National Security Desk / June 3, 2019

About Those ‘Racist’ Navy Call Signs…

In yet more leftovers from the Obama years, the military is fighting the “real” battles.

Even two-and-a-half years removed from the previous administration, our Patriot Armed Forces personnel are still contending with more Barack Obama effluent. The latest comes from the Navy, which is dealing with the truly pressing concern over … how pilots choose their call signs.

The Navy Times reports:

The head of naval aviation has directed the creation of a new process for approving and reviewing pilots’ call signs after two African-American aviators at an F/A-18 Hornet training squadron in Virginia filed complaints alleging racial bias in the unit, from which they said they were unfairly dismissed.

In a formal endorsement letter signed May 13, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces, said he found the two aviators, a Navy lieutenant and a Marine Corps captain, were correctly removed from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana due to “substandard performance,” despite errors and inconsistencies discovered in the grading and ranking process.

However, Miller said he did find inappropriate conduct by instructor pilots who did not treat the pilots-in-training “with appropriate dignity and respect,” using discriminatory call signs and having inappropriate and unprofessional discussions about them on social media.

He directed the Chief of Naval Air Training to have all training command and fleet replacement squadrons in the Navy formalize a call sign assignment and review process within 90 days, including appropriate peer board representation for minority and female aviators. And he recommended that multiple officers, including a Navy captain, receive rebukes, counseling or administrative punishment for their role in events substantiated by the investigation.

Military pilots rarely choose their own call signs. If they do, it will typically be replaced with one given by fellow squadron pilots. A pilot’s call sign can originate from a plethora of sources. It may be in reference to a physical characteristic or personality trait. It may be a riff or play on the pilot’s name. Or it may be based on something silly or stupid that the pilot did.

Call signs are spontaneous and “organic” in that they can originate from just about anything and may be changed at any time. They are not, and have never been the purview of flag officer-mandated review boards, nor should they ever be.

A former Marine fighter pilot and member of our National Advisory Committee offered his assessment: “It is a truly sad state of affairs when the ‘Air Boss’ needs to engage in an issue that should have been handled and resolved at the squadron commander level, if not lower. It is an even sadder state of affairs when the ‘solution’ to this ‘problem’ is the implementation of a formal call sign assignment and review process, to include appropriate peer board representation for minorities and females. The saddest thing of all is how thoroughly the cancer of ‘political correctness’ has metastasized in the body of our military fighting force, and how little is done by senior military leadership to fight that cancer.”

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