Sequestration will affect force readiness
The four branches of the military delivered another warning to Congress April 18 that a prolonged budget sequester will significantly affect military readiness, and could leave the services unable to carry out defense strategy.
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer told lawmakers sequestration has forced the cancellation of flying hours, the stand-down of nine fighter squadrons and three bomber squadrons — all of which is dealing a direct blow to Air Force readiness.
“The cornerstone of our Airmen’s ability to provide airpower for the nation at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world is their readiness,” Spencer said. “Allowing the Air Force to slip to a lower state of readiness…will negate the essential strategic advantage of airpower and put the joint forces at increased risk,” he said.
He pointed out the threat to the Air Force’s current state of readiness is a two-fold problem with decades of sustained combat operations and the current fiscal situation facing the forces.
Sequestration has already forced the Air Force to induct 60 less airplanes and 35 less engines into its depots as well as cut 200,000 flying hours in the last six months of this fiscal year that led to some squadrons to stop flying.
He pointed out that the lack of depot maintenance matched by the stand-down of aircraft threatens readiness in the same way that letting an old car sit untouched in a garage would.”At home, I have a 1972 Monte Carlo and because it’s old, I have to start that car at least once and get the transmission and everything working or it won’t run very well,” Spencer said.
Eighteen Air Nation Guard personnel responded to the Boston Marathon bombing. The Airmen secured hundreds of citizens’ personal belongings as well as provided local emergency responders with communication capabilities such as computers, web access and telephones.
Three Air Force veterans spoke to dozens of Airmen April 18 at Hurlburt Field, marking the 71st anniversary of when they and fellow Airmen turned the tide of the U.S. war effort. Retired Lt. Cols. Richard Cole and Edward Saylor and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher served alongside 77 fellow U.S. Army Air Corps Airmen taking off in 16 B-25s in the April 18, 1942, bombing over Japan known as the Doolittle Raid.
Master Sgt. Ernest Harrison, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron transportation management office superintendent, saved the Air Force $348,571.73 when he found a misplaced 50-ton U-30 aircraft tow tractor that wasn’t accounted for. AFCENT was in the process of ordering a new U-30 but canceled the order after Harrison found the U-30.
Members of the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight at Andersen Air Force Base hosted a beach cleanup at Tarague Beach April 21 in commemoration of Earth Day. Volunteers collected seven truckloads of trash, most of which were recyclable plastic materials.