Posted on Jan 4, 2015
TSgt Joshua Copeland
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Here is an interesting thread about the AF... Question from REDDIT author:

More than half of the people leaving the Air Force leave because they say they do not like the direction that it's headed in. Can someone give me some insight of why they may feel this way?

Top Response:
Shifting away from being a war fighting superpower and becoming a shy corporate entity that allows itself to be bullied by politicians, espirit de corps and unit morale being sodomized with a rake for the sake of liability, over emphasis on wildly unnecessary equipment and budget with an astonishing lack of care for the people who keep this force running.
The mission is being hampered and many units don't have what they need to get their job done effectively just because top brass wants to cover their ass. Just look at what our briefings emphasize: how many times are we briefed on things like SARC, FWA and other liability issues that are the product of commanders becoming frightened by statistics? We're transitioning from "Fly, fight, win" to "Do more with less, make your brass look good, shut up and color".
That said, I can't speak for everyone. This is just the overwhelming consensus. Leadership has become so enthralled with fighting statistics and numbers that they forget about the real fight. When commanders care more about looking good statistically and aesthetically for their own higher-ups than accomplishing our war fighting purpose to the best of our ability, the entire force suffers.
With that in mind, some leaders are better than others. I've seen the good and the bad, and the good ones that put their troops first despite intimidation from their own bosses are sadly far and few between and rather short-lived.

Edit: Never thought I'd get gold. Thanks, friend. Double edit: Just because I know someone is going to bring it up, I'm not saying things like SARC and FWA are unimportant. I'm saying that the perspective seems to be that leaders spend more time looking at spreadsheets than they spend listening to their troops. The Air Force asked me once every three or so months about how to stop sexual harassment. How many times did the Air Force ask me how policy could be changed to help me get my job done faster and more reliably? Zero. And I'm confident that my career field wasn't the only one with this issue.

http://www.reddit.com/r/AirForce/comments/2pzibn/what_direction_are_they_talking_about/
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Responses: 26
SMSgt Minister Gerald A. "Doc" Thomas
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This is pathetic. Someone who entered in 2012 making complaints about things they can qualify with a proper answer. They have nothing to compare against but still whine.

This entitled generation seemed to know everything but can't finish anything. They complain for the sake of claiming but offer nothing to help the perceived problem.

The NCOs and Officers in the AF must get this problem under control or this generation will encourage even deeper cuts in defense.
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SMSgt Minister Gerald A. "Doc" Thomas
SMSgt Minister Gerald A. "Doc" Thomas
5 y
TSgt John Goodson, great advice. Let's keep this a training platform and nothing that will harm those who choose to speak up.
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SSgt Robert Whorton
SSgt Robert Whorton
5 y
A1C Raymond Brewer,

This is an excellent forum for intelligent dissent as well as communication that would otherwise not take place. Hopefully I haven't completely misrepresented my tenor in countering some of the positions on this subject. I'm simply attemping to challenge traditional thinking in ways that have previously helped me to reexamine my impact and role. It's easy for anyone to see things from their own perspective and less easy to see or understand the perspective of others, especially if you've never had their role or if it's a role you haven't had in a long time. Different times also have different pressures.

Service definitely comes before self, always, because it must. The main point of my counter is that we shouldn't let the careers, morale, and spiritual well-being of the force become ground beef in the process. Those aspects of the force affect the mission a great deal. I think it's impossible not to be concerned with the direction of your career and achieving your goals, provided you've worked hard enough, but the results of both are irrelevant the second it's time to perform the mission.

Anger inhibits intelligent discussion. Try to think about what it is you think should be done and how it will improve your life as well as the mission. What exactly have you been lied to about by superiors? If it has anything to do with regulations (AFIs), other forms of decision-making that involve codified rules, the roles and responsibilities of your rank or position, performance evaluation, or promotion then I would implore you to read the applicable literature and ask to speak with your supervisor so you can have a respectful, informed, and educated discussion on the subject. I often found over the course of my career that most people weren't properly educated, despite having the information at their fingertips.

With regard to whether or not you can serve more efficiently than the person before you, it goes back to some of what SMSgt Minister Gerald A. Thomas has said in other comments on this thread. If there's a problem and you have a solution then speak up. Work your chain of command. Each generation builds on the last as far as efficiency and new processes. However, blustering will immediately close every door. Speak to those around you as you would want to be spoken to if you were in their shoes. Tact is one of the most invaluable tools available to you.
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SSgt Joey Drake
SSgt Joey Drake
>1 y
SMSgt,
Though I completely agree with you, I was forced out of the Air Force on a budget cut. Though the previous year I watched my squadron blow 400k on things we did not need. I loved the Air Force, but my AFSC was ovemanned. The AF doesn't have the money to pay me for the remainder of my career but we can spend 400k on basketball hoops, TV's and unneeded new office furniture. We spent 5k on a clock that showed all the time zones, it broke within a month.

