Saturday, 25 March 2017

"Doc"

With the comments that came up over General Flynn in the past couple of days....this brought back all these images and memories of incompetence among general officers.

At some point after I retired, but continued to work as a contractor to the Air Force....we had this four-star general who descended upon Ramstein. "Doc" Foglesong.

There is hardly a week that would pass when you'd sit there for five to ten minutes in amazement at some weird directive which came out of the headquarters.

He had twelve programs which became the primary joke that airman discussed for days, weeks and months.

At the top of thee special programs....was Combat Proud.  This was a base beautification situation.  Fences that didn't meet some particular scale of acceptance were torn down.  In some cases....fences which had been only up for five years....were torn down.  Beauty became this topic and people began to question who held the key to beauty.

During the first year of existence, I'd take a guess that almost every airman and junior NCO on base was spending a minimum of four hours a week in some Combat Proud task.

At some point....painting white rocks came into the vogue, and a month later....it was deemed 'non-beauty' and the rocks had to be picked up and thrown away.

Staff meetings in squadrons always had tasks listed for the commander to assess if they were all doing enough to meet high expectations.  Lt's and Captains were walking around on Friday to analyze and determine accomplishments.....so they could be measured on various slides for Monday.

Combat Nighthawk was another program started by "Doc".  This was supposed to be this deal where junior officers on night shift....were to meet up with senior NCOs on night-shift, and there would be sharing of experiences.  They would get into a truck....as night descended, and just drive around.

I asked a junior Captain about this once.  Basically, he noted that they spent four hours in a some truck one evening.  I asked....what was the conversation.  Well...he said....they basically talked on the Dallas Cowboys....they were both from Texas.  For four hours?  Yeah....they went over the Roger Staubach days and recounted various players.

I'm not sure if this was an exchange that "Doc" wanted....but it was better than talking four hours of nothing.

Combat Education was another "Doc" invention.  For years, the base education center on each base handled education requirements.  "Doc" woke up one day and felt that he wanted to emphasize this more.  So they invented this program, and put the title above their newsletters or emails.  Nothing much changed....just that "Doc" got credit for something that had been going on for years.

Then came Combat Touch.  It was the wrong title and it conveyed something of an arousing nature.  It was supposed to be a program for Chaplains.....to bring spiritual needs and well-being to airmen and their families.

The program itself had existed for decades, but "Doc" made it his program.

The big problem came about twelve months into this when "Doc" wanted TV advertising fixed up for AFN.  60 and 30 second commercials.

Army guys started to laugh when this 'combat' word came up in the advertising.  Drinking games were created....a shot when the 'combat' advertisement started, and each time the voice uttered 'combat'.  Typically, it'd be a minimum of four times in a 30-second ad.  Over a four-hour period on Saturday evening?  You could have 'combat' require you to consume 20 shots....if the ad's were lined up for an Air Force evening.

The thing is....all of these existed in some form, prior to 'Doc', and all reverted back to some normal scheme after he left.

Doc's next two jobs?  He settled into a Mississippi university for two years, and then kinda got enough people upset enough....that he left.  After that, he ended up with some energy company for a year or two....that had serious write-up handed down by the gov't over safety practices.  

It was a period where you began to assess the competency of officers, and realized that a fair number of them were not capable of leading people.  It wasn't about their degree, past background, or previous jobs....these were people who just weren't competent and lacked common sense.

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