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OP 'TIL WE DROP

Old 8th Dec 2014, 22:58
  #141 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Age: 48
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The staff sergeants on aarse will crack on regardless in their toxic endeavour against anything that doesn't dig-in. Truth is the army have a very small number of Coy minus contingency ops (SF aside) whilst the RN and RAF has a significant, current and future op role that matches political intent. Comical army plans to send brigades around the world are matched with politicians saying f##k off you lunatics look what you did the last two times. You have to go back to 97 for the last year the RAF were not doing 'warheads on foreheads'. Cheese sandwich issues aside we know our business; but will winge as per SOP....
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 00:01
  #142 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: bristol
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London eye
I think most service personnel are fine with calls or letters home
A letter directly to Mark urban an from a named RAF sergeant isn't perhaps very wise. I assume the Air Force have a policy about writing directly to members of the media and this letter doesn't fit with that.
ISIS will have been very happy to hear the strength of available aircraft though!
I doubt they were overly bothered about the fact that ONE meal during one shift pattern wasn't hot though.

Look on the bright side though, if Typhoon 93 had asked how many fully capable aircraft were at Gib then all hell would have broken loose, with folks asking if he needed to know (walls have ears and all that)

Still, the idea of NO hot food is the main headline grabber here............and no one is asking how the curry and rice from the rat packs was heated !
Do we know if everyone on those shifts were eating cold food, if rat packs could be heated so could other food.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 00:24
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Comical army plans to send brigades around the world are matched with politicians saying f##k off you lunatics look what you did the last two times.
Ahh, yes, this Adaptive Brigades nonsense; subalterns and SNCOs planning STTTs to the back of beyond without clearing it through Mil Strat Plans, and local Foreign Johnnies thinking that every English-speaking person finishes every sentence with an interrogative 'yeah?' and that the most common adjective is 'f*cking'.

Training teams pitching up in said 'back of beyond' without the necessary clearances from the receiving state and the DA and his team having to run around in circles squaring it with the local Interior and Foreign Ministries.

What could possibly go f*cking wrong, yeah?
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 08:05
  #144 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Outbound
Posts: 578
Originally Posted by this_easy_life
My terms and conditions that I signed up to have been altered beyond all recognition, I wasn't told that my entire career would be ops in the Middle East...
Originally Posted by melmothtw
If you joined up before 11/09/2001 then who knew to inform you? If you joined up after, then it wouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to have guessed where you'd be spending most of your time.
Melmothtw, when easy says the bit in bold above, I interpret it differently. I don't believe he was naive enough to assume that he wouldn't see some sort of operational time in the ME; anyone who joined within the 21st century has very little excuse in that sense.

However, I don't think any of us thought that our entire careers would be nothing but op deployments and training for them. Perhaps, like me and my peers, easy thought he might get the chance for the occasional tour off the front line. Maybe an instructional job. Maybe an out of branch tour, or something different like recruiting?

I have peers who've moved for the past 4-8 years through 3 or 4 separate Tornado squadrons, sometimes bouncing from one that's just returned from HERRICK to one that's just about to start the workup. One colleague is 32 months into a GR4 tour. He's spent 16 months at Kandahar, 3 months at Gioia supporting ELLAMY, and is now into a stint at Aki on SHADER. Counting a couple of weeks here and there on exercises etc, he's been away for something like 21 months out of a 32 month tour.

What waits after this tour? Probably another GR4 tour, maybe as a QWI, and more of the same, with just 3 FL sqns to cover the load.

People joined up to go on ops, sure. But I don't know anyone who joined up to spend 2 years out of a 3 year tour on ops. That's fine if you're a young, enthusiastic 19 year old, maybe, but when the training system's so broken we have 30 year old first tourists, it's not entirely reasonable. People have a right to a life, a family, the chance to live normally, and that level of deployment doesn't allow it.

If things had been managed better, maybe we'd still have 5 or even 7 front line GR4 squadrons handling HERRICK/ELLAMY/SHADER, plus the small det to Africa. Then it wouldn't be the same people over and over again, both aircrew and groundcrew. There should be enough people to stick to harmony rules. There should be enough people to allow everyone varied careers. When 6 out of 8 of your colleagues looking at postings are getting extended or otherwise shafted by Manning, it's clear we don't have enough people.

And yes, some people, even within spitting distance of IPP, do vote with their feet. I'm sure that with the sort of deployment burden II(AC) have had, a crap cheese sandwich would have been the final straw for me!
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 13:05
  #145 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Asia Pacific
Age: 50
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I can't really foment from the perspective of the anonymous sergeant in Cyprus as I have never served on a Tornado squadron.

I have served on several Chinook squadrons, and as ex-aircrew I would say this:

The Chinook engineers have been constantly deployed since 1982; and lived for extended periods in every kind of sh1thole - tents, barns, 4 tonners, the back of the aircraft and bombed out office blocks - KAF/AKT are actually a huge and recent level of improvement.

They deliver the goods every time; whether it's -25 and snowing sideways or +50, outside of the wire recovering a down bird in Musa Qala or on a grey funnel carrier for months. They take pride in what they do, because they understand the importance of what they do - right down to regularly sluicing blood out the back of the IRT aircraft.

