Air Force Announcement Might Reveal Much More

The Washington Post has reported that the U.S. Air Force will train more of its pilots to fly unmanned drones this year than it will train in the cockpits of manned aircraft.

While the success of the drones in recent years does not appear to be in dispute, the shift in Air Force priorities is remarkable. It seems you can teach an old flyboy new tricks. But can you change his stripes?

Any transformation within the Air Force might be the result of changes in its leadership. (We have ruled out glass slippers, fairy dust, and princely pecks.)

Informal discussions in recent months with mid-level Air Force officers have been telling. Each person — pilot and otherwise — has breathed a deep sigh of relief at the departure of disgraced Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and his fighter pilot mafia and welcomed the ascension of current chief Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, a C-130 man with some special ops experience. Schwartz is the first non-fighter pilot chief in more than 25 years, though our joyous acquaintances believe him to be the first ever. (That might be because they blame Moseley and the fighter mafia for all that ails the Air Force.)

In the year leading up to Moseley’s departure, several incidents pointed to a service gone wild. The flying of nuclear warheads over the continental U.S., the erroneous (and repeated) transfer of nuclear-related items to Taiwan, and our personal favorite, JUMBOTRON! Who can forget the outrageous $50 million slime-dog crony contract going to the mafia for those Thunderbird air show JUMBOTRONs?

But not everyone agrees with our boys’ “good riddance” take on Moseley’s good-of-the-service exit.
One article bemoaned his departure

“To his credit, Moseley spent his tenure making the case that airpower is the decisive force in warfare and that the Air Force is a fighting service, not an appendage to the ground combat branches.” (Overstatement?)

And this: “Moseley wanted a new service dress uniform. Many liked the idea — but more, it seemed, thought it was a waste of money while Americans were in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. … Moseley’s critics didn’t get it.” (We don’t either.)

The past aside, is the junior service on a new glide path? It may be too soon to tell.

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