26 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 28 Oct 90

28 OCT 90

Our first legitimate day off. I slept until about 0900, someone woke me up sweeping out the tent. I got up and started cleaning out the junk I was accumulating under my cot. Emptied out my two parachute bags and overnight bag. Filled a trash bag with crap and consolidated. Got rid of old skivvies for new. Passed out extra pogey bait to tentmates. Ended up with 4 piles of stuff, military, books, clothes and gedunk box. Decided I needed a writing desk and/or shelf. Built a lap desk out of some scrap wood, now just need to cover it with some scrap vinyl and I'll be living the high life!
Next made a small shelf out of 1x2s, and stacked some empty water bottle boxes to put clothes into. Made some doors out of cardboard with duct tape hinges. Maybe will keep some sand out? Naaaaaaaaah! Finally got everything stowed and another box arrives with....more stuff. Good timing. Cold weather gear. Groucho glasses with big nose. Candy for Halloween. Important stuff. Pink flamingos finally arrived for our tent also.
Put everything away and went to grab a burger from picnic. Everyone had a good time, mainly played volleyball, horseshoes and drank faux beer. I put cajun spice on the burger. Had a twinkie!
CG 3rd MAW solicited input to improve aviation safety. Lots of mishaps since we arrived. I'm sure he's expecting to hear personally from me. We just need to steal all the good stuff and ideas from the other services. And we need to work together with other services. Next will be to do away with knee jerk safety stand downs when there is a mishap. WE should continue with realistic, standardized and objective based training. These breaks only pay lip service to the true pursuit of aviation safety.
Blanket restrictions on altitude, angle of bank, number of pax are not the answer. Flying 1990s missions with 1960s technology is not the answer. Increased tasking, reduced training, less money and reduction in assets are not answers. Promoting pilots based on their ground job vs their flying skills is certainly not the answer.
Give the Staff jobs to Warrant Officers or SNCOs. Promote me based on my Combat Readiness Percentage, not how well I inventoried the flight equipment or got paint for the barracks.
The answers are to train, train and train some more using objective, graduated training and readiness syllabus. Qualifications need to be in a computer database, and mission tasking matched to pilot capabilities. More night training, LAT quals, TERF and NVG quals are answers. Put a grunt liaison in every squadron. And get me a NVG compatible cockpit. Good equipment plus realistic training equal mission safety.

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