Audio Post – Done by Phone Call!

July 6, 2010 at 1:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I’ve Moved…..to a real domain

June 11, 2006 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I have finally decided to move to a real domain and have taken my blog along with me.

You can find the new and improved blog at:

Chaotic Synaptic Activity

Thanks for stopping by and please visit the new “digs.”

Last Trap for the Tomcat – Part I

March 2, 2006 at 1:27 pm | Posted in History, Navy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Update: The new blog, http://www.chaoticsynapticactivity.com is now my main posting blog. That link will take you to this post over there and please note the second half of this story is there as well.Thanks for stopping by, and please surf around the new blog, and update your links!

This post, on my newer blog is here.

Part II of the story is here.

I’m not sure how this story got so polpular all of a sudden, but thatnks for reading. Please click over to the new blog for lots more stuff!

<hr>

I began this post on 2/22/2006. I filed it as a draft. Today, whislt driving about for work, I began to ponder the effect of the F-14 Tomcat on my “generation.” Part I will cover some history, and in that, a discussion of how/why the Military gets such toys, and also why it quits using them, too.

Military.com reports the last F-14 combat mission ever has occured.

The “Anytime, Baby!” guys got their airframe about the time I was commissioned. A few years later, as counter-battery in the recruiting wars, the Navy gleefully helped Hollywood make “Top Gun.”

I stopped there, but had captured the article. Here we go….

The Tomcat went into service the same year I did, 1972. It, as with all other equipment the US Military buys, was bought with a purpose in mind, with the operational requirements laid out by a bunch of people trying to project into the future, many years before then. Being a major procurement program to replace the McDonald F-4 Phantom II, the entire process received an equivalent amount of scrutiny by all levels of government.

The story within this story is instructive for those who often wonder “What were they thinking?” when they see some piece of expensive military equipment being a perceived “misfit” in it’s role of the moment. The beginning of a development is a “threat assessment.” What does the bad guy have now (since you just got surprised) or what do you think he is building, based on available intelligence? The answer to the threat assessment then makes the “OR” (operational requirement) pretty clear. You have to be able to counter the threat. The ORs come from the “Fleet” (in the case of the Navy), making sure the people currently assigned to the duties of war fighting make the major input to the capabilities the new system will have to meet. Shore duty “pukes” and contractors have to sit on the side lines and bite their tongues, or lobby at the bar after the big meeting, hoping to get their 2 cents into the equation. The purpose is keep the people who are not going to have their body parts on the line from “gold plating” projects, at the expense of the tax payers’ good graces. For all the grumbling about these decisions, know it’s a pretty good system to keep costs down, but, yes, sometimes a really expensive hammer does show up in a project plan.

Along the way in all of this, the ORs become reality when the actual contractor is chosen to build the item. In most all cases, this comes many years later, and the warfighters who suffered through the many hours of meetings, at the expense of their professional development, have moved on the retirement or shore duty, and now the people behind them have to keep the flame burning and answering questions of the contractors, the Pentagon at large, and taxpayers. This can be a daunting task, for even if the note taking in the early days was exceptionally well done, there never seems to be the time, nor were many of the side conversations that supported some of the decisions captured to aid in the present discussions. In this, the oversight of the Operational Test Force comes into play, and the project officers “ride herd” on the Fleet guys and the contractors to make sure the equipment does what was laid out in the system requirements, which came from the ORs.

That’s the short way into the F-14 story. In the 60s, the Soviet Union was building up its fleet for defense of the Motherland. While the oceans provided a great buffer, our ability to conduct long range air strikes with several varieties of conventional and nuclear capable platforms, such as the A-3D Sky Warrior, the A-4 Skyhawk, and the A-6 Intruder, the Soviets wanted to take out our carriers before they could get within launch range of the homeland. The counter force to ours was not Soviet aircraft carriers, but massive amounts of SNAF (Soviet Naval Air Force) bombers, equipped with supersonic cruise missiles. Additionally, they put guided missile submarines (SSG/SSGN) to sea, and also put the missile capability aboard surface ships, mostly of the cruiser size, when it was a missile designed to sink air craft carriers quickly.

