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Libyan mission racked up $11M in hotel bills

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Libyan mission racked up $11M in hotel bills

Old 24th Sep 2012, 14:58
  #61 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by glojo
...I cannot feel sorry for our brylcreem boys wanting undisturbed beauty sleep...
Which clearly demonstrates:

a. your inherent prejudices
b. your apparent lack of understanding of the points made in this and innumerable other interminable threads about RAF/hotels, Army/tents & Navy/carriers or (and I suspect this is nearer the truth) your unwillingness to engage in an adult fashion.

Should I likewise continue this childish slanging match by saying that I cannot feel sorry for our navy pilots who rarely get a full nights sleep due to the lack of nearby hotels (I do actually feel sorry for them as I have tried to sleep on a carrier and failed)? I am slightly less sorry when they pull up alongside at the various exotic ports they visit but then neither do I give them a hard time about this....it's all part of the job and I hope they get to see many.

It reduces you and your arguments when you continually engage in this debate in the manner you, and so many others do.

I do agree, however, that the RAF side of the story has been soured by far too many jobsworth crews who push the rules to the limits in the manner described earlier.

I have operated my GR1/4 from tented, barrack (multi-occupancy) and hotel accomodation before you ask. I know which I prefer and which I consider safer (from an ability to do my job properly perspective) but ultimately I go where I am told.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 16:37
  #62 (permalink)  
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Even the quality of tent matters!

Bardufoss a good while back, AAC and RAF pitch up to join the RN party. End of course deployment out into the field and the RAF rock up with 12x12s but crucially Arctic liners and heaters. Teeny Weeny turn up with their 12 man bell tents, we're used to operating in the field we don't need plush tents, typical crabs etc.

That night the temperature drops, as forecast, to -21 deg C. Following morning RAF crews sleeping in lined, heated tents = full night sleep and full days tasking. AAC managed about 1 hour sleep per man, not wishing to "lose face" declared themselves fit to fly and within a couple of hours decide to create their own nordic skiing tracks with a Lynx hockey stick!

Strangely enough the following night the AAC crews could be found sleeping in the RAF rec tent, ops tent indeed anywhere but their own bell tents.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 17:16
  #63 (permalink)  
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Teeny Weeny turn up with their 12 man bell tents, we're used to operating in the field we don't need plush tents, typical crabs etc.
Your recollection of the events suggests that Teeny Weeny had heated and lined tents available to them, but decided to show you how to do it man style? My recollection of such exercises is that if the AAC were fortunate enough to be able to find around half the tents they needed, they were doing well. They wouldn't even have known that liners and heaters were an option!

Nobody is criticising the RAF for having the right kit when needed - they're very good at that. More that in spite of this, they fight tooth and nail not to use it.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 18:09
  #64 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Vie sans frontieres

But glojo, haven't you heard? We're broke. The highly respected Robert Chote
of the OBR virtually said as much. And when we eventually do get the two new
aircraft carriers a few years from now, we'll be even more broke. It ain't good
but we're just going to have to get used to it. Things ain't what they were.
I agree and if we cannot afford them we should NOT even build them.

If this Libyan mission offered the best value for money then so be it, but was it the best value for money or a case of this is all we have and we need it in theatre as quickly as possible regardless of cost??
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 18:47
  #65 (permalink)  
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It would appear that if you are in the RAF then temporary accomodation isn't good enough to afford crew rest (which we all know should be protected to the utmost extent possible) and is in some cases only going to cost more than hotels anyway.
'Temporary' accommodation should be temporary, but has a habit these days of becoming rather permanent....
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 18:56
  #66 (permalink)  
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I agree and if we cannot afford them we should NOT even build them.

I don't have the figures to hand but somehow it became more expensive to cancel them. But that's another thread I think. Sorry, back to the squabbling.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 19:12
  #67 (permalink)  
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Interesting posts about cost of temporay accomodatioin. I don't think the 'you're in the military - you have to rough it' school of thought holds water if the cost of temporary accomodation, its upkeep etc actually works out greater than hotel accomodation.

I personally believe we should maintain and exercise the capability of a 'temporary solution' (note no use of word tent), that allows for adequate crew rest if we are to consider ourselves expeditionary.

Last edited by orca; 24th Sep 2012 at 19:17.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 20:10
  #68 (permalink)  
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I don't think anyone (no, not even RAF) could disagree with that orca.

Last edited by just another jocky; 24th Sep 2012 at 20:10.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 20:14
  #69 (permalink)  
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As the saying goes, 'Any fool can be uncomfortable'. Roughing it for its own sake, particularly if it is actually more expensive to set up a large tented encampment than to utilise available hotac as was the case on Ellamy is risible.

