Should the USAFA Vice Commandant Have Apologized for First Sergeant’s “Microaggressions” Email?

Here is the latest scandal, if you can call it that at the US Air Force Academy:

Master Sgt. Zachary Parish, the top enlisted airman over the cadet wing, sent an email on Wednesday urging proper grooming

The first sergeant of the Air Force Academy’s cadet wing sent an email on cadet grooming standards Wednesday that included racially tinged language, prompting a rebuke from academy leadership.

Master Sgt. Zachary Parish emailed cadets that morning about a perceived decline in some cadets’ grooming, and reminding both male and female cadets about the rules governing their hair.

The first sergeant concluded his email by reminding them about former NBA superstar Michael Jordan’s habit of appearing at press conferences in a suit and tie, even without a dress code requiring it.

“He was never seen with a gaudy chain around his neck, his pants below his waistline, or with a backwards baseball hat on during public appearances,” Parish said. [Air Force Times]

There is apparently concern that the email was racist.  However, if you read the whole email in context in my opinion it is not racist:

The email is fine until he gets to the final point portion about Michael Jordan.  Clearly in this section of the email he is trying to make the point that Michael Jordan understood how a professional appearance increased his own creditability and thus his personal brand.  He wants cadets to think the same way.  If he would have left out the gaudy chain and sagging pants line there probably would not be anything to complain about.

However, here is what the USAFA Vice Commandant for Climate and Culture had to say in response:

Col. Julian Stephens, vice commandant of cadets for culture and climate, sent another email that afternoon apologizing for Parish’s email.

“These comments were very disrespectful, derogatory and unprofessional and in no way reflective of [cadet wing leadership] views,” Stephens wrote. “Microaggressions such as these are often blindspots/unintentional biases that are not often recognized, and if they are recognized they are not always addressed.”

First of all I can’t believe the USAFA has an O6 position for Climate and Culture?  Isn’t climate and culture something commanders are supposed to set?

Anyway in my opinion this email is more troubling than the original email.  The whole “microaggressions” line seems to me to paint the First Sergeant as being unknowingly racist in effort to appease the Daily Kos / Huffington Post social justice warrior crowd.

It seems to me that Colonel Stephens could have said that First Sergeant Parish’s email referencing grooming standards could have been worded differently and he has been counseled on proper email etiquette.  However, the First Sergeant’s point about improving grooming standards in the Air Force Academy is still valid.  Writing a response like this would have saved the creditability of the First Sergeant and reinforced his message.  Instead he is made out to be unknowing racist and thus a pariah.

With that all said why does an email about grooming standards even need to be sent out?  Isn’t there enough leaders at the USAFA to light up cadets not following the grooming standards?  Do leaders now not want to hurt cadets’ feelings by telling them to get a haircut and instead send out emails to enforce standards?

Air Force Research Laboratory Working on Microwave Weapon to Counter North Korean Ballistic Missiles

Here is the latest silver bullet people are thinking may solve the North Korean ballistic missile problem:

Mary Lou Robinson of the Air Force Research Laboratory explains the CHAMP missile. NBC News

The U.S. has microwave weapons that proponents believe could stop North Korea from launching missiles by frying their electronics.

The weapons were discussed at an August White House meeting related to North Korea, according to two U.S. officials with direct knowledge.

The microwave weapons, known as CHAMPs, are fitted into an air-launched cruise missile and delivered from B-52 bombers. With a range of 700 miles, they can fly into enemy airspace at low altitude and emit sharp pulses of microwave energy to disable electronic systems.

“These high-powered microwave signals are very effective at disrupting and possibly disabling electronic circuits,” said Mary Lou Robinson, who heads development of the weapons at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, in an exclusive interview with NBC News.  [NBC News]

You can read more at the link, but I recommend everyone not get excited and think a magic solution to stopping North Korea’s ballistic missiles has been found.