Soviet TU-16 “Badgers,” TU-95 “Bears,” and later TU-22 “Blinders” and TU-160 “Backfires” would come in massive formations, guided towards CVBGs (Carrier Battle Groups) by forward observer platforms, usually of the TU-95 “Bear D” variant, using it’s underslung “Big Bulge” search radar and video data link to pass the information of the location to the armed aircraft, submarines and surface ships, waiting over our long range radar horizons. The bombers would be armed with cruise missiles that were essentially the size of a small fighter aircraft, packed with explosives. The AS-2 “Kipper,” AS-4 “Kitchen,” -5 “Kelt,” and -6s “Kingfish” were all in this category, capable of being launched from 100 to 200 miles from the carriers. The AS-4 and -6 were particularly nasty, as the climbed high, then approached at several times the speed of sound, and then pitched over towards the target at a very steep angle, making it exceptionally difficult for our gun systems to track and engage the missile in its terminal phase (think ORs for those gun systems that did not envision that threat capability when they were developed, rather than people consciously building a “bad” system).

Welcome to the party the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Admiral “Hammerin’ Hank” Mustin, while the Second Fleet Commander, often stated his doctrine of “shoot the archer, not the arrow” to say the easier shot is the one at the sub, or not too supersonic, large profile bomber, than to deal with multiple, small, high speed inbound cruise missile, and the F-14 did this in spades. Capt Lex may yuck it up that the F-14 is gone, but even he knows it was the right platform for its time. In a match up between the two aircraft for some DACT (dissimilar aircraft training), and “BVR” (beyound visual range) weaponry being used as it was intended, the “Anytime, Baby!” aviators would be the first ones back with notches in the belts, drinking a few at the O Club and saying things like “Yeah, we had them on radar in plenty of time to smoke them like cheap cigars at about 100NM. You should have heard them whining all the way to impact about how it was so unfair for us to have Phoenix onboard!”

The AIM-54 Phoenix missile, targeted by the AN/AWG-9 radar was more than a match for the Soviet bombers. Being able to be punched off the deck with 6 AIM-54s, it could “buster” (in afterburners) out to Combat Air Patrol (CAP) station on a threat vector quickly (combat radius of 500 miles +), being capable of doing more than twice the speed of sound (think 1500+ mph as a round figure, and BTW, that’s Mach 2+!). The AWG-9 radar could scan a sector, and simultaneously track a target for each missile. The AIM-54 range was demonstrated to be in excess of 100 NM. Add a CAP station about 200 miles down the threat axis and a few sections of F-14s, and the bad guys were going to have tough sledding to reach their launch points. More than likely, they would be swimming with the fish before they could get their cruise missiles off their rails, which, from my perspective, was a very, very good thing. Oh, I forgot to mention, not only could these cruise missiles of the Soviets go really fast, and carry a lot of explosives (enough to do serious damage to an armored aircraft carrier), they could carry nuclear warheads, as well, which meant those of us in the “screen” in small boys, or aboard the supporting oilers and ammunition ships in the vicinity would be in serious danger as well. I really liked the idea of the F-14 being the main fighter in service.

Compare and contrast this with the oh, so sexy “lawn dart” known as the F/A-18 Hornet. Is this an aircraft the pilots dearly love? Does it have a really cool radar that does serious magic, can be used in air-to-air or air-to-ground modes? Yes, it does. Can it be equally at home yanking and banking in ACM (air combat maneuvers), as well as “mud moving?” Yep, that too. Can the Hornet dogfight successfully without having the jettison stores meant for a ground target? Check. Does the Hornet have the “legs” to get way out on station and still put a major hurting on a bomber with a 200 NM reach? Not so sure (with out lots of tankers, which then decrements the number of fighters being fighters)? Nope. Interestingly enough, the initial OR for the F/A-18 had a combat radius that wasn’t attainable during operational testing. It seems the then SECNAV, John Lehman directed the combat radius for the F/A-18 in the test documents be lessened, so that we could get the production rolling, hence the knick name of “lawn darts” being applied. Toss them up, and they come back down. The F/A-18E/F “Super Hornets” that came along later provided more fuel tank space in the wings, addressing this issue.

Enough for now….if ou’ve hung on this long, stay tuned for Part II, where I will discuss how the Tomcat was a revolutionary aircraft in the annals of the Navy from a personnel perspective…

Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Thanks to Little Green Footballs for the Open Thread!

March 2, 2006 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s a Work in Progress

February 13, 2006 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Using the import feature, I managed to pull over my 2004 posts from my old Blogger blog. Now, the import percentage goes to 99%, then goes back to “retrying.” One time I saw an entire list of error messages in the import frame, annotating different months of info, but there wasn’t any indication of what was causing the problems, so I guess I can’t fix it. On the other hand, I could just march on into the future and leave the link to the ‘archives” and be done with it….

Any suggestions would be helpful. I saw no topoic on this in the WordPress forums, so I’m stumped…

Testing, Testing, Testing…Hello…is this thing on?

