L-188, you should ask a few E-3 and tanker crews about the "advantage" at the end of a duty day, after three shifts of fighters have rotated through. It's nice for the Pilots to be able to "switch off the controls" between the AC
, but there is still only one of each, P/CP/FE/BO. Trust me, the Fighter guys get taken care of in their own little world.
Elisabete, first of all, you said he just returned from a one year deployment? I do not doubt your integrity; however, the only remote-short tours (1 Year) for AF
officers in OIF currently are for command level personnel (some SQ
/CC's and up) and planners/staff. Neither of which are active flying slots, only attached. If he is a Fighter Pilot, and was in an active flying slot, his tour length was 120 days, and with a Dec return date, it was after the primary air offensive in both OIF and OEF. This makes a world of difference, because if you read the articles, and from my personal experience, quoted "Go pills" are only authorized for single-seat aircraft missions of more than eight hours, and dual-place aircraft missions of more than 12 hours.
. The ops tempo during this time in OIF for fighters makes 8 hour sorties very rare, and fly-turn-fly's extremely rare, which mean he should have had plenty of time to "decompress" after a flightline stint. If he was staff or a planner, or not a pilot, he was taking them of his own fruition, which directly constitutes substance abuse. The problem you mentioned previously is one the reasons we do rotations, not extended tours, in the AOR's. Also, the USAF
makes a HUGE differentiation between someone they "catch", and someone who self identifies. That is an issue of integrity, and that is how Uncle Sam views it.
I don't take it personally; however, it is an extremely typical civilian response. To roughly quote an old saying, "For those that defend it, Freedom has a taste the protected will never know". This is one of those times. The military operates under a completely different mindset than the civilian sector. First of all, there is no draft. No one held a gun to his head to force him to a Commission, no one threatened his life to complete pilot training, and no one held him hostage to seek a fighter assignment, and no one challenged his Honor to take the pills or remain on flying status. He made choices to get there, and as a member of the US Armed forces, he must be held accountable for his choices. If he is addicted to a substance, he has lost control of his body, so how can he be trusted with the control of someone else? Should we reward him for not stepping up and admitting he was in over his head? I am not condoning the individual actions of the Government, which are some times misguided, but a basic trust of the underlying system is what constitutes the foundation of Honor and Integrity. I am one who has paid a king's ransom for a misguided moment with Uncle Sam. I (along with the entire crew) was punished under Article 15 of the UCMJ (better known as non-judicial punishment) for an infraction committed by an Aircraft Commander involving a travel voucher. No harm was done, and no malicious intent was at play, but for the fact that we did not stop the action, I received 60 days of additional duty, forfeiture of some pay, and all hopes of ever making E-8 or E-9 destroyed. In a civilian court I would have been acquitted in a heartbeat, but in the military, I got what I deserved for violating my integrity, even for a fraction of a second. Do you think that any troops I lead in the future will second guess my integrity because I violated a basic principal, admitted it, and paid for it; or do you think they would if I hid it and got away with it? As foreign as that may sound, it is a real and serious question for someone who can and may make life or death decisions over another person. This is simply the world Military personnel live in, and for whatever reason you choose it, you chose it freely. "oh, please, let us get real and cut the BS......
I agree, it's a raw deal when you get caught in a catch 22, however, never but never forget, The DoD doesn't owe you ANYTHING, the American People pay the debt by proxy of a volunteer force to those of us who earn freedom daily, so if you don't like the policy, change the government through the appointed methods, or get out.