Air Force MSgt. Mandy Mueller, 39th Medical Operations Squadron medical services flight chief, reads a holiday letter on Dec. 11, 2019, at Incirlik AB, Turkey. SSgt. Joshua Magbanua
Photo Caption & Credits


Dec. 2, 2022

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Intelligence Needed

Re: the November article [“Refining the JADC2 Concept,” November, p. 48] the statement, “No one knows what JADC2 is. It’s just completely confusing,” by Derek Tournear head of Space Development Agency. If Derek Tournear doesn’t know what JADC2 is, I certainly don’t. 

However, allow me to make a few observations. First, let us agree that the need for interoperability is paramount. But that need is nothing new. The history of WWII certainly testifies to both joint service and multi-nation operations. Their were some successes and many failures. 

As late as the Vietnam War we were still plagued by interoperability issues especially when it came to joint service close air support. And how many operations were compromised by ARVN forces spying for the Viet Cong?

Words have many meanings and sometimes the absence of a word is just as important. While I’m sure there are intelligence considerations going into the development of the concept, the absence of any mention in its title suggest it may not be given full consideration. I would add a big Capital I to JADC2, i.e. JADC2I and recognize the importance of intelligence and especially Signals Intelligence to battlefield management.      

The history of warfare is replete with the importance of intelligence as a force multiplier. Consider, for example, the role of Ultra in WWII. A more specific example can be found in Operation Teaball during the Korean War where Sigint and operational data were successfully merged to aid command and control.

As you go forward with concept development, I urge you to give due attention to the role intelligence can play.

Lt. Col. Jim Boyce,
USAF (Ret.)
Richardson, Texas

The Eyes Have It

I read with interest Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost’s commentary on Tanker needs because I flew the airplane operationally from 1973, off and on until I retired in 1995. I draw your attention to one portion. She mentioned, as the article states, “… it has to be connected and have some sort of battlespace awareness.” 

Spoiler alert. When I took six tankers to Pisa, Italy, in support of Bosnia in 1993, we were shown a roll-aboard computer that displayed real-time locations of aircraft in the sector. Easy to read display, multi-ranging, and supposedly required minimal training for the nav. And voila!, the battlespace.

I don’t know what aircraft General Van Ovost flew, but it’s nice to know that Transportation Command is on it almost 30 years later. If I remember correctly, and before her time in the seat, someone at Transportation Command thought it a good idea to have a TV camera for the Boomer rather than eyes-on.

Is the KC-46 system EMP-hardened as well as the eye-patch was? I guess you have to be one of us dinos to remember that. And a single seat tanker? Let’s just say I have my doubts. NKAWTG (“Nobody Kicks Ass Without Tanker Gas”)—Nobody. It still holds true.

Col. Arthur E. Cole,  
USAF (Ret)
Brevard, N.C.

So what’s it going to take for the USAF, and more importantly the AMC commander, to realized that the KC-46 is in trouble.

The recent incidents of class A accidents with regards to the boom operation are a fore shadowing of things to come for the stricken KC-46 tanker.

These pages have been full of reports of how this tanker was forced upon the USAF because it was built in America, and how the new boom system has had issues from the start.

Stop production now before we loose a tanker crew or worse.

The saying, “If it’s not Boeing I am not going” no longer applies.

Col. Clarence Romero Jr.,
USAF (Ret.)
Marietta, Ga.

Back Burner

I found many of the articles in the October issue refreshing in what they did not contain.  Absent was any mention of the terms that  frequently appear when Air Force and Space Force leaders voice their priorities.  

I’m talking about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the infamous “DEI” permeating our culture, including the military services. None of these terms were mentioned in the editorial or in the many excerpts and interviews from the Air Space & Cyber Conference. 

The only exception was Undersecretary Gina Ortiz Jones’ call to recruit Chinese-Americans.  But her point was not the need for diversity, it was the need for competence and expertise in the Chinese language. I hope this means that DEI has been put on the “back burner” in the list of Air Force and Space Force leadership priorities. 