February 12, 2006 at 1:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As I wonder how to move from blogger to here, I’m playing to get a grip on how much work it will be…I found an import feature and it seems to not get all the posts at once, but the next pass thru, it pulls duplicates…so…we’ll see how this goes.

Hello world!

January 17, 2006 at 5:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OK, so I’m out to see what I need to make my current blog, a more refined project.

I found the link to WordPress, so I’ll check it out……

Quarterback or team player?

December 14, 2004 at 1:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Once more, as I listened to local talk radio on the way to work, something about the people who “lost” the election took me back to a personal conversation I have periodically with myself as a result of work years ago. The topic is: Is it better to be the quarterback of the high school team, or a “merely” a member of the winning Superbowl team?

My thoughts originate around a meeting in the summer of 1996 at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, where I became the speaker at a meeting that I didn’t even know was being held. Because I was going to be in town, a civil servant I had worked with before asked representatives from the surface, submarine and aviation training communities to be there to have the discussion that ensued.

Here is a little background, to set the stage for the lessons learned. In 1988, I began working on a program that would allow shipboard leadership to more efficiently manage the ship’s watch stations. At the time, the process which was put in place for a good reason in the early 70s, was still being done pretty much manually, despite some degree of automation being available. I began with a diagram that laid out a series of databases and the relationships between them. Over time, this program, spurred on by the gun turret explosion of the USS IOWA in 1989, became an operating program, running on basic PC. At the time, the venerable Zenith Z-248 computers, acquired through a great Air Force contract the Navy was allowed to use, were making their way aboard ships to support the Supply departments (LOGMARS), and later Disbursing and Ships Store functions. The Shipboard Naval Administrative Program (SNAP) was in caretaker status, so essentially un-modifiable to compensate for changes mandated at the Type Commander level.

Across three commands, my commanding officers allowed me to keep working with the Fleet to eventually distribute the program to 120 ships, from aircraft carriers to mine countermeasure ships.

Along the way in this project, I learned many things. I consciously looked at the myriad of tools we used to put a trained person at their watch station, I found little bits of documents that led me back to why we did what we were how doing. The showed me common building blocks used, that applied to the aviation, surface and submarine communities alike. We may have put them in different formats, but the philosophy and methodology traded closely together. It was a bit like archeology, psychology, history, statistical process control, Total Quality Management/Leadship/Continuous Improvement and administration all rolled together.

Additionally. I also learned a lot about “domains” and “kingdoms,” and what a bunch of passionate people (read: people who were tired of waiting for the people on “the beach” to get things done) can achieve with just the hope of success.

Lesson #1: If someone is without resources, in this case money, and you show up with a good idea, they will be your friend and supporter. You will get invited to the meetings and to maybe act as a consultant, and sometimes become a foil for them to use to get resources, in this case money, a team begins to form with a vision.

Lesson #2: When your “friends” can get resources, in this case money, you are not just no longer of friend, but you quickly become “competition” first, shortly before you become the “enemy.” The team now begins to divide.

Those new degrees of understanding being behind me, back to “the meeting.” On the way to hammering though the real world application of a concept, the fundamental building blocks in the qualification process became clearer to me. At the meeting, senior civil servants, representing the training component of the three “line” communities and I discussed this. The stonewalling began.

Since I had been involved in this process with the Surface community for 5 years, and the fact that the civilian for the shore support for Surface had taken the job a few months before, it seemed to boil down to telling me that these things couldn’t be done. As the meeting progressed, the next lesson became resoundingly clear to me.

Lesson #3: It is more important to protect your turf, and stay the “head cheese,” than to team up with a greater organization and go for it! In this case, you must accept the possibility that you will “blend into the background.” What came to mind in the next few days was how some people, to use a football analogy, would rather stay as the winning quarterback at a high school team, than strive to (become pat of a team that goes to the Superbowl.

There was a moment, that day, to begin piling the resources, in this case, there was a total money collectively, and produce something better. I’m hat talking about some program to make the life of staff and shore duty officers easier, but to make the lives of the poor sailors and officers at sea better. I’m not saying I had the complete answer, just I saw what could have been done by those who had made the better part of their careers on the training and qualification system.

As a side note to those who know the Navy programs involved, let me state there wasn’t any plan on my part to do something like rewrite NATOPs for any qualification manuals for the submariners. The point was to capture who was qualified in order to bounce that against real-time requirements and thereby support the chain of command in the effective use of the training process resources.

The history of the entire journey into how we did training was very interesting, but that will have to be for other posts.

