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Next CAS

Old 19th Mar 2023, 22:05
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Originally Posted by sedburgh
I stand corrected, Wigston is No. 30, so come in number 30, your time is up!

FB
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Old 20th Mar 2023, 15:01
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As Teeteringhead said AM Turner left shortly after the unfortunate incident:

RAF Senior Appointments

31 May 2022

Air Marshal R J Knighton CB to be Deputy Commander Capability, Headquarters Air Command and Air Member for Personnel and Capability in May 2022 in succession to Air Marshal A M Turner CB CBE who is retiring from the Service.

As as an interested taxpayer I am curious about the unanswered question posed above by FB 'Isn't Air Marshal Mayhew still in the line up?' It seems odd that a highly experienced and capable VSO who has held two different AFB posts should be apparently twiddling his thumbs for 5 months.
Last public announcement appears to have been:

11 August 2022

Air Vice Marshal H Smyth CB OBE DFC to be promoted Air Marshal and to be Deputy Commander Operations, Headquarters Air Command and Air Member for Operations with effect from 26 August 2022 in succession to Air Marshal Sir Gerry Mayhew KCB CBE whose next appointment is yet to be announced.




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Old 20th Mar 2023, 16:40
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I'd heard that AM Mayhew is on secondment to industry. Mind you if his line managers have been content to sign off leave carry-overs in excess of 15 days throughout his starred career then he could easily have been on leave this whole time!
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 13:22
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AM Rich Knighton

I realise Iím in no place to comment, since I never did any Ops, but how the hell do you get to the rank of AM and only have a row of jubilee medals and an LSGCM to show for your efforts?! Add that to the fact he had no flying badge of any description and Iím sorry to say I donít see how the hell he could be considered to lead the Air Force!

BV

I had no pretension to be an AM so my lowly rack of 5 (chocolate) medals matters not.
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 13:50
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking
I realise I’m in no place to comment, since I never did any Ops, but how the hell do you get to the rank of AM and only have a row of jubilee medals and an LSGCM to show for your efforts?! Add that to the fact he had no flying badge of any description and I’m sorry to say I don’t see how the hell he could be considered to lead the Air Force!

BV

I had no pretension to be an AM so my lowly rack of 5 (chocolate) medals matters not.
Some years back, a retired Air Commodore called Henry Probert, wrote a book called High Ranking Officers of the RAF, he covered CAS' and other notable very senior RAF officers, with a short biography of each. When he got to the last one he was able to cover at the time of the book being ready for publishing, he observed that MRAF Sir David Craig, was not bedecked with medals like his predecessors. He predicted at the time that this would be far more regular among future CAS' as the withdrawal from former outposts of Empire and the stale mate of the cold war had negated the opportunities for serving officers to gain combat experience, just as those before Craig had. Even though Craig had flown everything from Meteors to Vulcans, that was the one constant, all had backgrounds as operational pilots, but with air combat experience which Craig had missed, except, of course, for the very first three or four, who were pioneer military pilots. But who's frontline military experience was forged in the Army or Navy.

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Old 21st Mar 2023, 14:54
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FB

The big difference is that AM Knighton has served during Gulf War 1, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Gulf War 2, Sierra Leone, Ebola, Mali, Syria (I may have missed something!). Youíd think he might have made an appearance in a theatre of operations before looking to take charge of and lead a fighting force. How much of an understanding of air power can he really have?

BV
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 17:14
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking
The big difference is that AM Knighton has served during Gulf War 1, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Gulf War 2, Sierra Leone, Ebola, Mali, Syria (I may have missed something!). Youíd think he might have made an appearance in a theatre of operations before looking to take charge of and lead a fighting force. How much of an understanding of air power can he really have?

BV
Normally I would agree but whoever is selected can hardly do a worse job than the current, beribboned pilot
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 19:55
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking
The big difference is that AM Knighton has served during Gulf War 1, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Gulf War 2, Sierra Leone, Ebola, Mali, Syria (I may have missed something!). Youíd think he might have made an appearance in a theatre of operations before looking to take charge of and lead a fighting force. How much of an understanding of air power can he really have?