I have spent many months sleeping in tented accomodation in the Iraqi desert in excruciating summer temperatures (40 degrees C due to inadequate aircon) which combined with 24 hour ac noise made sleeping a major issue. I often flew long days & nights dangerously fatigued but it was an operational zone & for the most part it was operational airspace. On Ellamy we were trucking to/ from the UK in GAT where the civvies' duty rules are a great deal tougher than our own & they'd be less than impressed to discover that they were sharing airspace with tired mil pilots.

The tired old banter of 'pampered brylcream boys' does not match my experiences of today's RAF which has changed radically from the 'Samsonite Warriors' I joined too long ago & if I thought it was written in jest, as good banter should be, I wouldn't have a problem. Trotting out this outdated vitriol to support a carrier agenda or whatever personal chip on the shoulder the individual is trying to push saddens me as the three services should really be working together to preserve some capabilities for the future.

Divided we fall.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 21:12
  #70 (permalink)  
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Ken and Others,

After some reflection I thought I might be able to add something to this thread.

My own experience of the RAF's approach to accommodation on detachments and ops (gained from several deployments with them and a few years at Strike) was that there was a general tendency to push very hard indeed to get the very best deal that could be obtained for their aircrew. In principle, no one could really argue with that, and I will freely admit that there were times that I would have liked my own service (the RN) to have fought as hard to get similar deals for my support teams. I also agree that flight safety is an important factor, and that adequate crew rest is important.

But there have been many times when I have seen the RAF turn down perfectly suitable accommodation, already in use by other services, and demand (and I do mean demand) their 'own' accommodation. The reasons given have been many and various, ranging from 'JSP approved accommodation scales' (used by a visiting F3 unit to refuse using our own air station's accommodation) to 'GASO compliance' all the way to 'flight safety'. Being told that 'your accommodation might be OK for your ratings but it's not good enough for my chaps' and then being invited to sign an RAF 'waiver form' so that the detachment can go and find a 'decent hotel' is not, in my admittedly old fashioned view, a very collegiate way to go about things.

During preparation for one major exercise in the Middle East, I was told that special air conditioning units had to provided for the temporary accommodation being set up. (This finding, incidentally, followed two very well staffed 'recon' visits by HQ staff to the base we were deploying to - a well found and fully operational air station - the cost of these alone was eye watering). This air conditioning, I was told, would be for aircrew only due to cost limits. I enquired why maintainers' accommodation should not benefit from the same treatment - in my view, the flight safety arguments for line personnel working out in the heat all day were just as strong as those for aircrew. I was overruled. Two days in, we received a strong complaint from the deployed aircrew - the noise of the air con units was apparently keeping them awake. You could not make it up. (You also couldn't make up the fact that our aircraft had no bombs for the first three days of the exercise - but we flew the hours anyway, so that was judged to be all right).

I certainly don't propose that people should be made deliberately tired so as to 'practice bleeding' - but I honestly feel that some elements of the RAF ( fast jet aircrew were the ones I encountered - there might be others) were prone to indulge in some selective 'shroud waving' about flight safety to get what they considered to be their rightful benefits. Not nice to watch.

The biggest problem with this attitude is that it costs money that the MoD no longer has. Every pound counts, and the RAF is supposed to be fully equipped and ready to go 'expeditionary'. Like many other contributors to this thread, I find staying in hotels is hard to reconcile with that 'expeditionary' tag. I find the USMC to be a good yardstick for 'expeditionary' ops, but am happy to admit the opinions of others.

By way of contrast, the RAF SH force has often, in my direct experience, shown a strong 'all of one company' ethos, has been ready to operate from truly bare bases to get the job done, and doesn't go out of its way to point out how special it is. That's my view, for what it's worth.

One response to Ken Scott - yes, all three services should be working together. Nice sentiment. I suggest that you relay this sentiment to the RAF Air Officers who have spent the last few years doing their damndest to undermine, delay or plain disobey the clear direction given them by the Government on transfer of assets and joint operations. Oh, and perhaps a public abandonment of 'Project Trenchard' (RAF's objective to gain ownership of all UK military air assets by 2018) might help.

Once again, for the record. I have spent many years working with the RAF and will continue to pay tribute to their professionalism and expertise. I believe in a capable and expeditionary RAF, and do not seek to denigrate it's achievements. But the RAF leadership's determination to become the sole owners of 'air power' by seizing control of Army and Navy assets has done real damage to the UK's efforts to rebalance its forces. I just hope it stops soon.

Best Regards as ever to all those, whatever uniform and in whatever accommodation, actually doing the job in danger's way.