I would have been happy to a part of a revolution such as this.

Where to and not to shop…

December 8, 2004 at 9:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What follows in this post is:

First, my comments back to the person who forwarded this email to me.

Second, the actual email.

Personally, it’s getting pretty boring to continue to hear the incessant whining about how the election wasn’t right, blah, blah, blah…..Like I said, these people seem to know nothing about sportman like behavior. Get a grip, if you’re one of those PEST people, please, and interact with us as something other than a spoiled child.

I’ll compare and contrast my mindset when President Clinton was re-elected to what seems to be the thtoughts these days of the “losing side.” I didn’t get despondent, nor did I seek the care of a mental helath professional. I just kept living. The great part, and pardon me for being so terrible obvious, this country will repeat the election process every four years. In that, there is hope. I just can’t come to fathom how upset these Democratic whiners are.

I also realized I should have taken the opportunity to question how an obviously left wing (and therefore “supporters of the separation of church and state” crowd would realize they are supporting the celebration of the birth of Christ by commenting on the “holidays.” I know the joke is on them. I think they all should just stay at work through the “holidays,” just so it won’t look like they accept there is a God.

Ok, off to the races, and thanks, I won’t name you here person, for telling me where I don’t want to spend my money, and where I should. I’d have never taken it this far, but…since you provided me with the “gouge,” who am I to reject it…:)

*************email below**************
Let me see, I’ll file that under people who never had parents with a concept
of sportmanship, or ones who did, but they were too busy earning and
climbing the corporate ladder to pay attention to their children.

Will these adult children of the “sensitive” decide to grow up sometime
soon?

Don’t forget to square that the red staters out donate to charities to blue’s
significantly. Where’s the compassion?

And I wonder why they left off Osama bin Laden’s favorite party to
contribute to…..

“Everybody can be used for something, even if it is a bad example” –
Anonymous

********”the MESSAGE!”******************

Subject: SHOPPING PREFERENCES

With the holidays upon us, some of us might wish to be mindful of who we
patronize relative to their Election Cycle political donations, as reported
by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Not that we’re all shopaholics…

SUPPORT:

* Price Club/Costco donated $225K, of which 99% went to democrats;

* Rite Aid, $517K, 60% to democrats;

* Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean), $22K, 100% to democrats;

* Warnaco (undergarments), $55K, 73% to democrats;

* Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, $153K, 99% to democrats;

* Estee Lauder, $448K, 95% to democrats;

* Guess ? Inc., $145K, 98% to democrats;

* Calvin Klein, $78K, 100% to democrats;

* Liz Claiborne, Inc., $34K, 97% to democrats;

* Levi Straus, $26K, 97% to democrats;

* Olan Mills, $175K, 99% to democrats.

* Gallo Winery, $337K, 95% to democrats;

* Southern Wine & Spirits, $213K, 73% to democrats;

* Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons (includes beverage business, plus considerable
media interests), $2M+, 67% democrats.

* Sonic Corporation, $83K, 98% democrat;

* Triarc Companies (Arby’s, T.J. Cinnamon’s, Pasta Connections), $112K, 96%
Democrats;

* Hyatt Corporation, $187K, 80% to democrats;

DON’T SUPPORT:

WalMart, $467K, 97% to republicans;

K-Mart, $524K, 86% to republicans;

Home Depot, $298K, 89% to republicans;

Target, $226K, 70% to republicans;

Circuit City Stores, $261K, 95% to republicans;

3M Co., $281K, 87% to republicans;

Hallmark Cards, $319K, 92% to republicans;

Amway, $391K, 100% republican;

Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures), $283K, 100% republicans;

B.F. Goodrich (tires), $215K, 97% to republicans;

Proctor & Gamble, $243K, 79% to republicans;

Coors, $174K, 92% to republicans; (also Budweiser – sd)

Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel wines
– as well as Lennox China, Dansk, Gorham Silver), $644, 80% to republicans;

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (chicken), $366K, 100% republican;

Outback Steakhouse, $641K, 95% republican;

Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), $133K, 87%
republican;

Brinker International (Maggiano’s, Brinker Cafe, Chili’s, On the Border,
Macaroni Grill, Crazymel’s, Corner Baker, EatZis), $242K, 83% republican;

Waffle House, $279K, 100% republican;

McDonald’s Corp., $197K, 86% republican;

Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze),
$121K, 89% republican;

Mariott International, $323K, 81% to republicans;

Holiday Inns, $38K, 71% to republicans

“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”

—— End of Forwarded Message

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