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Discussion in '☆☆ New Recruits ☆☆' started by LoadToad462/2W1, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. LoadToad462/2W1

    LoadToad462/2W1 New Member

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    First and foremost, HELLO!

    My name is Tom, I am a 12 year veteran of the USAF, honorably discharged this year (2014) due to the drawdown ("Force Shaping" they called it :grumble: ). I was an E-6/ TSgt, Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist on F-16C/Ds, F-15C/D/Es, MQ-1s, MQ-9s, and AC-130Us. I am originally from, and now reside, in the hills of southern Ohio.

    I have loved all kinds of history, especially Civil War, Revolutionary War, WWI, and WWII, since I was a small boy. I would run around with my grandfather's helmet on my head and a plastic six gun on my hip and pretend I was Patton (much to my grandfather's consternation). I started doing Civil War reenactments when I was 12 and lied about my age for several years until I turned 16 because I would NOT be relegated to drummer boy, I wanted to carry that rifled musket!

    Over the years, I have collected quite a bit of U.S. militaria, now concentrating on WWI uniforms, equipment, and weapons.

    My grandfather, S/Sgt Charles Thomas Sewards was drafted on 10 Dec 1941 and ultimately assigned to the 35th Infantry Division, 134th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E, Second Platoon, Second Squad. He served in the ETO until the war's conclusion and was honorably discharged 16 October 1945. He passed away in March 2000 of heart failure.

    I look forward to sharing info and getting to know as much as I can about this period in history, specifically of the family many of you had that served.
     
  2. buk2112

    buk2112 Member

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    Thanks for your service Tom, and welcome aboard!
     
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  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Welcome aboard!
     
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  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    G'day Tom...i am an aviation enthusiest (Plane nerd) - Great to have some hands on experience to draw from - Whats an MQ?
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Welcome, Tom. Enjoy your time on our forum. Tell us more about your grandfather if you can. Scans of any documents you have would really be appreciated.
     
  6. LoadToad462/2W1

    LoadToad462/2W1 New Member

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    Hey CAC, MQ-1s and MQ-9s are unmanned aerial vehicles. Commonly known and Predators and Reapers, respectively. :D I will divulge all you want to know! Ask away!
     
  7. LoadToad462/2W1

    LoadToad462/2W1 New Member

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    Hey Lou! I will do just that, there is a great website, www.coulthart.com/134, and the webmaster has done a remarkable job of gathering all the Unit Journals, rosters, and after-action reports which is where I got most of my grandfather's info. His DD214 was almost no help other than his service number. I will gather what I have printed off and this week sometime sit down and upload them onto the forum.

    Cheers!
     
  8. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Welcome to the forums!
     
  9. LoadToad462/2W1

    LoadToad462/2W1 New Member

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    Thanks Buk, Price, and Historian! Glad to be here!
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    From one Tom to another, welcome to the Forum.
     
  11. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hmmm...ok! Lets see...ill have more questions as time goes on...
    Q1: How old are the predators? Seems like the design is a little dated now, i think first used as eyes then hellfires strapped to them...i would expect some purpose built "bombers" by now...are they just getting their monies worth out of them since they can still do the job?
    Q2: How long on average do these drones last? Or expected to last...are they built to the same standards as the manned aircraft?
    Q3: Do you have any ethical/moral problems with sending machines rather than men to kill the enemy?
    Q4: What will the USAF look like in 30 years in terms of personnel?

    I realise some answers may still be classified...
     
  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Welcome on this fine forum
     
  13. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Active Member

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    Hello and welcome to the forum Tom

    Lesley
     
  14. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Nice intro, well bred. Welcome sir.

    A load toad has another meaning around my hood. (Ugly, but...)
     
  15. LoadToad462/2W1

    LoadToad462/2W1 New Member

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    CAC,

    Nothing you asked is overtly sensitive so here goes:
    1) The first incarnation of the MQ-1 was the RQ-1, which was just for reconnaissance (No weapons). It was introduced... I want to say 1996-ish. The MQ-1 designator was assigned to those drones selected for carrying armament (2x AGM-114 "Hellfire") These are what I worked and while I am not for certain, I can say for sure the ones I worked on had tail number designators that were in the 2005-2007 range so I know for sure they had begun upgrading/production by 2005! edit: according to trusty wikipedia- MQ-1 came around just prior to September 2001. As for your question about bombers, the MQ-9 Reaper fills that goal, typically outfitted with AGM-114's and GBU-12's (Paveway II- 500lb Laser guided bombs).