When it comes to people, they should choose CCU: Competence, Character, and Unity. And to further our goals of energy conservation—turn the gas off as well.

Col. Dennis Beebe,
USAF (Ret.)
Solvang, Calif. 


Congratulations to Air & Space Forces Magazine, and in particular to author Tobias Naegele, on the series on the Chief of Staffs of the Air Force published over the last three (August-October) issues. 
   [Note: Part four appeared in the November issue.] 

Collectively, the whole series was among the best reporting the magazine has ever put forward:  A thorough, comprehensive, historical review of how each CSAF tackled the challenges they faced and how each sought to implement their vision in an ever-increasing joint environment.  

The challenges were each different, driven by global engagements, budget constraints, and political-cultural influences. Together they shaped the Air Force into what it is today while also doing all they could to preserve the legacy Airmen have built and maintained over the past century.  

As the articles pointed out, some of their ideas were well received, others not so much; some have endured, while many didn’t. To a greater extent, the articles highlighted the challenges every CSAF faced at levels far and above that which 99 percent of the Air Force ever knew about; namely, their advocacy through testimonies to congressional committees and internal debates within DOD on how to present our forces, now and in the future. 

They defined our character, mission, and values—the backbone of the closing lyric in the Air Force Song:  “Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force”. 

Col. Joseph Marchino,
USAF (Ret.)
Liberty, Mo.

Deja Vu

Rudyard Kipling once wrote that the wheel of the world passes through the same phases over and over again, and now I see that this has happened with the Air Force (AFSOC) acquisition of the Sky Warden, at the very point in time that the 6th Special Operations Squadron, the squadron that was built for just such an airplane, has been put on the chopping block.

Long ago, two colleagues and I stood up the 6th SOS following Desert Storm and advocated for just this type of platform for Foreign Internal Defense and other missions (including Armed Overwatch). 

At the time we were told we would not be allowed to acquire such airplanes as the Sky Warden because the Air Force had no need for a gentleman’s flying club or a junkyard Air Force along the lines of the Special Air Warfare Center during the Vietnam War.
Thus, I find considerable irony in the fact that at the very moment the ideal squadron for this airplane and mission is being disestablished, the Air Force and AFSOC finally see the wisdom of alternative technology for such a mission. If your readers are interested in the story of the 6th SOS and the family of aircraft we tried to obtain for the squadron (e.g., the Ayres Vigilante, the forerunner of the Sky Warden) look up “Whither Aviation Foreign Internal Defense?” online and soak in how the U.S. Air Force and USSOCOM denied the tools necessary for the 6th SOS to perform its mission when it was fielded. 

It is true that the 6th SOS got an old November Model UH-1 and some leased Russian aircraft from Ukraine as well as some cast-off aircraft from Europe, but the squadron never got what it really needed because neither the Air Force nor AFSOC nor USSOCOM could think outside their paradigms when it came to air power. I suppose just under 30 years isn’t too long to wise up, but it’s come too late for the 6th SOS.

Col. Wray R. Johnson, Ph.D.,
USAF (Ret.)
Fredericksburg, Va.

Fighting Fighters

I was saddened to read the “Raptor Rebellion” article in the September issue [p. 40]. The Honorable Dale White states that the Raptor was “built in a different era and that the threat has changed and the fight has changed!”

The F-22 is indeed extremely relevant and may be the greatest fighter design and platform. It may be realized that there was/is a developed detailed Total Life Cycle Logistics and Sustainment Plan for the F-22, inclusive of avionics upgrades and improvements with associated relative costs (and margins) over the air-vehicle life. 

Philip L. Smeeton,
USAF (Ret.)
Flower Mound, Texas


Superb accomplishments listed for “Outstanding Airmen of the Year” [September, pp. 68-69]. Completion of four-year degree (if not already possessed), and immediate selection to Officer Training School should be offered Airmen meeting commissioning requirements. Impressive dedication and skills of individuals, as usual for our enlisted members.

Lt. Col. Steven L. Fuzzell, DBA,
USAF (Ret.)
Fleming Island, Fla.