It just seems to go from bad to worse daily when it comes to the Obama administration and our national security. The primary mission of the federal government is to “provide for the common defense.” That was the message I tried to convey to several Members of the House and Senate this week while on Capitol Hill. One would think this is a “bipartisan” issue; however, it appears not.
Consider this week, as we shared with you, the close quarters attack formation buzzing of an American Navy destroyer in international waters of the Baltic Sea while doing flight ops with Polish helicopters. Reports and video indicated the Russian Su-24 fighter jets were within 30 feet of our vessel. Of course, after the fact, SecState John Kerry issues a terse statement of strong condemnation saying, “we could have shot those planes down.” We look neutered, unlike Turkey, who did shoot down the Russian jets.
Once again, we have a very embarrassing moment for our Naval service, and trust me, those Sailors ain’t happy about having their warship buzzed, or being put on their knees at gun point by the Iranians.
But just when you thought it could not get any worse…
As reported by Fox News:
Since 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps has prided itself on being “The Few” and “The Proud.” But while the Corps takes pride in doing more with less, senior Marine officers are warning that the Corps’ aviation service is being stretched to the breaking point.
Today, the vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft can’t fly. The reasons behind the grounding of these aircraft include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts precluding the purchase of the parts needed to fix an aging fleet, according to dozens of Marines interviewed by Fox News at two air stations in the Carolinas this week.
Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy.
U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015. The cuts came just as the planes were returning from 15 years of war, suffering from overuse and extreme wear and tear. Many highly trained mechanics in the aviation depots left for jobs in the private sector.
“Quite honestly, it is coming on the backs of our young Marines,” Lt. Col. Matthew “Pablo” Brown, commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533, a Hornet squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. “They can do it, and they are doing it but it is certainly not easy.”
Brown’s squadron is due to deploy to the Middle East in the coming days.
Lack of funds has forced the Marines to go outside the normal supply chain to procure desperately needed parts. Cannibalization, or taking parts from one multi-million dollar aircraft to get other multi-million dollar aicraft airborne, has become the norm.
When I was the Executive Officer (similar to being a Chief Operating Officer in civilian world) of a 425-man Air Assault artillery battalion at Ft. Bragg in 1998-1999, we experienced the exact same thing. We were robbing Peter to pay Paul. Our Howitzer gun chiefs NEVER wanted their gun to go down for maintenance, because they knew it could potentially become what we called a “hangar queen.” That meant it would be used to strip parts, cannibalize, in order to keep other systems up and ready. These were the Bill Clinton years, when the federal government was spending money on “midnight basketball.” It was the time when we got orders from on high to conduct weekly “consideration of others” training, at a time when we did not have enough bullets and artillery shells to ensure weapons qualifications training.
And here we are again at the same point, all while we have a growing list of adversaries and confrontations for which we must stand ready. You just have to ask, what on earth is SecNav Ray Mabus doing? Oh yeah, he’s naming combatant vessels for politicians like Carl Levin of Michigan.
Sometimes it takes the Marines 18 months to get parts for early model F-18 jets whose production was halted in 2001.
“We are an operational squadron. We are supposed to be flying jets, not building them,” said Lt. Col. Harry Thomas, Commanding Officer of VMFA-312, a Marine Corps F/A-18 squadron based at Beaufort.
Lt. Col Thomas, call sign “Crash,” deployed to the Pacific with 10 jets last year. Only seven made it. A fuel leak caused his F/A-18 to catch fire in Guam. Instead of ejecting, he landed safely, saving taxpayers $29 million.
Thomas has deployed eight times in all, including six to Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now only two of his 14 Hornets can fly. His Marines deploy in three months.
Y’all remember the classic movie, “The Great Santini,” with Robert Duvall as the bold, brash and audacious Marine fighter pilot, Lt Col “Bull” Meecham? That is what a Marine fighter pilot is all about, part aviator, part infantryman — all Marine.
So what is the focus of SecNav Mabus and SecDef Ash Carter, besides gender-neutral duty positions?
As reported by the Military Times:
The Pentagon is considering a version of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” to diversify its officer corps, a proposal that has already raised internal concerns about its legality, according to documents obtained by USA Today.
The proposal, sent to Defense Secretary Ash Carter for approval, would require the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to consider minority candidates for key jobs such as aide-de-camp and military assistant to senior leaders. Those slots are often springboards to higher ranks. In the NFL, teams are required to interview minority candidates for top jobs, including head coach, under the Rooney Rule, named after the Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Adopting a similar approach in the military “gives great prospect for alleviating persistent gaps in our senior leadership corps,” according to the proposal developed by Brad Carson, who stepped down recently as the Pentagon’s top civilian official for personnel issues.
Let me explain something to Brad. My own nephew was an aide-de-camp to a Lieutenant General in Europe. One of my former Cadets who branched Armor was the aide-de-camp to the Chief of Staff of the Army, and now a combat maneuver Brigade Commander. Brad, I want you to take your insidious and disrespectful liberal progressive idea of social egalitarianism and affirmative action and shove it!
The Brotherhood and Sisterhood of professional black military officers does not need any pity party from progressive socialists in our military. One of my first artillery battery commanders was Rodney Anderson, who retired as a Major General. He and retired Major General Byron Bagby, along with the famous Brooks Brothers and General Lloyd Austin, do not need your militarized “Rooney Rule.” They were my role models who met and surpassed the standards, inspiring me to do the same.
This is what we need from these chuckleheads like Mabus, Carter, and Brad: just admit you’re incapable of defending our country. Admit you are as Alexander the Great stated, sheep trying to lead lions, and you are failing. No more Sailors on their knees. No more Russians buzzing our warships. No more crappy rules of engagement. No more of you lily liver slack-jawed wussies who are causing these embarrassing moments for our Warriors.
This is clearly why we cannot have another president from the new American Socialist party. We need Lions leading Lions.