Thursday, September 18, 2014

Not Your Father's Air Force XXXVI

Yet another brick in the wall we call "Not Your Father's Air Force:"

That's a screen shot of a blurb in AFA's Daily Report.  The subject of the article... changes to the promotion system on the E-side of the house... obviously doesn't concern me anymore.  I noted with some interest the current system has a maximum rating of five in the various evaluation categories; in my day we used a 1 - 9 scale, nine being best, but that's neither here nor there.  I clicked on the photo accompanying the article to get a better view of CMSAF Cody and then went off to to read his bio, among other things.  Here's Chief Cody's official mug shot:

And here's a detail from that mug shot:

There's this, for those of you who aren't familiar with what all those pretty pieces o' cloth mean:
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon
Those are the MAJOR decorations, you'll note Chief Cody actually sports 25... count 'em... 25 ribbons.  Contrast the above with the Air Force's first-ever Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (the CMSAF position was created in 1967), Paul Airey:

Chief Airey's decs:
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
POW Medal
(a total of 16 awards and decs)
You'll note both Chiefs were awarded the Legion of Merit.  There's this about CMSAF Airey's LoM:
During the Korean conflict, he was awarded the Legion of Merit while assigned at Naha Air Base, Okinawa. The award, an uncommon decoration for an enlisted man, was earned for creating a means of constructing equipment from salvaged parts that improved corrosion control of sensitive radio and radar components.
Key words: "uncommon decoration for an enlisted man."  Apparently the LoM ain't exactly uncommon any longer.

We've gone on (and on) about "medal creep" a lot here at EIP and this just adds more fuel to my fire.  It's bad enough when our generals walk around with more medals than yer average South American dictator (or Rooshian marshals, see link) but when our senior NCOs sport 25 medals and ribbons, well... I guess my point's made.  And don't get me started about the current CMSAF's ridiculous chevrons.

(No, it's NOT sour grapes.  I know what yer thinkin'.)


  1. Don't get me started !18 September, 2014 21:07

    What a joke. The 5 step rating system was born from the 9 step rating system for exactly the same reasons. I remember when the 5 step came out, the Wing commander said any person getting a 5, and asking for his endorsement, should have a STEP promotion package attached. Before I retired everyone was getting 5's. You basically ruined someones career if you marked them a 4. Same with the 9 step, you mark someone an 8 and it was all over.

    I remember I got a 7 after my Iceland tour, half of which I spent at Ramstein. I was under a Major. He put me in for a Commendation Medal for all the work I did during the Poland Crisis in 81. The Major had no clue that a 7 was bad. I nearly punched out, as I had a job offer from Southern Air Transport.

    I believe the Army has/had a rule where first-termers received no performance reports. Only career soldiers need such a thing. The USAF would do well to adopt such a program. For lifers have a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system. Go paperless, or fucking die.

    1. I remember I got a 7 after my Iceland tour...

      I got a 7 as a SSgt with about a year in grade and it took me five years after getting that APR to make Tech. After that one 7? All nines, so I hear ya, loud and clear. I like the thumbs up/thumbs down concept.

    2. I heard the ADC was a bad deal promotion wise. That they ate their young...

    3. You prolly heard correctly. Now that I think about it, I put on SSgt while I was in USAFSS and Tech and Master while I was in AFCC. I didn't get a damned thing out of ADC except for the nearly automatic promotion to E-4.

  2. If that was Navy, he'd be lucky to have three rows...

    1. Yes. Take a look at my sidebar pic and note the difference between SNs 1 & 2.

    2. Back in the day, Navy enlisted would be lucky to have one row.

    3. @ Skip: At one point I had exactly three ribbons as a SSgt (E-5) with six years of service and you'll note I had only nine after 22 years.

  3. The new chiefs stripes are sewn on wrong. Centered half-way from the shoulder to the elbow bend. Well, unless he was deformed at birth and his elbows are near his umbilicus...


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