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View Full Version : Air Force fills out Army ranks in Iraq



LiberalNation
04-15-2007, 07:08 PM
That would suck to join the air force then find yourself driving a truck in Iraq doing army work.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070415/ap_on_re_us/airmen_soldiers__duty;_ylt=AkJmW9io1Rl.SUC9J2yPsvd vzwcF

CAMP BULLIS, Texas - A row of rumbling flatbed trucks and Humvees outfitted with gun turrets lurches toward a mock village of cinderblock buildings where instructors posing as insurgents wait to test the trainees' convoy protection skills.

The training range is Army, as is the duty itself ó one of the most dangerous in Iraq these days. But the young men and women clad in camouflage and helmets training to run and protect convoys are not Army; they're Air Force.

They are part of a small but steady stream of airmen being trained to do Army duty under the Army chain of command, a tangible sign the Pentagon was scouring the military to aid an Iraq force that was stretched long before President Bush ordered 21,500 additional U.S. troops there.

"What we've seen is the Department of Defense continues to find ways to meet the requirements imposed by the commander in chief," said retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center in the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

No plans to expand the Air Force's role in convoy operations have been announced since Bush ordered the troop surge in Iraq, but Ryan said the Army and other branches of service have been looking at every possible job that can be shifted ó from the Air Force performing convoy duty to the Navy setting up medical facilities far from waterfronts.

"I can't imagine there are any jobs that they could be doing that they aren't doing, but certainly, that doesn't mean they're not continuing to look to find every possible instance where we can use the full military to solve this problem and not just have this be an Army and Marine Corps issue," he said.

Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the military's chief spokesman in Iraq, said it makes sense to bring in other branches of service for routine activities such as the convoy operations, whereas "it's not something we should do to use them to clear buildings and conduct operations."

The 2,225 airmen who have been trained and sent to run convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan so far remain a relatively small part of the overall force that includes tens of thousands of soldiers, who are sent for longer stretches and more frequent deployments.

The training at Camp Bullis began nearly three years ago, without the elaborate camp that evolved with the persistent need for Air Force help and long before Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week extended active Army deployments by three months.

The Air Force is running a regular rotation of 5-week courses for airmen to work convoys between Kuwait and Iraq. Recently, separate training was created for those being deployed to Afghanistan.

Few of the airmen, who once mostly moved or fixed equipment on Air Force bases, imagined they would be sent to fight in a ground war, but course trainers say it makes little difference.

"We want to be one team, one fight. It doesn't matter which service tape you have on your uniform," said 1st Lt. Matt Addington, the course commander.

Most Air Force enlisted personnel haven't had ground combat training, and the Army has its own sets of weaponry, terminology and command chains ó all of which have to be taught to the airmen.

The Camp Bullis training, in an area named for two airmen killed in Iraq convoys, includes courses on assault rifles, roadside bomb recognition, combat first aid and driving tactics. The airmen live in a camp designed like a forward operating base, sleeping on cots, eating MREs and scrambling to shelter when air raid sirens sound.

The training culminates with a 72-hour exercise that includes instructors dressed in long white shirts and tapestry caps, planting mock roadside bombs and shooting blanks at the convoy from open windows in an "urban warfare village."

Many airmen were surprised at the assignment.

"I was expecting just to be a vehicle operations troop, dealing with wreckers, forklifts ó vehicles like that," said Senior Airman Robert Bledsoe, who manned a 50-caliber gun during his first deployment to Iraq. "It opened my eyes a bunch."

He completed a second round of training last week with a unit that will deploy within about a week for a 6-month tour, longer than the standard 4-month deployments for most Air Force personnel but much shorter than the 15-month tours active Army personnel now face.

Staff Sgt. Stewart Jordan, a transport instructor for the course, said even the most reluctant airmen-turned-soldiers usually come around, ultimately finding the mission fulfilling.

"Those that it's tougher on realize that they signed on the dotted line," he said.

Mr. P
04-15-2007, 07:19 PM
It's about time the Air force came outta the hotels and got dirty.

Gunny
04-16-2007, 01:08 PM
It's about time the Air force came outta the hotels and got dirty.

Yeah, but look how it's presented. It isn't training to have even MORE boots on the ground .... it's scrounging because the military is stretched too thin.

No spin here.:rolleyes:

LiberalNation
04-16-2007, 03:34 PM
Well if the troops weren't thin, why would they need to use the airforce for army jobs.

Mr. P
04-16-2007, 03:48 PM
Well if the troops weren't thin, why would they need to use the airforce for army jobs.

