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Should officers spend compulsory time in the ranks?

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Should officers spend compulsory time in the ranks?

Old 14th Apr 2009, 19:28
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Proud, not really. Argumentative.............
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Old 14th Apr 2009, 19:33
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Ok Blacksheep, I'll resist the temptation raging inside me to wind up the class war plebs and tell you.
1. Career compression. It is very difficult even under the current system to get an officer through enough different jobs to prepare him for the the vagaries of senior officerership, before he is too old to command.My personal opinion is that we are too slow as it is. The human ability to think fast and make confident decisions without the occifying fear of failure clouding decisions is on the decline past our early twenties. This is to some degree offset by wisdom gained over the years, but it is no accident that in wartime the average age of senior commanders plummets. Nelson Captain of a ship at 21, Leonard Cheshire Gp Capt at 23 for example. We need people young/arrogant enough to have confidence in their decisions. To delay further the climb to command is a very bad idea.

2. Having suffered Initial Sea Training (IST) myself I feel we gained nothing from it whasoever. Practice bleeding combined with just a little bit of vicious treatment from a few chippy and bitter ratings who get to treat officers badly for once. I could already guess just what a crappy job pot wash in a high sea state was. I knew that the engine compartment would be hot and sweaty, and surprise surprise, it was. I knew that manning the gangplank in Brindisi would be boring, and it was. That quite simply is why I never joined to do those jobs. Don't bemoan your lot, change it.

3. On a slightly different note, there is a lot of talk here about ex ratings/rankers making better officers. I disagree. I think they are maybe more considerate/accesible to their subordinates and more popular as a result (though I can think of a few exceptions to the rule), but it is not a popularity contest. There have been "people persons" who have made "great" leaders, but there is more than one route to effective leadeship. Even Nelson sent his whole fleet to sea for three years while he took leave to shag his mistress. Hardly the act of a "people person". He was loved because he won. The winning is important, not the personality. So I don't believe that they make better or worse officers, just that they are generally accessible to their subordinates.
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Old 14th Apr 2009, 19:56
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MGD,

I didn't say that there were any good aircrew officers - I am sure that there are. In my experience (on a multi-engine aircraft) the chaps who are multi-aircraft captains tend to make good leaders - those who came straight in from the fast jet world do not have a scooby about man management within a multi-crew environment. The latter tend to be very gung ho and punchy which often does not work - nor do thay have a disposition to listen to their specialists who often have much more experience in role. Questions and suggestions are often not welcomed because the FJs want to change everyone to their methods and they know best...... regardless of limitations with kit.

I am very happy about your rotary leader - I am afraid that they are very thin on the ground elsewhere.
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Old 14th Apr 2009, 20:13
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I am very happy about your rotary leader
As am I. One of an ever decreasing peer group, and I'll miss working for him when we part company.

MGD
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Old 14th Apr 2009, 21:03
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Originally Posted by Wensleydale
because the FJs want to change everyone to their methods and they know best...... regardless of limitations with kit.
I believe this was one reason why ACM Sir Harry Broadhurst was brought in as CinC Bomber Command to get the new V-Force into new ways of jet thinking rather than the old, slow, methodical bomber approach.
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Old 14th Apr 2009, 21:38
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Well done Tourist. Time is of the essence.

Then there is the slight subject of leadership versus management, they're not the same thing - especially leadership under fire. A bit of distance allows a certain aura of respect that is needed when leading men into action. The naval situation of the captain is probably the best example; a naval ship's captain is completely alone, even in a ship crammed with crew and fellow officers: if you examine the example of leaders like Lt Cdr Roope VC for instance, its easy to see why that's for the best.

I can think of many senior managers that I was perfectly happy to work under, but if any of them had asked me to do anything even slightly dangerous, I'd have quickly told them where to stick it. (This is also perhaps why retired officers never seem to make good managers.)

The problem with having junior officers serve in the ranks is that they may develop sympathy with their subordinates; not so much of a problem when managing but the military aren't training managers, they're training future leaders. For leaders, isolation works best.
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Old 16th Apr 2009, 04:33
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Sorry Tourist but I disagree! I was considerate/accessible both ways, up and down, but never allowed that to get in the way of what I was there to do. It's a total myth that anyone commissioned from the ranks can't lose sight of where he came from and fears losing popularity. I never, ever considered popularity as a reason for doing whatever had to be done.

Last edited by Samuel; 16th Apr 2009 at 21:17.
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Old 16th Apr 2009, 11:11
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I believe this was one reason why ACM Sir Harry Broadhurst was brought in as CinC Bomber Command to get the new V-Force into new ways of jet thinking
... does that include thinking all the crew had bang seats??

