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Elite Fighter Squadrons?

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
You want to know the definition of elite? Elite is how guys on AW can take a simple query and, in less time than a Delta Force/SEAL Team Six guy can tie a square knot, twist and turn that thing into a nearly meaningless pile of goo! You guys are the best of the best...but AW will make you better.

25944
 

HAL Pilot

Well-Known Member
None
Contributor
Here's an elite fighter pilot making a move that the reporter thinks is "cool" and "phenomenal"....

It was a good move, but not for the reason the reporter thinks.

Starts about a minute in.

 

ChiccinTendies

New Member
There are some very specialized fixed wing units that can fly most every airframe in the US military, but they aren’t a Navy unit. The Army and Air Force officer manning structure lends itself to supporting a unit like that much more so than the Navy.
So, are you talking about AFSOC? Maybe I shouldn't pry too much.
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
OP, you are way over thinking this. First of all, the Flying Tigers were contractors and hardly “elite” pilots. Greg Boyington, nor any other member had any air-to-air kills before they got to China. Typically individual pilots earn “elite” status as individuals...so many carrier landings, schools, earning experience. They in turn share their experience with younger squadron members. As for the 160th (and I have spent time with them) their training in night flying training is what makes them “elite.” They train in specific skills that SOF units need, but these days most combat-focused helicopter squadrons/battalions can carry out the work...just not with the specialized equipment the SOAR guys have. Even with SOAR, guys they do their time, get their training, and eventually head back out to the ordinary force. Put simply, I’d rather have 100 elite guys spread across several squadrons than one elite squadron.
In my (very limited) experience, this goes for SOF in general . . . often overlooked in the whole "ZOMG SOF how badass" thing is that they're not there to just be "more-badass" versions of regular infantry. They have specific mission sets that aren't the same as Army or Marine infantry. The whole point of "special" operations is to do different, unique, specialized tasks for COCOMs and the NCA. Just like any other military unit, their structure and training are driven by their ROCPOE . . . Required Operational Capabilities and Projected Operational Environment. Which includes a list of specified tasks the unit is expected to accomplish, which determines their manning and training requirements. And there's your doctrine geekery of the day. 🤓

Also, with regards to squadrons, think of it this way. You can sequester your patch-wearers into one unit, where you'll have a bunch of (usually) very talented and up-to speed folks. Or, you can return these folks to the fleet, and put them in billets where their entire job is making the entire force better and more current. Thus, you end up with ever more talented and effective aviators after the next generation has been coached up. Which, perhaps surprisingly, is why we call patch-wearers Tactics Instructors . . .
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
No offense to the OP, but you really have no idea what you're talking about or asking. Our fighter pilots are the elite. Units like the 160th do a very specific task. They aren't just a place to send the best army pilots. That was also the intention of most of the SOF units that were created. There was a need to have guys specialized for a specific task and they formed a unit. Army special forces were needed to train foreigners in places like Vietnam and Laos, SEAL's were needed to clear beaches in WW2 and later fight primarily in water based environments in Vietnam. The thought was not just "we need to make a unit to send guys that are better than everyone else." Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons do exactly what they were designed to do. And well.
 

loadtoad

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
I understand that, but language, culture, and counterinsurgency/FID/guerrilla warfare training costs a lot of money, and I'm assuming it's pretty selective in AFSOC.
If a USAF pilot selects MC-130's out of flight school = now in AFSOC
If a USAF pilot selects CV-22's out of flight school = now in AFSOC
If a USAF pilot selects AC-130's out of flight school = now in AFSOC

The list goes on....There are several AFSOC SOF/FID related missions that are not selectable out of flight school but that's apple and oranges. That has to do more with not wanting a brand new aviator in that roll. Same goes with why you don't select U-2's out of flight school...

Like many have said, your question and responses show an ignorance to what our Fighter Attack Guys do. Our fighter community already is elite both in training and in equipment. But we also have schools like TOPGUN and USAFWS which take our pilots/NFO/WSO, make them better, and then send them back to a squadron to share the knowledge. Those two combined (as well as many other equally important reasons which I don't feel like explaining) are why we don't need a 160th version of fighters.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
None
Contributor
Same goes with why you don't select U-2's out of flight school...
The Air Force is actually starting to send a few guys straight to the U-2. Not for sure of the long term viability of the program yet but there are a few guys doing it. @HuggyU2 probably knows more.
 