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Old 24th Sep 2012, 22:03
  #71 (permalink)  
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Good post Engines! BZ as you apparently say in the Navy.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 01:59
  #72 (permalink)  
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Libyan mission racked up $11M in hotel bills

A well structured post from Mr Engines. The only point I would take issue with is the part about FJ aircrew being the most precious. It's a great stereotype that everyone loves to believe but in my experience is not wholly accurate (the beauty of freedom of thought- we don't all have to agree). By way of example I offer the following. Cyprus to Thumrait trail involving 5 hours of flying in pretty warm weather. I and my buddies in single seat jets with no autopilot and truckie mates in their mobile petrol stations with galley, toilets etc. Who do you think squinnied about the transit accommodation and got moved to hotels in Limassol? Based on an argument of flight safety and crew rest. The joke of it is that the extra drive will have denied them at least an hours sleep.
Now this may look like I'm having a dig at truckie mates (and we should never really pass up the opportunity) but the reality is that if they managed to wangle a good deal then I say good luck to them. It's a little bit pathetic to act like a spoiled child and shout about how unfair it is. We should just try a little harder to get ourselves a better deal next time.
My final thought is that our biggest bases in theatre have no HOTAC available currently and everyone lives in pretty much the same standard of accommodation. The Libya situation was a short term solution. Tornados and Typhoons can't fly from boats (I say that deliberately) and something needed to be sorted in short order. HOTAC worked. Problem solved.
I think what I'm trying to say is grow up and get over it.

Last edited by Bob Viking; 25th Sep 2012 at 17:05.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 06:54
  #73 (permalink)  
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Enough said. Wise words Bob Viking and Engines. Now drop it!
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 07:14
  #74 (permalink)  
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Flight Safety is an all encompassing term open to many interpretations.
GASO is a Group Air Staff Order. Compliance is not optional.
Either your accommodation on base complied with the GASO or it didn't?
If it didn't, then what you did with your own on base personnel is irrelevant.

Last edited by dalek; 25th Sep 2012 at 07:14.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 07:56
  #75 (permalink)  
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Thanks for coming back. Yes, I know very well where GASOs sit in the scheme of things, but they certainly don't apply to other services' air stations. My point (perhaps not clearly made, for which I apologise) was that turning down perfectly suitable accommodation on the grounds that 'our GASOs allow us to use a hotel' is not, in my view an acceptable way to go about military business. My direction was always to use Service accommodation if it was available - along the lines of 'when in Rome'.

Sadly, that didn't seem to be the case for some ( by no means all) RAF people I have encountered.

By the way, I did not mean to single out the FJ fraternity - as I said, they were the ones I had direct experience of. A couple of years at Strike meant that I heard plenty of stories about other 'badges' but I try to stick to facts.

Best regards as ever

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Old 25th Sep 2012, 08:13
  #76 (permalink)  
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Never quite understood the vitriol about Samsonite suitcases. While they are completely impractical for yomping across the Falklands, they're bloody great at keeping sand and water off your clothes in a 12 x 12 on a Deployed Operating Base!
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 08:25
  #77 (permalink)  
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Hi Engines

A long time since I looked but I don't remember GASO's ever specifying HOTAC or on base.
I do remember them giving preferred minimums or failing that "best available".
For most operations GASO's were modified.
I gave the example of C130 in Gulf 1 and 2.
CDT was extended from 16 to 19 hours. MTOW was upped for some flights from 155 to 175,000lbs.
That was in writing, so authorisers could use these modifications and stay in the clear.
The accommodation requirements were never changed.
Any authorising officer who did not obtain the best available accommodation for his crew, whether on base, or a five star hotel, was a fool.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 10:59
  #78 (permalink)  
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The Queen is inspecting 3 armed forces personnel, one from each of her Services.

She asks each one what they would do if they woke up and found a camel spider in their tent on operations?

The squaddie says, "I'd reach over, grab my bayonet and stab it to death!"

The matelot says, "I'd reach over, grab my boot and batter it to death !"

The airman says, "I'd reach over, pick up my phone, call reception and ask

"Who the f*** has put a tent up in my hotel room?"

(acknowlegments to ARRSE)

Last edited by Red Line Entry; 25th Sep 2012 at 11:00.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 13:06
  #79 (permalink)  
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Speaking of deployments with the mighty 'Rod' and adding to the above. just after 9/11, I well remember operating from a desert base - not far from Carrefor, in recently erected 12 x 12's. They had no windows, no aircon and the daily shower was a do it yourself black bag!

Then, I remember camping out close to the main runway at Thumrait. My body physically shook as the fully tooled up B1's launched at 0300 every morning with full on reheat. No chance of sleeping through those puppies, I can tell you.

I also have to say that the Samsonite was great at keeping out the dust etc. but the whells on mine were never the same after wheeling the thing through 500 yards of sand before arriving at the tent.

Oh and GASOs went out the window. As the FS visitor from HQ STC said at the time. If anyone really wants to complain, we will just re-write GASO's to match real world ops.

Good days......
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 13:38
  #80 (permalink)  
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Who here would seriously prefer living in a tent if they had the chance of a nice hotel bed? If the hotel is an option then form a queue behind me
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