    2) As far as projected service life, I can't say. As far as MAINTENANCE is concerned, they are more or less maintained, in my experience, as well as manned aircraft. Since I was more on the armament side, and the last thing you want is a bomb rack or launcher rail that doesn't work when you have a HVT in your sights, I can say, they are maintained as well as manned fighter bombers in that aspect. Having your name as the guy who last performed the 90 day periodic inspection on a rail when a missile hangs is the last thing you want... fastest way to get on a first name basis with the Maintenance OIC... and NOT in a good way. I can say they are no longer making the MQ-1 Predators, so what we got is all we got. Even the oldest ones are newer that most of our frontline fighters (F-16/F-15) and still flying.

    3) Boy, you don't pull any punches do ya? Talk about a sticky question... Look, I am a aircraft maintainer. Aircraft, manned or unmanned, don't tend to have an ideology. Munitions placed on an aircraft don't have an ideology. My job was to make sure that the task I am assigned to do is done to the best of my ability, to make sure the task my crews are assigned to do is done to the best of THEIR ability. It was my job to trust that my superiors knew what they were doing. As an NCO in the USAF, unless given an obviously questionable order, "Ours is not to reason why". This is regardless of whether the aircraft is manned or a drone. I won't discuss in this forum (Introductions) what I think of U.S. foreign policy and the use of drones in modern warfare. Do I have an opinion? Oh yes. Definitely. But I think this would be better discussed in, say, "The Stump"...

    4) The USAF personnel issue is a sticky subject for me. They have carved out a large chunk of personnel in the last few years, starting with personnelists and what we call "noners"-- Services, Finance, Medical, Command Post, Orderly Rooms, etc-- folks that don't DIRECTLY contribute to sortie production or generation. Trimming the fat, so to speak. Then, in the last two years they started gutting the maintenance career fields. Why? Money. Due to the desire to upgrade the fleet from legacy fighters to the more expensive next-gen aircraft, they decided to cut what they considered to be excess personnel. The "Noners" I understand, but they are already running into problems with the lack of experienced maintenance personnel trying to maintain aircraft in their prime that have been at war, CONTINUOUSLY since 1991. Remember, the backbone of our fighter fleet is still the venerable F-15E and F-16C, sure they have the F-22 and the upcoming F-35, but not in the numbers we have the legacy aircraft. Our bomber fleet is even worse, with the B-52s forecast to still be in heavy operation through 2040... 90 years after it was first built. B-1B Lancers are on borrowed time, and the B-2 Spirit, while stealthy, just can't carry the payload, or diversity of payload, of the bigger, older bombers. I mean honestly, they are retiring the A-10s... arguably one of the most valuable aircraft in the series of asymmetrical warfare conflicts we have found ourselves in for the last 25 years.

    But...

    This comes and goes in waves. Post WWI -> Drawdown, Post WWII -> Drawdown, Post Vietnam -> Drawdown/ transition to all-volunteer force, Post Cold War -> Drawdown. The difference is, and my personal problem with it this time around is we are still IN a conflict (specifically a very air-power intensive conflict). We aren't in some post-conflict Shangri lah-we-are-at-peace-euphoria. 30 years? Who knows. In personnel terms, 30 years is a LOOOOOOONG time to forecast for as a layman.
     
  16. LoadToad462/2W1

    LoadToad462/2W1 New Member

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    Thanks Skipper and Lesley!

    Poppy-

    Our nicknames vary: Knuckle-draggers, Load Toads, Muzzle-F***ers, Missile-Monkeys, etc... Just, for God's sake, don't call us "BB stackers"-- that epithet is reserved for our arch-nemesis-- Munitions, aka "AMMO", aka "Muns".

    ;)
     
  17. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Wow...i didnt know they carried ordnance up to 500kg...the tech is maturing for sure. Your answers mate, were far better than my questions...I can see you being quite a valuable asset to this forum! Thanks....will be thinking of some juicey questions to follow...
     
  18. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Well, just don't call me late for dinner. (sorry)
     
  19. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Popstar - Popgun - Pops - Popcycle - Pop-a-dam...Voxpop...ummm....
     
  20. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Popcorn fart. Lots of noise, no content.
     

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