Racist Messages Left at US Air Force Academy Determined to Be Fake News

Everyone remember this incident at the US Air Force Academy back in September that drew national headlines and forced the school’s superintendent to make a strong speech against racism?:

After racial slurs were scrawled outside black students’ doors at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s preparatory school, Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria gathered all 4,000 cadets in a hall Thursday so they could hear one message: Treat people with dignity and respect — or get out.

“That kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at USAFA, and it has no place in the United States Air Force,” Silveria said, in a speech that has found an enthusiastic reception after it was recorded and published online. “You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.”  [NPR]

I was dubious of this story when it happened because it seems every time a racism incident like this happens it later comes out that it was fake news.  Well now it has been determined that yes this was in fact fake news:

One of the cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School allegedly targeted by racist remarks has been found responsible for the act.

Academy officials announced the cadet candidate is no longer at the school on Tuesday. The investigation started when the words, written on whiteboards outside their dorm rooms, read, “Go home,” followed by the N-word were found in September. The hateful messages were discovered Sept. 25. The words were found on the outside of five African American cadet candidates’ rooms.

The academy says the individual admitted responsibility and this was confirmed by the investigation.  [KKTV]

The original reporting made national headlines and now the fact that this has been proven to be fake news is making few headlines.  This fake news just continues to feed the narrative there are white supremacist racists around every street corner to include in the US Air Force Academy which is not true. However, the media has no interest in reporting responsibly, but instead finding click bait articles which these racism articles seem to be for them.

US Air Force Announces Automatic Promotions to Major Beginning in December

It looks like if you are a Captain in the US Air Force and have not had any legal issues you will be promoted to Major regardless of performance:

Most Air Force captains can count on automatic promotion to major after Dec. 1, the service has announced.

“Beginning December 2017, the pool of line officers considered for promotion to major will have a 100 percent promotion opportunity,” said a statement issued last month.

The move addresses a shortage of 1,555 pilots and manning shortages in other jobs usually filled by majors that have ballooned in recent years as officers opt for commercial aviation jobs, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said earlier this year.

Just under one in 10 Air Force jobs for field-grade line officers, whose main job involves commanding troops, are vacant while about one in four nonrated field-grade officer jobs are unfilled, the statement said.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Air Force Chaplain Investigated for Comments Bashing Other Religions

It sounds like this chaplain needs to find another line of work even if the IG finds he did nothing against regulations:

Air Force Reserve Chaplain Capt. Sonny Hernandez.

After initially denying an investigation, the Air Force said Friday that its inspector general’s office is reviewing complaints against reserve chaplain Capt. Sonny Hernandez, who proclaimed that Christian servicemembers are wrong to support the rights of other faiths to practice their religion, actions that he said will lead them to hell.

“I can confirm that the Air Force is reviewing IG complaints made against Chaplain Hernandez that were referred to the Air Force Inspector General’s office,” Air Force spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder said Friday. “At this time it would be inappropriate to comment on the nature of those complaints or speculate on potential outcomes.”  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dismissed from Service for Improper Relationship

Here is the latest example of a senior military officer having a mid-life crisis:

An Air Force officer who engaged in an unprofessional relationship with an airman 20 years his junior while commanding a small expeditionary base in Africa will be forced out of the service following a general court-martial last week.

A military judge ruled late Friday that Lt. Col. Denis Paquette should be dismissed from the service, the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge for enlisted personnel. The dismissal means that Paquette, a C-17 pilot and married father with more than 18 years in the Air Force, won’t be eligible for retirement benefits.

Paquette chose to have his case decided by a military judge. He pleaded guilty to fraternization; violating a lawful general order on one occasion by drinking more than two alcoholic drinks at a deployed location in less than 24 hours; and to impeding an investigation.  [Stars & Stripes]

I recommend reading the whole thing at the link because this guy was running a base in Tunisa like a frat house while hitting on an 18-year old airman.  I recommend to people having a midlife crisis to buy the sports car instead because ruining a military career over something like this is not worth it.