They have, as they have always had, my enduring respect. I can't help thinking they would have done what they have always done and got on with it, laughed off the cheese roll, grumbled a bit, as we all do, and then nicked lunch from one of the aircrew.

My only point concerns the fact that they wear the same blue suit as the Tornado guys, but don't feel as 'special'; possibly because they are closer to the guy on the ground and the guys on the aircraft, appreciate the bigger picture and realise they are in the military.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 13:29
  #146 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: somerset
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Just to qualify Melmothw you're saying that anybody who joined after 9/11 should expect to spend most of their time on ops in the ME for the next 10 years?
My actual point that you highlighted was about terms of service however. A flying pay change for the worse, two pension changes for the worse and an extension of service of two years to qualify for a pension in 11 years... Although I suppose if I joined up after 9/11 I should have guessed they would happen too should I?

5 forward 6 back thanks for your post that is exactly one of the points I was making.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 13:33
  #147 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Working at night on shift is very tiring, time passes slowly and you need a meal break to break the monotony. If you had your last hot meal at 1800 prior to starting your shift and the only prospect is breakfast at 0700 then I can assure you after a week or so patience runs thin! Also between 0200 and 0500 your body clock wants to go to sleep, an uplift of sugar is required, mistakes can be made and whether you are in a rotary wing or fixed it can be fatal to the crew, and they expect the ground crew fit and able to do a good job. I am sure that the galley on a ship never shuts and the army always have equipment to make a hot meal. If you have never worked a night shift for an extended period, please don't slag people off for complaining about lack of hot food!
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 13:56
  #148 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Whilst agreeing in general with minigundioplomat I am sure that when the chips (no pun) are down the Tornado guys/girls would respond in exactly the same way as their colleagues in the Chinook fleet. What we are talking about here is a Main Operating Base that has been in existence for god knows how many years. Akrotiri is hosting a small detachment of Tornadoes engaged in operations, the whole station should be focused on supporting these people and making their job as easy as possible. Regrettably over the years Akrotiri has acquired a reputation of treating transients and detachments as an inconvenience, to be tolerated, as they will soon go away. Perhaps Air command should consider detaching MCSU (or their modern equivalent) in support of the Tornadoes if Akrotiri cant cope. Then we would probably be getting letters from "disgruntled of Akrotiri" complaining about the high standard of food the MCSU are dishing out whilst the permanent residents are eating crap.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 14:26
  #149 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: in my combat underpants
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I have served on several Chinook squadrons, and as ex-aircrew
If everyone was as special as you once were, then you'd not have been so special would you?

I've worked with rotary, FJ, transport and EW fleets. Each is different and each attracts a different sort of person, both to operate and support. It's like the RN, Army & RAF having different roles, cultures and therefore appeal to different people. We can't all be winged gods but, amazingly, not everyone wants the same thing.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 14:38
  #150 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Asia Pacific
Age: 50
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Whoa there Chincock,

Wind back the inferiority handle and read my post again.

Nice work fitting in all those types; you look like you get moved on regularly.....
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 17:27
  #151 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Haltonapp, you have got it in one.... Plus trying to sleep in the daytime in a world full of noise.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 20:30
  #152 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Outbound
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Originally Posted by minigundiplomat
The Chinook engineers have been constantly deployed since 1982; and lived for extended periods in every kind of sh1thole - tents, barns, 4 tonners, the back of the aircraft and bombed out office blocks - KAF/AKT are actually a huge and recent level of improvement.

They deliver the goods every time; whether it's -25 and snowing sideways or +50, outside of the wire recovering a down bird in Musa Qala or on a grey funnel carrier for months. They take pride in what they do, because they understand the importance of what they do - right down to regularly sluicing blood out the back of the IRT aircraft.
MGD, referring to my earlier post; there are plenty of fleets who have had lengthy, enduring periods on ops, but nowadays it's unprecedented. Yes, Chinooks have been away somewhere pretty much every year since 1982, and the Tornado GRs since 1991; but at those times, there were so many more people.

I think we had in the region of 10 Tornado squadrons in the mid-90s (2, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 27, 31, 45, 617...?) to service deployments. Even when they first did HERRICK, the GR4 force had 7 squadrons to share the load (2, 9, 12, 13, 14, 31, 617) with bolstering from the OCU.

Now, the GR4 soldiers on with 3 squadrons. Less than half the number of crews as the start of HERRICK, and with ELLAMY, Africa and SHADER all rearing their heads before HERRICK properly finished.

It's not being continuously on ops, it's being continuously on ops with such a small force that each individual is on ops much more. That's why I don't give credence to the "didn't they join up to go on ops?" argument; yes they did, but not constantly with nothing else and no respite! I gave the example of my colleague who's now on his 22nd month away in 32. While the Chinook force as a whole may have been fighting various wars since 1982, I'd warrant that it's only within the last 3-4 years that they've been cut so much they've started hitting this level of deployment; which is why they're being struck with so many PVRs!