Things like that frivolace spending is what tore me apart. I led a good team of guys and we got things done. But to lose my job on a budget cut was rediculius when I saw what was going on around me.
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SMSgt Minister Gerald A. "Doc" Thomas
SMSgt Minister Gerald A. "Doc" Thomas
>1 y
SSgt Joey Drake

You're correct! Spending money for the sake of spending is frivolous. When I was on active duty, it blew my mind when we had so-called "fallout money" or "use it or use it money." The AF as well as the rest of the government should look to recoup the unspent money for projects that were stopped because of lack of funding or put it into social security or another program that is going bell-up. Why can't the government balance their books like they expect each military member to? If we over spend, we're facing the !st Sgt and or Commander, why don't they? Lavish parties for the IRS, and other government agencies; what gives them the right or even the services to spend the surplus that they won't call a surplus?
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CMSgt Operations Group Superintendent
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Edited 5 y ago
Never heard of it, and from what I just read do not give it much credence... as a group superintendent I talk with folks leaving the Air Force all the time, and none of them are for any philosophical reasons on where the service is heading. Most often the reasons are similar to why I almost left a number of times, they want more quality time with their family, they are tired of deployments, they got the education they came in the service to get, got a great job offer, or they simply want a more stable life.

Now that said, the Air Force is going through a large number of changes in the near future in how we evaluate, rate, and promote our enlisted folks, but most that I am in contact with are willing to give the system a shot before making a decision on leaving the service.
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MSgt Robert Pellam
MSgt Robert Pellam
5 y
Chief. I think you understand what is going on. 1 have been out since 2013 and I can tell you my reasons for leaving are far different then most people. That being said, I also like that you are trying to understand this Airmen's point of view. One of my biggest jobs while in was being a mediator between the Airmen and the SNCO's. As a MSgt I prided myself on being approachable. Often I found myself listening to Airmen/NCO problems. If I thought they had merit I would up channel them to see if change could be made. 90% of the time though I would end up just explaining the more complicated workings of the Air Force to these young men and woman so they could understand things better. This usually would provide a buy in for the young Airmen and have them become part of the solution. And thanks for doing unannounced visits. I noticed when SNCO's did that they earned more respect from the Airmen and young NCO's
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A1C Bill Hughes
A1C Bill Hughes
5 y
Chief i agree i don't see that being a majority of reasons to haven't I don't think that is the reason people leave. Maybe some do, but not the majority of people leaving. Although I do think the enlisted career is a long a tough road to bare. I personal wouldn't make a career under enlisted in the military or recommend that life style to my relatives or my friends. There are just too many controls to live 20 plus as enlisted. When you can get out and find a job that pays you more where you not risking you life. Even if you do stay in for 20 years not having a college degree you maybe end up at best being a manager at Wal-Mart. I believe it better to just remain a civilian, go to college, get a college degree and then get into a civilian career. I believe we shouldn't even have a active service I do believe we need the trained, but not running around doing nothing and getting paid for it. When we are war then we sign up, but when the war is over we get out and get a job in the free world.
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TSgt Fire Protection
TSgt (Join to see)
5 y
I'm currently deployed with a SMSgt that hasn't deployed since '97. I can't even explain the disconnect between what is a real mission request to get something done and what experience level he's collected to make it happen. You wouldn't send a soldier to a fire fight without a rifle...so I ask why would a firefighter be told to fight fire without any PPE for 3 months into a 6 month deployment. I'll be part of the next 70% of the people that volunteer to get out if offered again after 15yrs of service.
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TSgt Joshua Copeland
TSgt Joshua Copeland
5 y
TSgt (Join to see), deploying or not deploying is often out of the members control. It is all about what tasking the unit gets, if the unit has deployable billets, and what band/AEF the member is postured in.

Now that said, I can't say that I haven't seen commanders change peoples bands so they don't deploy or people go to medical with the intent of not getting cleared.
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Capt Brandon Charters
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Doing more with less is something we all learn to do at some point in our lives. Military or civilian. It makes us more efficient leaders in the end. The military isn't a 'comfortable' place to work by design. My advice to this author...Show some leadership within your unit and do all you can to meet the mission requirements. All we can do is our best, keep a positive attitude and work as a team to get there. It's incredible how far one person's positive outlook will go for a whole team. What do you guys think? CPT Aaron Kletzing Capt (Join to see) Maj (Join to see) Lt Col (Join to see) SFC Mark Merino.
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SSgt Clayton Coleman
SSgt Clayton Coleman
5 y
There is a difference between knuckling down and working through hard times, and taking mission essential personnel away from the mission. If you want to save money, get rid of some of the nonners who could be replaced by an app. Who shutdown for "training days" to go to IHOP, and don't even do shift work to facilitate better customer response and service.
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TSgt Joshua Copeland
TSgt Joshua Copeland
5 y
The second you say "nonner" that is like the AF equivalent of "Goodwin's law."
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SSgt Josh Fritz
SSgt Josh Fritz
5 y
Well said, Capt Brandon Charters. A positive attitude is the difference between a good leader and an exceptional leader.
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Capt Brandon Charters
Capt Brandon Charters
5 y
Thanks SSgt Josh Fritz. I always remember what a force multiplier it was.
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