Sorry - cheap shot. But what the heck......
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Old 17th Apr 2009, 12:50
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Having spent 8 years in the ranks and then I managed to get on to IOT I don't think it would work. However I was very shocked on IOT with some of the younger members of IOT views on the ranks. For example, in week 27 a young man said to me "wow that sgt is clever I never thought they would be" another example is "do people in the ranks have degrees?"
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Old 17th Apr 2009, 16:27
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Coming from the ranks

I think that the point about other ranks being better officers is bit of a misconception.

The majority of ORs see Junior Officers performing close up only at front line stations. A first tourist ex-ranker will usually settle in a lot quicker than a comparable graduate, he does not need to find out how a real unit and sqn works he has been round that loop for a number of years. You will begin to see parity in experience by about the 3rd to 4th tour by which time they should be hitting sqn ldr. At this point they are more remote from the ORs and less likely to get judged by their performance on a daily basis.

regards

retard
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Old 17th May 2021, 19:27
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I was once an RAF SAC and was accused of un Airman like behaviour by coming to work in a rather fancy two-seater Italian sports car and I was encouraged to desist and get a more Airman-like car such as a Ford or Mini. I decided that I would ignore that order/request and on a number of occasions subsequently flew myself into work in a light aeroplane as I held a Private Pilots Licence. Needless to say, I left soon afterwars and had quite a successful career in Civil Aviation at Heathrow.

Last edited by DC10RealMan; 18th May 2021 at 07:17.
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Old 18th May 2021, 09:14
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I was once an RAF SAC and was accused of un Airman like behaviour by coming to work in a rather fancy two-seater Italian sports car
What was unusual about that? In the sixties the Sergeants' Mess had a row of Jaguars and MGs whilst the Officers' Mess had beaten up old Fords and Vauxhalls.
I would have earned far more as a sergeant pilot and on oversea detachments my LOA was less than a SAC's.
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Old 18th May 2021, 09:42
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver
What was unusual about that? In the sixties the Sergeants' Mess had a row of Jaguars and MGs whilst the Officers' Mess had beaten up old Fords and Vauxhalls.
Situation today is that car parks around barrack blocks are generally full of BMWs, Audis and assorted hot hatches undoubtedly purchased on personal contract plans consuming every last drop of disposable income, while the Officers' and Sergeants' Mess car parks are generally full of second-hand family wagons, with most ploughing their income into mortgages instead of cars. But the real question is, why and how did DC10RealMan manage to pull this thread out from the dim and distant past of 2009?
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Old 18th May 2021, 09:54
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I was obviously very bored with lockdown as I originally started to look on PPRuNe for information about the Vulcan accident at LHR in the 1950s.
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Old 18th May 2021, 11:34
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Good comeback '10!
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Old 18th May 2021, 13:16
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Originally Posted by minigundiplomat
I'd politely disagree with that statement.

Take the Boss of the resident Chinook Flight in Sandpit East. His crews have been shot at everytime they go into a particular area, and yet he stands in front of dozens of aircrew and tells them they are all going in again as a formation, why it's important and how they are going to do it.

He then trots down to see the engineers (as he would, they work for him via the JEngO) and tells them exactly why they need to dig out blind to produce 4 cabs from the current episode of scrapheap challenge. He explains why it important, and how their efforts directly help the squaddie on the ground, who badly needs the aircraft.

I've seen this scene dozens of times, so please don't tell me aircrew officers can't lead others.

What you type on here is a poor substitute for what I have seen with my own eyes.
OK. He talks the talk. Does he walk the walk?
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Old 18th May 2021, 14:57
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Originally Posted by Herc-u-lease
Having done both, I don't think pre-requisite airman service is really a good idea. I got enough hassle for being a mech-tech let alone being a future guaranteed officer. I learned a lot from the ranks and it has certainly helped me in the commissioned world. There are a few major companies that insist their graduate programs spend time on the shop floor; Aldi's management training scheme for one (I'm sure someone will correct me). Believe it or not, the Air Force actually needs Ox-Bridge graduates for higher up the food chain. It may take some time for them to learn the job, but isn't that one of the roles of the FS and WO - mentoring Junior Officers?
I mentored one who on his second week in the Air Force proper told me he was going to swop offices with me as mine was bigger and faced the flight line!
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Old 18th May 2021, 15:42
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MIOT now prepares Junior Officers for their first tour in a way that the previous course didnít. For that reason, and because a good FS and/or WO should mentor, I would say no.

Last edited by Toadstool; 18th May 2021 at 16:33.
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Old 18th May 2021, 15:45
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OK. He talks the talk. Does he walk the walk?
No names, no pack drill but that one DID.
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Old 19th May 2021, 13:07
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Nobody mentioning the 12 year thread gap? That must be some kind of record.

It's a lot about being able to see the big picture versus getting lost in the detail. Some jobs demand detail, others not so much. The trick is to spot the leadership potential in 21 year old spotty Herberts, very few of them have much actual leadership quality at that stage.
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