Max the Mad Russian

Hands off Ukraine! Feet too
Those two combined (as well as many other equally important reasons which I don't feel like explaining) are why we don't need a 160th version of fighters
After the definite input, almost all answers bear as if NavAir is a strike fighter community and nothing more. Let me put here the two old Navy HS squadrons especially honed for SOF support, HSC-84 and -85, which had acted in this field for 40 years. As the thesis enforcement of topic is namely 160th, which is a helo experts pool, why not to bring the Red Wolves and Firehawks here as a countermeasure?

Since Navy already had those two units for SOF support and that was enough, why to reshape the more expensive tactical assets, the tailhook, for the same reason?

Aside of it, NavAir is elite in itself. Yes, this is the second largest Air Force of the planet, but this is not Air Force, this is Navy. Who else could be considered as Navy's elite? Bubbleheads? After they became all-nukes, they are much closer to fuckin miners or a spacemen. Shoes? They are rather a corporate turf battles victims. SEALs or EOD dudes as such? Honestly, there's very little "naval" in thier jobs...
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
As the thesis enforcement of topic is namely 160th, which is a helo experts pool, why not to bring the Red Wolves and Firehawks here as a countermeasure?
Because that wasn't the original question that was asked. It was asked specifically about TACAIR/AF Fighter guys.

Since Navy already had those two units for SOF support and that was enough, why to reshape the more expensive tactical assets, the tailhook, for the same reason?
Those units weren't the Navy's SOF support squadrons. They were squadrons that the Navy was paying for that happened to find a niche mission and customer. That's not uncommon in the Reserve helicopter community. "The Navy" wasn't/isn't particularly concerned about the SOF support portion of what they do.
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
None
Contributor
Also, with regards to squadrons, think of it this way. You can sequester your patch-wearers into one unit, where you'll have a bunch of (usually) very talented and up-to speed folks. Or, you can return these folks to the fleet, and put them in billets where their entire job is making the entire force better and more current. Thus, you end up with ever more talented and effective aviators after the next generation has been coached up. Which, perhaps surprisingly, is why we call patch-wearers Tactics Instructors . . .

Funny- I was recently talking to the old man about some things and he brought up an interest piece of info. Apparently there was a Guard F-16 unit that at one point required every new hire to be a FWS grad. Soon enough the squadron was full of patch wearers. The opposite effect of what was intended took place and they had not only the worst performance all of the big exercises, but also the highest mishap rate by a significant amount. A squadron full of primadonnas doesn't do so well. This was 20 years ago and I'm sure that there were other leadership factors that didn't help, but...
 

ChiccinTendies

New Member
Funny- I was recently talking to the old man about some things and he brought up an interest piece of info. Apparently there was a Guard F-16 unit that at one point required every new hire to be a FWS grad. Soon enough the squadron was full of patch wearers. The opposite effect of what was intended took place and they had not only the worst performance all of the big exercises, but also the highest mishap rate by a significant amount. A squadron full of primadonnas doesn't do so well. This was 20 years ago and I'm sure that there were other leadership factors that didn't help, but...
I've read that most, if not all in VFC-12 are TOPGUN grads, but I'm guessing it's a different situation for them since they're adversaries.
 

loadtoad

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
The Air Force is actually starting to send a few guys straight to the U-2. Not for sure of the long term viability of the program yet but there are a few guys doing it. @HuggyU2 probably knows more.
B-2's then... or F-117's since those are flying everywhere these days...

Soon enough the squadron was full of patch wearers. The opposite effect of what was intended took place and they had not only the worst performance all of the big exercises, but also the highest mishap rate by a significant amount. A squadron full of primadonnas doesn't do so well.
THAT I can believe. When I was at CRM-I school, I noticed that a vast majority of their mishap case studies had a patch in the cockpit. I then started thinking about all my friends that have had mishaps (everything from tip caps to class A's) and again, mostly patches. I asked the Naval Safety center if they had a statistic on mishap rates with patches and they didn't have the data easily accessible. If my perception is correct, is it because we tend to fly more, are put in situations do the high risk stuff, push for a higher level of training, or are just prima donnas? On the RW side probably a little of everything I suppose.
 
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