Air Force cancelling 21 round salute because of budget cuts

 
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Air Force cancelling 21 round salute because of budget cuts

I think the word I am grasping for here, is absurd...

So here is the statement from the Air Force itself:

“Effective 1 December 2015, the 15th Wing Honor Guard will reduce retiree and veteran funeral details from a 7-person detail to a 3-person detail. This Headquarters Air Force level adjustment will provide manpower relief consistent with the current size of our base Honor Guard and the typical number of events we support. We are still committed to ensuring proper honors for qualified fallen military retirees and veterans. This 3-person team will include two individuals who will fold and present the interment flag and one who will play Taps.” – TRACY A. DANIEL, Maj, USAF, Commander, 647th Force Support Squadron

This is idiotic. Just dumb on an unfathomable level.  And, I suspect, it is completely made up, to try to wring more funds from Congress.   My friend Jonn Lilyea notes that the rounds for the salute are essentially $3.  So let's compare that with another story out today:

WASHINGTON — In a massive spending bill unveiled yesterday, Congress boosted funding for aircraft procurement, allowing the Pentagon to buy additional F-35 joint strike fighters and MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles.

Lawmakers included $1.33 billion for 11 additional F-35s across the armed services: three conventional takeoff and landing F-35As for the Air Force; two carrier variant F-35Cs for the Navy; and six short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, according to a summary of the bill.

Come on guys, give me a break.  As for the personnel issues, just look at this:

“Virtually every mission area” faces critical manning shortages, and the Air Force risks burning airmen out. “We’re at 82 to 85 percent manning levels in virtually every mission area,” Welsh said during a discussion Tuesday at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. “We can’t reach in someplace and grab more manpower to fix a problem anymore. And so we have got to figure out different ways of using our people in a more efficient way or we will wear them out. And if we lose them, we lose everything.”

This was the assessment earlier this week of Gen. Mark Welsh, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF), as reported by the Air Force Times’ Stephen Losey.

The remarks came as a surprise to many, likely including the 2013 version of Welsh himself, who insisted upon the wisdom of cutting 25,000 airmen from the ranks over five years and then proceeded to jam those cuts, electively, into a single year. Somewhere, in the alternative universe where 2013 Welsh roams oblivious to the consequences of his decision, he is undoubtedly haunted by the professional ghosts of the 19,000 airmen who lost their jobs in 2014 … as well as the tortured souls of those who remained behind to struggle with increasing demands in an endemically under-resourced and mismanaged Air Force.

I love the Air Force, but they have to stop playing this silly game.  Budgeting shouldn't be this difficult.  You can't cut one year, and then immediately say you are undermanned and that things like funeral services need to get cut.  In addition to making you look foolish, it sends the wrong message to potential recruits.


Posted in the burner | 10 comments
 
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Comments

It is not about money, it is because the sound of a rifle shot scares the hell out of the Air Force types

As an Air Force retiree, it is my privilege of being a Rifle Salute Team member of our Honor Guard DAV Chapter 15 in Santa Fe NM. Have been on it for four yrs. I'm 78 yrs young. We do have 2 members younger than 60. 2 WWII, 2 Korea, 8 VN no OIF volunteers. Yes, we all are volunteers. I try to recruit todays returning veterans, no takers. I think the AF is putting more emphasis on $ matters than human feelings. I asked for a full military funeral with the correct number of Honor Guard members, and I have the answer in writing that would happen. Now my family is informed of this distasteful cut to the honor guard, if that happens to me, legal action is foregoing to the Air Force so help me GOD!.

Actually, it isn't a 21 gun salute which is reserved for dignitaries. It's 3 volley of musketry performed by 3 to 7 people. The three cartridges placed in the flag signify duty, honor and sacrifice. The Services (AF, Army, etc) are required to provide 2 of the Honor Guard, one of which must be the serviceperson's branch of service. Good thing we have the Am. Legion, VFW and others helping, huh?

This is really asinine! IIIII A couple of years ago our Congressman (election year) made a big deal about asking people to submit ideas on how to cut different wasteful items in our budget. I did a little research and found out that all "flyovers" at Pro and College games cost approx. 1 million dollars per airplane due to fuel used, man power and maintenance. A jet engine has to be rebuilt after 'x' number of hours due to fatigue of parts plus each plane or gunship has to have complete inspection after each usage. A gunship isn't much cheaper! I asked Congressman Terry to check into it and all I recv'd was a "form letter" having nothing to do with my idea.
Typical U.S. Services. Serve your country and you are promised this and that, but many items are then taken away. Is there any politician that has a real conscience????
What's more respectable and honorable? A q1 minute flyover at a ballgame or a full military BURIAL AS PROMISED???

the President that never served but because of being Commander in Chief I grant you he will have the full Honors when he passes but us Veterans that served 20 years plus don't have that right.

For the last 4 USAF retirements I had to arrange, I couldn't get the Nellis AFB Honor Guard to do retirements either. They say it isn't in their budget anymore. Damn shame.

Too bad the Burn Pit article inferred that only the Air Force was cutting personnel for funerals. Suggest that more research be done before singling out an individual service. Cuts are being done by all of the Services for some time due to multiple reasons. Limiting or cutting ball game flyovers is one way to get some money. How about cutting congress and WH travel budget in half? Ret AF '83

Flyovers, which provide tremendous recruitment and publicity for the services as well as actual air hours for the crews, are worth their expense and then some and have nothing to do with the purported lack of money for decent military honors at funerals. A lack of respect for the sacrifices of those who served in the past by those who are purportedly doing so in the present in positions of senior "leadership", as well as the thoughtlessness of many of our elected politicians, most of whom now have never served and many of whom see the military as a endless source of money to divert to their beloved "social programs" like "free" cell phones and free meals at schools for all students without any reduction in food stamps to those families whose children get such is the real problem. As the proportion of those of us who have served and are now serving becomes an ever-lessening share of the population, and remembering that political decisions are made on the basis of large, noisy constituencies (hello, AARP!), we have to make our own noise and make our voices heard -- LOUDLY!

Flyovers, which provide tremendous recruitment and publicity for the services as well as actual air hours for the crews, are worth their expense and then some and have nothing to do with the purported lack of money for decent military honors at funerals. A lack of respect for the sacrifices of those who served in the past by those who are purportedly doing so in the present in positions of senior "leadership", as well as the thoughtlessness of many of our elected politicians, most of whom now have never served and many of whom see the military as a endless source of money to divert to their beloved "social programs" like "free" cell phones and free meals at schools for all students without any reduction in food stamps to those families whose children get such is the real problem. As the proportion of those of us who have served and are now serving becomes an ever-lessening share of the population, and remembering that political decisions are made on the basis of large, noisy constituencies (hello, AARP!), we have to make our own noise and make our voices heard -- LOUDLY!

Isn't it just like the Air Force to pay 1.5 billion dollars for a single airplane and try to make up for it by taking these final services away from those who served. What a way to repay these men and women for their loyalty and dedication to duty.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.