Strategic Perfection

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CNN Air Force chief cite’s ‘systemic problems’ as nuke cheating scandal grows.

A cheating scandal involving members of the Air Force nuclear command has tripled in size over the past two weeks with more people identified as investigators stepped up their probe.

James described, for example, hearing about a drive for perfection that creates a climate of undue stress and fear.

Stars & Stripes: Air Force Secretary proposes changes to missile force.

“We need to examine the incentives, the accolades, the recognition that is available to the nuclear force,” she said. “This gets into the realm of should we consider some sort of incentive pay or, you know, scholarships for certain types of work [or] should we [award] a medal or a ribbon. So we need to look at all of that.”

Wow is inadequate.  Pride + Professionalism = Perfection.

BACKGROUND:  In the course of my Air Force career, I served in three Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBMs) Missile Wings. These assignments included the Titan IIs ringed around Tucson, Arizona; Minuteman & PeaceKeepers based out of Cheyenne, Wyoming and planted across the three states of Wyoming, Colorado & Nebraska; and Minuteman out of Grand Forks, North Dakota. There was also a brief stint with the Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in Woensdrecht, The Netherlands.

Due to exceptionally sensitive nature of the mission, absolute compliance was expected from the cooks, to the security police and maintenance personnel, and culminating in the Missile Launch Officers. Procedural deviation was never an option.   As one of the communications maintenance NCOs, I was required to pass three proficiency evaluations every year. Later on, I transferred from the maintenance work center and into Quality Control – responsible for performing these three technical evaluations on selected work centers. But wait, there is more.  Twice a year, I was evaluated by higher headquarters on my performance of evaluating technical proficiency evaluations.

In addition to the proficiency evaluations, my responsibilities included going to every Launch Control Center on an annual basis to perform technical inspections on selected communications systems.

The culture then was all about Pride through Professionalism. Yes, the work was mentally demanding, the long days driving across the midwest prairies wearisome. Sunrises, sunsets, whiteout blizzards, scorching & searing heat. This culture is what American’s expect and deserve when these mission critical weapon systems are being maintained and operated.

There was one time when I was scheduled to perform a team task demonstration for CinC SAC – Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command. A four star general position. His name was Bennie L. Davis.  I felt my team’s performance was flawless. But I made one statement that General Davis picked up on. I said out loud, “That’s About Right.”  General Davis complimented the team, then looked at me square and said, “There is no room in SAC for That’s About Right.”

I have many other stories from Back in The Day.  Being recognized as the top missile communications maintenance team in 1982 is one of them – Pride & Professionalism. The picture above is from the only trophy I have on the shelf.

It is sad to see that the culture has shifted from Professionalism thru Pride to cheating out of fear. I wish the Air Force well with restoring the glory of the mission.

SAC’s motto is “Peace is our Profession,”

Aim High

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