The Air Force is part of the armed forces of the United States. All are soldiers FIRST. This is really a non-issue.

LiberalNation
04-16-2007, 04:02 PM
It is an issue, maybe not the biggest but it is an issue. People join the air force instead of the army to get out of or keep from doing things like this. That is why it's the air force. Less dangerous normally, less dirty work normally and if you look at the casualty rates it show this. Fewer air force people have dies in this war than any other branch of the service.

theHawk
04-16-2007, 04:05 PM
Pretty sweet to see this happening. Wish they would of done that when I was in.

Gaffer
04-16-2007, 04:08 PM
The Air Force Security Police are trained in infantry tactics, so it would not be any big deal to use them in infantry operations. They are usually used in a defensive mode guarding bases. No big deal at all.

manu1959
04-16-2007, 04:15 PM
you act like the airforce doesn't have trucks?

Mr. P
04-16-2007, 04:20 PM
It is an issue, maybe not the biggest but it is an issue. People join the air force instead of the army to get out of or keep from doing things like this. That is why it's the air force. Less dangerous normally, less dirty work normally and if you look at the casualty rates it show this. Fewer air force people have dies in this war than any other branch of the service.

Watch my lips, LN. ALL are SOLDIERS first. Check the oath that everyone takes upon entry to the military. It doesn't say if you go Air force you'll never get dirty or have to carry a weapon and fight. The oath and expectations are the same for all.

theHawk
04-16-2007, 04:27 PM
Watch my lips, LN. ALL are SOLDIERS first. Check the oath that everyone takes upon entry to the military. It doesn't say if you go Air force you'll never get dirty or have to carry a weapon and fight. The oath and expectations are the same for all.

To libs like LN, we're baby killers first.

And I doubt LN has any concept of what an Oath is or what it means to swear one.

LiberalNation
04-16-2007, 04:44 PM
Watch my lips, LN. ALL are SOLDIERS first. Check the oath that everyone takes upon entry to the military. It doesn't say if you go Air force you'll never get dirty or have to carry a weapon and fight. The oath and expectations are the same for all.
True and read my lips I'm not saying this is wrong, illegal to do, or that the air force guys canít handle the jobs they are put into. Just saying it probably sucks for those who signed up expecting one thing and getting another like driving trucks in a dangerous war zone. I'm guessing the air force troops having to do this aren't cheering unless they volunteered for this type of duty.

People would be less likely to join the air force if they guessed this is the stuff they would be doing.

Gunny
04-16-2007, 04:48 PM
It is an issue, maybe not the biggest but it is an issue. People join the air force instead of the army to get out of or keep from doing things like this. That is why it's the air force. Less dangerous normally, less dirty work normally and if you look at the casualty rates it show this. Fewer air force people have dies in this war than any other branch of the service.

It's really NOT an issue. My father was Air Force and he is one of the toughest SOBs I know. He came back from "nam both times carrying lead and he was freakin' linguist.

All military personnel serve in the US military in the capacity the US military sees fit to put you in. There's an echelon of command here and when it reaches the Secretary of Defense level he can redefine one's mission as he sees fit.

Every male Marine goes through infantry training regardless their specific occupational specialty. When they yank you from behind the desk and hand you a rifle you just do a quick inspection arms to determine the weapon's readiness and ask what your orders are.

Gunny
04-16-2007, 04:51 PM
True and read my lips I'm not saying this is wrong, illegal to do, or that the air force guys canít handle the jobs they are put into. Just saying it probably sucks for those who signed up expecting one thing and getting another like driving trucks in a dangerous war zone. I'm guessing the air force troops having to do this aren't cheering unless they volunteered for this type of duty.

People would be less likely to join the air force if they guessed this is the stuff they would be doing.

The article didn't say who they are. Since Camp Bullis is where Marine MPs, Air Force SPs, and the National Guard train, the odds are good they are from the SP school at Lackland AFB. There really isn't any other Air Force there anymore except recruit training and Security Service personnel.

Mr. P
04-16-2007, 06:17 PM
True and read my lips ....

No thanks, your lips flap of inexperience.:poke:

Gaffer
04-16-2007, 07:22 PM
As I said the Air Force SP's are trained as infantry. That's where these guys come in. They are qualified infantry troops who happen to be in the Air Force. And the mission they will be performing is no different than what they train for and do normally. Escort duty, check point duty, perimenter manning. This free's up marines and infantry troops that are trained in urban warfare to carry the fight to the area's they are needed in. It's a simple matter of using the troops at your disposal well. A tactically sound strategy.

The libs want to make an issue of this because they are still searching for military victims to present to the media.