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Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 07/09/2019 09:47:08

Good Morning.

I was skimming my usual websites this morning, and this puffery was at the top of the page. Somehow, I think this tells us all we need to know.

Score a win for the Viper pilot in the battle over which Air Force fourth-generation aircraft brings the heat.

1st Lt. Wade Holmes, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, recently beat his dad, Air Combat Commander Gen. Mike Holmes, an F-15 Eagle pilot, in the game Ace Combat 7, according to a service release.

The two pilots flew their respective aircraft during the hour-long game June 29. The event was live-streamed on Twitch so viewers could watch and call in, asking the pilots questions about flight training.

Ace Combat 7 takes place in a fictional world in which pilots attempt to secure the skies during an air campaign between two sparring rivals. Holmes and Holmes played on an Xbox One system.

Lt. Holmes, who is in the Air National Guard and stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, noted that the realism of the game was better than some training simulators he's used as a pilot. Gen. Holmes, however, pointed out that the purpose was different, and that the hand controls didn't have the same functions. At one point during the game, the two swapped aircraft and flew each others' fighters.

The two discussed topics ranging from what it's like to work with air battle managers in hot zones like the Middle East running air wars to air-to-air combat training and the high G-levels they've sustained in flight.

War is a game. War is reported like a game. Actual pilots are now gamers.

This strikes me as a microcosm in so many ways about what is completely wrong with our military-driven society today. After actual soldiers, sailors, and airmen complete their missions, they're done with the "game" and fade into obscurity. They become very easy to overlook at this point - something many previous "administrations" excel at.

To whit - you might want to take the extra few minutes to read this lengthy story. Even after serving, some veterans are subject to brutality from their own. Perhaps you are aware, if a member of the armed forces is dishonorably discharged, they are not entitled to any sort of V.A. benefits. And there is a police force out there to make sure they do not try.

DERRICK HATHAWAY SERVED multiple tours in Kosovo, contributing to a NATO peacekeeping mission aimed at preventing ethnic cleansing. While Hathaway envisioned his Marine mission as a humanitarian one, he soon became ashamed of his work. In the course of mapping safe routes for NATO forces, Hathaway’s platoon would perform no-knock home raids to search for weapons or contraband, leading to tense confrontations with frightened families.

“It was martial law,” Hathaway said. “That left a nasty taste in my mouth. All we were doing was feeding a new form of hate.”

Still, Hathaway followed orders and earned a number of awards for his military service, including the Good Conduct Medal, which is given to recognize “good behavior and faithful service.” But after half a decade in uniform, Hathaway was given a bad conduct discharge in February 2005. He got the boot after failing a Department of Defense drug test administered shortly after a rowdy weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Among other things, this denied him access to mental health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For years, veterans advocates and policymakers have worked to open the VA to the half-million so-called bad paper veterans like Hathaway. Last year, Congress directed the VA to offer more mental health care benefits to this neglected population. For Hathaway, however, it was too little and too late.

“The military threw me to the wolves,” Hathaway told The Intercept. “I couldn’t get counseling. I was abandoned by them.” Desperate for help, Hathaway visited his local VA hospital in Phoenix and would occasionally receive care on humanitarian grounds.

Finally, I'll pivot to equipment; of course you know my favorite whipping post of late. But now I"m reading that the Air Force is turning to 60-year-old technology in an attempt to increase flight time for the F-35. It's called "hot refuelling", and it's exactly as dangerous as you think it sounds.

The Air Force is turning to half-century-old refueling equipment to get its pilots off the flight lines and back up into the air as quickly as possible.

The U.S. Air Force has used hot refueling in recent years -- a technique that fuels up a plane while its engines are on -- in an effort to save time. Now the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron, based at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, is the first Air Force unit to take hot-pit refueling old school.

The squadron, known as the 'Gunfighters,' began using a Type 1 hydrant system from the 1950s and hose cart from the 1970s to refuel F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that stop at the base, according to a service release.

The systems connect directly to 500,000-gallon tanks, refueling a plane in roughly 15 minutes without requiring its engines to be shut off, the release states.

"Mountain Home Air Force Base is proving that we can still fuel F-35 aircraft right off the production line with some of the oldest equipment at unheard-of turnaround times," Tech. Sgt. Zachary Kiniry, 366th LRS fuels service center noncommissioned officer, said in the release.

Sounds like an accident waiting to happen to me.


24 comments (Latest Comment: 07/09/2019 20:45:53 by livingonli)
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