BV
From first hand observations, more than some of his peers.
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 21:08
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Many on here simply cannot comprehend how broken the RAF is; a despised CAS, broken infra, pensions push (perceived or real), and don’t start on the stupidity of selection to join..
The RAF needs its claws, (Ops), and it needs to grow, (Cap), but more than anything it needs leadership, and whilst everyone says they’re a leader, they don’t quite get the difference of leadership by rank, and leadership by ability.
At this moment in time, we need a people person, backed up by two solid AMs. AM Knighton is the best of the bunch, and being non-badged he actually has a track record in leadership. The badged had it all to play for, they just didn’t have a spine when it was required.
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 21:52
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Medals mean very little when considering a leader right now. Some people with a chest full were “medal collectors” back in the day. Others earned them. Others did exceptionally well back in the uk ‘off ops’.
Its the person, not the outer shell, we need.
To be honest, I like all of the candidates
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 22:07
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+1 to Atlasisrubbish. There are many profound problems facing the RAF but successful leadership and delivery of operations is not one of them. In fact the front line groups have rather shown that they will churn out results to the best of their ability regardless of how much of a mess CAS and his cronies are making of the wider organisation. So, the next CAS does not need to be an operator; they need to be someone with experience of acquisition, programming/finance, HR, in-service support, logistics... all the things that need unf*cking and fast. Wiggy appeared to be utterly clueless on all of the above (unsurprisingly, when you look at his CV). RK fits the bill perfectly.
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 23:10
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There are a few folks on here that forget that Engineering Officers deployed to manage aircraft engineering in support of Balkan and Middle East ops often didn’t get campaign medals. Certainly the Yugoslavia and Kosovo gongs, which often needed 90+ days on det in those days but did not qualify by being sent for 2 months each shift on a squadron rotation. He certainly served supporting front-line ops as a JEngO and SEngO, he just didn’t get the time in I guess to get the bling. Still, he does have a nice KCB (and gongs prior to that) for his sterling efforts in various commands, to add to his Long Gong and Jubilee medals - much more than many of us.

Oh, and I agree with many on here - he is the right person for the RAF right now after the recent chaotic years that many would like to forget!
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Old 21st Mar 2023, 23:30
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Bob, you surprise me. You are normally a man of sage consideration, rather than hackneyed tropes. CAS is not the warfighter, thatís the job of DCom Ops. CAS is there to provide the strategic guidance for the whole organisaton. In a future that will be driven by cyber, uncrewed aircraft, autonomous lethality and (as ever) politics, I really donít care whether our CAS has previously put his own pink body into an aircraft to fly in a previous conflict.

Öand donít start me on the fact that most aircrew only get to command significant numbers of people when they get to wg cdr. Engineers do that from day one!
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 03:24
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Red Line Entry
Bob, you surprise me. You are normally a man of sage consideration, rather than hackneyed tropes. CAS is not the warfighter, that’s the job of DCom Ops. CAS is there to provide the strategic guidance for the whole organisaton. In a future that will be driven by cyber, uncrewed aircraft, autonomous lethality and (as ever) politics, I really don’t care whether our CAS has previously put his own pink body into an aircraft to fly in a previous conflict.

…and don’t start me on the fact that most aircrew only get to command significant numbers of people when they get to wg cdr. Engineers do that from day one!
...and that seems to me exactly where any respect for the candidate is won or lost.

There is no doubt that when an individual has demonstrably done the job, fulfilled the task, and knows what it is to serve in subordinate roles, they will garner the respect of their current subordinates and peers.

Not only that, they will have carried that respect throughout the time that they climb the greasy pole. In my experience, they, who through their diligence, ethics, skill, man management and leadership, become the "go to" person when things go pear shaped, tend to exhibit a firm, confident and inspiring hand on the tiller.

In todays world, as ever, we are war fighting, if someone is to lead from the front, then they need to be a war fighter, strategically, tactically and with a massive understanding of what is needed to win.

