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Never Leave an Airman Behind: How the Air Force Faltered and Failed in the Wake of the Lackland Sex Scandal Kindle Edition
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I commend you and your wife for speaking out about the toxic leadership and the Hell you endured. Thank you for not being the guy that just walked away silenced. Yours and the other stories needed to be heard.
What people need to remember while reading this, any of these cases, it could be you. Your career, your husband/wife, or your Airmen. I am outraged that we have leaders running our military that are so self obsorbed that they will stop at nothing to promote their own careers.
You fought a good fight, Thank you for your dedicated service to our country and for "Never Leaving an Airman Behind". Good luck, Lt Col and Mrs. Perry on your future endeavors,
For those out there reading this, I want to explain that after working a long day do you think anyone wants to have a dinner for others and reaching out. Most of us want to go home and recharge our batteries. The military that I knew wanted us to take initiative and demonstrating that we are committed to the welfare of our unit. Like in the film Glory, the soldiers rejected the meager pay, the commander could have turned his back on his men but instead he ripped up his pay in front of his men, this saying that I am one of you. Craig wanted new folks in the squadron to feel welcomed since no one welcomed him which was a mistake on Debbie’s role. If the invitation to a social at home was such a big deal address it and move on but Debbie it was a great idea. A general officer in Korea took my team after a successful UFL to a wonderful dinner and then took us out dancing. I thought to myself that he was showing that he was a soldier who takes care of those who take care of him. He did dance with the enlisted and should I have tapped him on the shoulder and said, “No way, you can’t do it.” The soldiers instead wanted to do more for him because he respected their efforts.
The other issue is that we are talking about soldiers and airmen who have almost 2 decades of service, and if Craig wants to be human and invite airmen to his home for the reasons he gave then it should be not a big deal. As for the spouse of the commander, we had spouses work with us because anytime we were to be deployed they were effected. When I was enlisted, I worked in a squadron that was mostly officers and I attended many promotion luncheons. No one said that I couldn’t take pride and break bread with officers in a social setting, I still respected them and saluted them and called them sir or ma’am.
It has always confounded me how the military immediately turns their back on the person being persecuted. Shunning is downright MEAN. Instead of guiding Craig, Liddick made him a pariah and banished him to a windowless office. Liddick treated Craig poorly humiliating him by not giving him any chance to learn. Liddick decided long before this that Craig was guilty no matter how badly he was wronged.
Most enlisted have been at events were we would socialize and everyone was professional. The lines between officer and enlisted is gray and officers just like enlisted should respect what they all contribute.
I am a great admirer of Grace Hopper and sadly, I think Liddick would have kicked her out of the military. Grace believed in second chances. One quote that comes to mind is: It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Unfortunately she didn’t know there were leaders like Liddick whose modus operandi was make a mistake and burn at the cross.
LtCol Perry’s story shows how the military operates and he uses his story as an example and of course he is an example of what happened to so many fine military people. If you think and are smart then others are insecure. Don’t rock the boat and all will be fine or do as I say and not as I do which both Camerer and Liddick demanded and set some poor examples of what a leader should be.
Camerer could have said, hey Craig, Debbie doesn’t like you and doesn’t trust you for some reason but you know what you are new to this and we believe in giving you all the support you need to succeed. Debbie, chill out. As for the appearance of favoritism…think of what we could weave. A General officer gave me a peach while walking out the door for no reason, should he have been showing favoritism. He didn’t know me and I put the peach in my hand and I ate the peach so do we go after everyone who is NICE?
First thing we learned as children to be respectful. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Give breaks, be fair and feel safe to know it is okay to make mistakes because we are human. No one is perfect and Camerer and Liddick were rigid leaders with zero tolerance. The crazy insane part of the process is that each side has the right to lay out the facts, the problem with the chain of command to include the Secretary of the Air Force is that they all want sound bites and apparently, most for whatever reason will not read the fine print. Now if the pressure for the chain of command to be fired for not reading the details, asking questions and being forced to lay out each microscopic detail of what happened this story would have a different end? The only person who was to be effected and who needed JAG or someone to read the details and investigate some more was Craig and no one cared about Craig or his spouse who was ill. The Air Force did a big fat ABOUT FACE on Craig and for Craig this was a nightmare, how could this happen to someone who was hailed for 20 years as the best of the best? Easy, all you have to say is that I lost confidence in you. Lost confidence is a bull shit statement.
It takes too long to read all the evidence and statements from those who could verify that Craig was wronged even when his the chain of command had a million chances to right a wrong. Letter of Reprimand for doing something or giving the impression that you are doing something that you didn’t do. Craig is pointing out that this is a systemic toxic recipe for disaster for him and so many who will follow.
The military should make it ridiculously difficult for a leader assigning punishment or conducting a CDI. It should be evaluated by team who will not face retaliation. Commanders conducting CDIs need to have skin in the game. They should be docked pay for wasting our tax paying money with these CDI’s. Here is the deal: officers and enlisted must work together. Now if one rapes or kills another then yes a CDI is necessary but if you pull a file or dust off a piece of furniture or smile the wrong way because a fly landed in your mouth than NO CDI.
The Air Force leadership made a huge mistake and are paying the price because they lost a leader who cared about his airmen and used his off duty time to demonstrate the kind of leadership most are looking for. The Liddicks and Camerers turned this into a bureaucratic nightmare. We are at war in other countries. Why are our leaders at war with those they do not like and using a system to remove ANYONE they want and get away with it?
Craig, I hope you run for office and start have the Cammerers and the Liddicks toe the line. Apparently after 20 years of amazing service one slip up that you didn’t do messed up your career. However, I think there is a purpose for that door to be shut and a new one to be open and truly your calling is in public service.