If you want to know what’s important to a person — or, say, a political party — you look at their priorities. Matter of fact, when one recalls the four days at the DNC convention, the party priorities become crystal clear. Where a moment of silence for fallen police officers was interrupted… When you consider that a former secretary of defense was booed and heckled, along with Marine General John Allen… When a Medal of Honor recipient is disrespected by cowards… When you go an entire day without a single American flag — only to completely overdo it on the final day by giving everyone a flag… When providing taxpayer-funded hormonal therapy and gender reassignment surgery for those suffering from a mental condition defined as gender dysphoria… You know what the priorities are.Not to mention $20M spent on art while Veterans are dying at the Veterans Administration.
But what suffers? We’ve shared with you the story of aviation maintenance crews having to visit boneyards and museums. We shared with you the stats on the increase in aviation mishaps across the services. And now, another report from the field, as presented by Dayton Daily News — home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base:
First flown in the 1970s, the Air Force could potentially fly the aging F-15 Eagle into the 2040s, according to a top Air Force official in charge of fighters and bombers.
It’s another sign the Air Force may have to keep planes in the air years longer than originally planned while it flies the smallest and oldest fleet in its history.The average age of an Air Force plane is 27 years. In the interim, the aircraft have continuously flown combat missions for decades, and finding parts often becomes harder as the planes grow older, officials say.
The job to acquire, maintain and modernize more than 2,000 aircraft lands on the Fighters and Bombers Directorate at Wright-Patterson, a workforce of about 3,000 people across the country, said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Schmidt, who since April has been the directorate program executive officer.
Consider that the last B-52 Stratofortress rolled off the assembly line in 1962; the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-15 and F-16 Fighting Falcon first flew in the 1970s; the B-1 Lancer in the 1980s; and B-2 Spirit bombers have flown two decades.“If you think about those (aircraft), to get those initial operation capability dates, the technology in them was older than that,” Schmidt said. “(It’s a) huge amount of work in sustaining these legacy fleet of aircraft.”
About 20 percent of B-1 bombers, for example, have a parts issue at any one time, a rate about twice as high as other military aircraft, he said. “Out-of-production parts and vanishing vendors are things that we deal with on every single program, but of course the older the airplane the harder it is to go out and find someone in industry sometimes that is either willing to do it or has the capability to do it,” he said.”Well, there’s not much to say about this, other than, it appears free college tuition and relieving student debt (that people willingly signed up for) is more important. I guess ordering a $15 minimum wage and issuing edicts changing overtime rules is more important too. I find it interesting that this was not part of President Obama’s speech at the DNC convention. I guess leaving a legacy of having the oldest and smallest fleet in U.S. Air Force history is acceptable?
So, what message does this convey to the men and women of the Blue, whose song begins with, “Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, flying high into the sky”? It appears it’s becoming more challenging for the U.S. Air Force to fly high into the sky. Let’s recall that the most important title of the President is Commander in Chief.
And what’s more interesting is that no one is asking of the two presidential nominees how they would restore our military capability. Everyone keeps yapping about defeating, beating up ISIS, but let’s be honest: our military is tapped out.
As we go forward, at a time of increasing global security threats, listen for the candidate who can articulate the issue and solutions when it comes to our national security. This is not about rhetoric; it’s about first recognizing the dire situation… and that is not something to be ridiculed. I know some love to believe the world is all about sunshine and chirping birds flying over golden fields. But when you look into the eyes of our men and women in uniform — and their families — you will see a level of stress. They want to achieve victory, but they also need the tools for victory. Just go back and consider what this Nation was able to produce after the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Our defense research/development, acquisition, and procurement system is broken — badly — and the folks who are paying the price are those we pay horribly. Certainly they are not getting a $15/hr “living wage” — and yet we ask them to keep us safe.
The U,S. Air Force song ends stating, “we live for fame or die in flames.” Right now, we are forcing them into shame, a shameful situation they do not deserve. We can do better for those who always give us their best.