IG
I have no claim to fame in this regard but I always cared about the guys I lead.

Last edited by Imagegear; 22nd Mar 2023 at 06:57.
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 07:55
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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RLE

I take your point and I accept what you say. CAS is more of a political and strategic job and the war fighting is something for other Air Officers to take charge of.

I still have a niggling feeling though, that if I were still serving and was charged to fly into badlands at considerable risk to myself I would prefer that the person that had fought our corner at the highest levels had a little more understanding of Air Power. Seeing Knighton and AVM Maria Byford, as another example, as VSOs who clearly have no operational experience of Air Power taking positions at the top of the RAF just seems weird.

The same conversation was had regarding non aircrew Stn Cdrs. We can argue all day long about which trade makes the best leaders but I will struggle to accept that someone who does not fly can really fully understand the raisin díetre of the RAF.

In my twilight years of my service (ie last year) I felt increasingly that aircrew (by that I mean pilots because that was my job) were becoming marginalised and made to feel unimportant. Maybe that will become even more so as time progresses.

You can say Iím wrong but that was how it felt. And letís be honest. When all is said and done you still need aircrew (for the foreseeable future) to climb aboard an aircraft and fly to bad places. Maybe we should care how they feel. Maybe they are happier following the direction of someone who has a good understanding of that. Or we can just ignore them and let them all leave. We just better hurry up and automate all their jobs before itís too late.

BV
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 11:23
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Many on here simply cannot comprehend how broken the RAF is; a despised CAS, broken infra, pensions push (perceived or real), and don’t start on the stupidity of selection to join..
The RAF needs its claws, (Ops), and it needs to grow, (Cap), but more than anything it needs leadership, and whilst everyone says they’re a leader, they don’t quite get the difference of leadership by rank, and leadership by ability.
At this moment in time, we need a people person, backed up by two solid AMs. AM Knighton is the best of the bunch, and being non-badged he actually has a track record in leadership. The badged had it all to play for, they just didn’t have a spine when it was required.
I agree with this 100%


Also agree BV. Station Commanders of any station with a flying unit should be aircrew; that said, there are some excellent engineers and ground trades capable of leading non-flying units. I say that as someone who spent a great deal of time at Odiham, where half the station (Squadrons & Engineers, JHSU)was on a march or die tempo of deployments, and the other half managed to make being deployed to Herrick more attractive than being at home.
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 14:12
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BV,

The one trade which is beyond the scope is Dental Officer, and a few others that similarly sit outside the core aim.

FB
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 14:46
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Hand - eye coordination is no measure of leadership……..
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 15:07
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BUS

I absolutely agree with you. But the one metric that I believe should be applied when deciding the leader of the Air Arm of the British Military is an intimate knowledge of the use and application of Air Power allied to a decent understanding of our airborne platforms. Any aircrew officer would understand that (I do not believe they need to come from FJs) but I struggle to see how an engineering Officer can fully understand the application of Air Power.

I realise Mike Wigston was a terrible example of the benefits of a pilot as CAS but what happens when our new CAS finds himself in a meeting with a foreign Air Force chief and he is questioned on his inventory. Does he turn to his PSO to ask the load out of a Typhoon, or the range/endurance of an Atlas or the load carrying capacity of a Puma?

I know thatís a slightly glib way of putting it but can you see my point?

I will agree with you that an Engineering Officer will likely possess some brilliant leadership and management capabilities. I will always struggle to believe they can be credible as the leader of a military air arm.

BV

Edited to add: itís not really any of my business any more and I will be absolutely delighted to be proven wrong. You are more than welcome to rub my nose in it when recruitment, retention, morale, capability, budgets and the non-proliferation of never-ending bullsh1t are all sorted within the next three years.

Last edited by Bob Viking; 22nd Mar 2023 at 15:21.
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Old 22nd Mar 2023, 15:54
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I suppose the most prominent example from history of an inexperienced, certainly, but successful top military leader was General Eisenhower.

FB
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