Two Airmen Arrested for Sexually Abusing 15-Year Old Teenager

I would not want to be the commander for the unit these idiots serve in that kept an underage prostitute in the on-post dormitories and fed her dining facility food:

Two enlisted airmen assigned to Dover Air Force Base are being held on federal charges they sexually abused a runaway teen girl.

The men, identified as Airman 1st Class Dalian Washington, 25, of Philadelphia, and Airman 1st Class Akeem Beazer, 21, of Pompano Beach, Fla., were arrested March 31, said Kimberlynn Reeves, spokeswoman for acting US Attorney David Weiss.

Both men are charged with sexual abuse of a minor, while Washington also faces a single count of sex trafficking of a child.

According to the criminal complaint against both men, the case came to light in March when the girl told a social worker that beginning when she was 15 years old and continuing after her 16th birthday, she had stayed at Dover AFB and had sexual relations with Air Force personnel while there.

This admission prompted an investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Delaware State Police.

The DSP detective was familiar with the girl, who allegedly had a troubled home life and often ran away from home.  [Dover Post]

You can read the rest at the link, but this girl was being pimped out of the DMV of all places.

US Air Force Academy Accused of Training Bureaucrats Not Warriors

This is a pretty interesting read by an Air Force Academy alumnus who recently saw the changes the academy has gone through to train officers for today’s Air Force:

None of this was happening. They were walking at rest, not greeting anyone. Actually, they were ignoring the upperclassmen walking by. I stopped one of them and asked him, “Cadet, are you recognized yet?”

“No, we are not,” was his response. He kept walking. There was no “sir” in his response. He obviously knew I was an alumnus and former military officer. The problem was that he simply didn’t care. He didn’t care because he had been taught not to care. Military bearing was absent. Completely gone. Removed.

And then, the shock continued.

As the time started to get close to the Noon Meal Formation, where the cadets form up and march into Mitchell Hall for lunch, I again realized nothing was happening. Cadets were nonchalantly walking to the huge cafeteria where they are served all at once during the school week for lunch. I subsequently found out the formation had been cancelled due to high winds. I laughed to myself.  There wasn’t even a breeze. Wow, things really have changed.

Inside the noon meal, all former military decorum and training at the lunch table had been vaporized. There was nothing. The freshman cadets didn’t even have the civilian decency to serve their alumni guests first, not to mention any military bearing. They just took the food and ignored everyone else at the table.

It gets worse: after lunch, my colleagues walked into the academic building. Before my eyes, where there used to be formal lecture halls, was a Dunkin’ Donuts. My jaw hit the floor and I actually took a picture– I was that amazed. This was no longer a military academy; it was UCLA in uniforms.  [Ops Lens]

Here is the most profound thing he realized from his visit to the US Air Force Academy:

Not once did I hear the word warrior. In a flash, I got it. The academy was no longer training cadets to be Air Force warriors. They were no longer training to fight for our country and win wars. They were being trained to function in the bureaucracy. The academy was all about competing with civilian institutions in a variety of ways.

You can read much more at the link, but I am curious if anyone agrees with this former cadet’s assessment of the current state of the US Air Force Academy.

US Air Force Flies B-1 Bomber from Guam Over South Korea

North Korea has their typical provocation playbook and the US has its typical playbook in response with one of the plays being to fly a bomber from Guam over South Korea:

Two B-1B nuclear-capable strategic bombers of the U.S. Air Force flew over South Korea, Tuesday, in a show of force against North Korea that conducted its fifth nuclear test last week in defiance of global warnings.

The B-1B Lancers conducted a low-altitude flight over Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, around 10:00 a.m. after having flown from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The aircraft is capable of carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons of any current American bombers.

One B-1B was escorted by four F-15Ks from South Korean Air Force, while the other was escorted by four F-16s from the U.S. Air Force during the flight. [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.