Likewise the GR4 guys. I work with ex-GR4 navs who are thoroughly hacked off at the prospect of being dragged back to see the jet out of service, knowing how few people they are and how overstretched they are.

When you PVR, it lets you list your top 4 reasons for leaving. I wonder how many people in the last 3 years have put "overstretch and operational commitments" at the top?
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 21:09
  #153 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 10,816
Does the RAF not have any Norwiegens?

Night shift with a REME workshop we always got fed. Yes it was all in stew, curry or chicken in unidentifiable white sauce and rice/spuds. MAybe not the hottest meal in the world but it was a carb and protein boost.

And if that wasn't going one of the staff's would be promoted to slop jockey and make something up.

The boss would even cook some nights as he put it I more use doing this than sitting on my arse in the office pushing paper.


We also made a pasty oven with sheet metal and bodged a burner that ran off the acetylene bottle with an air hose from the hanger pump not to waste the o2. it was officially called the welding rod pre heater.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 21:57
  #154 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: UK sometimes
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Yes, there are some RAF Units (not necessarily flying units) that deploy can/do indulge in quite a bit of 'self help'. I suppose the question is, being on an MOB should these guys have to?
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 22:26
  #155 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Asia Pacific
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5 Fwd, 6 Back,

Appreciate the points and understand to a degree. However, it's not going to improve this side of never.... This is a clear choice of accepting the eroded T's & C's of the UK military, accepting it's somewhere between the air cadets and Burkina Faso in terms of funding and support, or trying ones luck in industry.

I don't remember 'trial by dear Deirdre' as a method of leadership, change or law within the UK Armed Forces.
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Old 9th Dec 2014, 22:40
  #156 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
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At a REME second line workshop we did self help.

It was just something we were used to doing. If it was a choice between going hungry or sorting something more civilized out it would get sorted. Hell we even had showers and a hot water bowser rigged up so the boys could get a shower before going back to there scratchers and not have to go near the ablutions in the mad morning rush and get dicked to clean them.
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Old 22nd Dec 2014, 16:56
  #157 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: with the wife
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The Minister of State, Mark Francois MP, gave this "holding answer" to a PQ by Defence Committee member Madeleine Moon MP: (Quote taken from 'TheyWorkForYou.com')


As of 16 December 2014, the number of personnel on night shift at RAF Akrotiri was 238; 103 of these are deployed on Op SHADER. Op SHADER deployed personnel are provided with: a dinner meal in the early evening; a choice between a hot container meal or a cold packed meal during the night; and a breakfast meal on completion of duty. During the early stages of Op SHADER, a late supper was additionally provided. However, at the request of the Op SHADER personnel, this option was changed in favour of either cold packed meals or hot container meals for consumption at their place of work. Personnel deployed on OP SHADER receive their meals at Crown expense. Non Op SHADER personnel have the option of cold packed meals during the night shift but are required to order in advance and pay for them in accordance with the Pay as You Dine contract.

The catering management at RAF Akrotiri for armed forces personnel is provided though the Cyprus Multi-Activity Contract (CMAC) awarded by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to Sodexo. At RAF Akrotiri, Sodexo offers three core meals per day and covers a period of 0600-1930 hrs daily. This period has been recently extended to assist with Op SHADER. The MOD mandates that the catering provision conforms with a number of standards, including stipulating the requirement for a balanced diet, an appropriate number of choices and calorific values.

RAF Akrotiri has extensive retail catering outlets, including a Maxi Costcutter Store, clubs, cafes and leisure outlets, which are available to all personnel including single, married and operational personnel. Opening hours of individual outlets vary between 0600-2230 hrs from Monday to Sunday.
Hmmm. So what were the late supper arrangements during the early stages - a cheese sarny perhaps? .. and how "recently" was the contract's period of cover extended? Sometime after the 5th December (when the issue first reared its head) perhaps?? That statement smacks of a damage limitation exercise. The spin doctors have taken 11 days to concoct an anus covering "all is rosy in the garden, nothing to see, move on" facade that is less than convincing!

Last edited by 4mastacker; 22nd Dec 2014 at 17:02. Reason: added acknowledgement for source of quote
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Old 22nd Dec 2014, 19:27
  #158 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: somerset
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I can tell you straight away from very recent experience that the line about op shader meals being at crown expense is an utter lie. I have a bill as proof...
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Old 23rd Dec 2014, 13:36
  #159 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: UK
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From feedback I have heard, there is allegedly a free option at each meal the practicality is somewhat different.
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Old 23rd Dec 2014, 22:15
  #160 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: England
Posts: 924
Navy chefs were good lads (and good women).

Always put a "night flyers" meal on for us onboard the CVS. Hot meal, sometimes the leftovers from the main meal, but sometimes pie chips and beans. Or similar. But hot. Then a cup of tea, fag or small cigar in my case, back to work......not rocket science.
But always appreciated by me.
Is it true hundreds of RAF groundcrew died in WW2 from illness brought about by working generally at night in Winter on aircraft out in the sticks in the airbases of Bomber Command?
Lot to relearn, every generation finds this.
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