suppression Team in Washington is willing to have our brave men and women "die trying" to do more with less.

E-mail from Eagle Buddy:

Hi Jolly

Thought you might appreciate this somewhat sad juxtaposition of events.  As an attache' in training, of course I attend as many cocktail parties as possible to get in LE15-A-Gentlemans-War-Spitfire-Me109.jpgshape.  Earlier tonight I was at the British Embassy in DC where several hundred people were invited to celebrate the 71st anniversary of Battle of Britain Day (the actual "day" is on the 15th of Sept BTW).  The Brits still revere fighter pilots, and the Air Attache gave a rousing speech about the role of fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain to include several US volunteers (we had not yet entered WW2).  As Winston Churchill said about his fighter bro's,  "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."  

 Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, I also saw this headline this morning:  "AF: UAV pilots will eventually outnumber others."  Anything wrong with this picture?  Sure glad I was flying fighters during our most recent (and last?) heyday during the 80s/90s.

 E-Mail from Air Force Association (AFA) this morning:


Or Die Trying: The US is going to have less of an Air Force, but what there is will not be "hollow," Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Tuesday. In his headliner speech at AFA's Air & Space Conference, Schwartz said that after the current round of deep budget cuts, the USAF that emerges will be "smaller in size and scale. " He said, "We will still be an extremely capable and effective force," but, he added that force would be "able to be in fewer places and to achieve fewer effects in the rapid succession to which we have become accustomed." The risk of being smaller will be mitigated somewhat by partnering more with the other services and with allies, Schwartz said. The strategy for weathering the reductions is to "commit to readiness as a priority and hold the line against longer-term erosion in combat power availability and preparedness." Schwartz assured the audience that USAF will continue to provide "the many utilities of airpower, as only airmen can provide it. … We'll be there for our joint teammates and our nation. We will do it, or we'll die trying."

—John A. Tirpak

And, now for the rest of the story.......



I've been getting some great articles forwarded to me from Kevin (A Guardsman on the pointy end) at ""  This one ties into this budget fiasco discucssion.  Thanks Kevin.

Washington Times
August 29, 2011 
Pg. B4

High Cost Of Scrimping On Fighter Aircraft
Ceding air superiority would be penny-wise, pound-foolish
By Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Pinckney

If the bipartisan supercommittee assembled by Congress fails to agree on more than a trillion dollars in deficit reduction before Thanksgiving, federal spending will be slashed by that same amount in indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts. Fully half of those cuts would come out of defense.

This is not a good way to make policy, for it does nothing to assess and deal with the emerging threats to our national security in a world where Iran is becoming a nuclear power and terrorist organizations are getting ever more dangerous, high-tech weapons.

I am as interested as anyone in seeing us cut deficit spending. But such deep and indiscriminate cuts in defense could do great harm to our military capabilities. As a pilot who flew 189 F-4 combat missions in Vietnam, I think first about the harm those cuts would do to the unparalleled dominance of American fighter jets in the skies.

For decades, America's superior fighter jets have owned the skies in unchallenged fashion and enabled the United States to bomb enemy targets, shuttle supplies and move troops without fear of attack from enemy aircraft. But now our adversaries are nipping at our heels.

Today, countries including Iran, North Korea and Pakistan have fighter jets that match the capabilities of the workhorses of the U.S. fighter fleet, which were designed during the 1970s. The Indian air force surprised many by defeating American fighters during recent war games. Russia and China are developing fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft that will rival our most advanced fighter jets.
Even small countries can create a formidable air force on the cheap by buying Soviet-made MiG-21s on the global weapons market for the low cost of $100,000 each, upgrading the engines and avionics and outfitting them with self-guided missiles. Coupled with ever-more sophisticated anti-aircraft batteries, determined despots the world over could soon be capable of shooting down any American fighter jet that dares enter their airspace.

On that day, our options will dwindle. Having shattered America's long-standing air superiority, our adversaries could increasingly challenge us to dogfights in the sky. We could lose our unflinching confidence in the power of American airstrikes. Our entire military strategy - and that of our adversaries - would then undergo change. Ground troops once again would have to be put on the table as a key option.
While many budget cutters are no doubt sincere in their effort to deal with deficit spending, cutting fighter-jet capability would be like saving money by not paying for car insurance, only to be forced later to pay thousands in repairs, hospital bills and legal fees when you get into a fender-bender.

Defense analysts have said that our air superiority, while clear today, is precarious and could be lost within six years. China has just introduced its advanced J-20 stealth fighter. If we don't make the necessary investments in new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, F-22 Raptors and the more inexpensive but modernized F-15s and F-18s, we might find ourselves up against a real threat.

Both deficit hawks and doves in Congress should agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Investing in fighter jets today is far less expensive than getting drawn into another Iraq or Afghanistan war tomorrow.

Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Pinckney is a decorated fighter pilot who served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 30 years before retiring.

What would Winston do?  Let's see more with less, or fight less with more because we could spank the hell out of anyone challenging our sovereignty...... 




Posted by Duke on
It's the same old story.

Posted by Beaner on
Hey Jolly:

Why are most of your comments regarding fighters somehow turned into a political message? I admire your comments regarding the profession, but find the consistent political blather distracting. I can get political noise at a million websites, but this is the only fighter website of value. Please don't ruin it for me and others with domestic political crap.

I'd rather zoom and boom than bitch and moan,

Posted by Jolly on

Noted, and copy. You're right, I'd rather boom than bitch too. We value your inputs here and will try and avoid the domestic political crap as much as possible. Sometime the two are tied together unfortunately. I guess my big concern over the budget woes is that our MST in DC can't figure out how to spend less than they take in. That impacts all of us crusty old warriors and those who followed us. We are growing less fighter pilots everyday and the old fighter pilot attitudes are being gradually destroyed. But, I will try and do a better job not getting side tracked with the Political BS. Our purpose for this site is to promote fighter pilot traditions, spirit, and history. Nothing too political about that. Thanks Beaner.

Check Six,
Posted by Nuke on

Thank you for your input. The "domestic political crap" that is so distracting to you just happens to be the same domestic political crap that is endangering our future as a free nation. With that freedom comes the freedom to choose _not_ to read the "distracting blather" here... It also entails the freedom to publish your own website that is as completely devoid of politics as you'd like it to be. I invite you to explore that option.

No bitching or moaning here,

Posted by a10spidey on
Strongly non-concur with Beaner's point... Jolly, beaner is not right...Our country was founded on freedom and those freedoms are being eroded by an expansionary federal system and an increasingly left-wing and socialist oriented populace... which is fine if you are the old USSR...which most of us flew against.... and fighter-pilots should speak their minds on politics, pussy, gunpowder or the NFL and not have some Beaner whine about it.

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