Thursday, August 3, 2017

Eagle Squadrons and Home-Grown Cuckoos

There are people you can rely upon and those that you cannot rely upon.  In the aviation warrior's world it is prudent to know which is which.  Helpful friends can enable the day to be carried: unhelpful, interfering busybodies can ruin the best laid plans. I was reminded of this just the other day when several chaps were talking in the bars about old and new conflicts. The 'old' being the 2nd World War: the new being the next one to come.
Two matters came up in discussion, both mentioning Americans. The second only briefly but the first in detail. That 'first' concerned those heroic men who came looking for a fight. Americans who risked even their citizenship to join the Royal Air Force. Such men take their rightful place as Tavern Heros.

Let us look at those first and then turn to the awful mess that is brewing in Oz. Good news first: then a stiff drink before the bad news. You will need it.

The RAF Museum in the UK has an entire section devoted to young brave American men who did not wait for their country to declare a side but took it upon themselves to decide to fight for what is right. It took courage and required great sacrifice. They formed the 
Eagle Squadrons.

A museum chap told us all as I pulled many a pint.
Under American law, it was illegal for United States citizens to join the armed forces of foreign nations. 
In doing so, they lost their citizenship, although Congress passed a blanket pardon in 1944. Even so, hundreds if not thousands of American citizens volunteered to fly with the Royal Air Force before America officially entered the war in December, 1941. Perhaps the most famous result of this were the Eagle Squadrons.
In 1939 American mercenary Colonel Charles Sweeney had begun raising an American squadron to fight in Europe, much as the Lafayette Escadrille had during the First World War. Initially he wanted them to fight in Finland against the Soviets, but his attention soon moved to France. Recruited and financed by Sweeney, over thirty Americans made their way to France before the Germans invaded in May, 1940. 
None got to fly in France, but several made their way to Britain.

In Britain Sweeney's nephew, also called Charles, had already been busy. He had formed a Home Guard unit from Americans living in London, and was keen on the idea of American squadrons in the Royal Air Force. 
He took the idea to the Air Ministry, and in July, 1940, they agreed that the handful of Americans already serving in the RAF, plus any new recruits, would be formed into their own national units, to be known as Eagle Squadrons. 
First 3 Eagle Pilot Officers

The first, No.71 Squadron, was formed in September, followed by Nos.121 and 133 Squadrons over the next twelve months.

By this time the Sweeney's had recruited around 50 pilots, and arranged and paid for them to be smuggled to Canada and then make their way to Britain. Now they handed responsibility over to the Clayton Knight Committee. This Committee, working like the Sweeney's against American law, had been formed in September, 1939, to recruit Americans for the RAF. It had been founded by Air Vice-Marshall Billy Bishop VC, a Canadian First World War veteran, and was run by an American First World War veteran, Clayton Knight.
The Clayton Knight Committee, working largely in secret, recruited nearly ....
7,000 American citizens 
...for the RAF or Royal Canadian Air Force, and then arranged for their transportation to Canada. Nearly 250 went on to serve with the Eagle Squadrons. In December, 1941, the United States of America entered the war, and the Clayton Knight Committee ceased its operations
The first Eagle Squadron, No.71, was formed on 19 September, 1940, at the height of the Battle of Britain.

Six of the original members were already members of the RAF. Eugene Quimby 'Red' Tobin, Andy Mamedoff, and Vernon Charles 'Shorty' Keough had all been in France, had escaped, and had subsequently seen combat with No.609 Squadron. Gregory 'Gus' Daymond had also been in France, but joined No.71 Squadron straight from training. Two other pilots also had combat experience: Arthur 'Art' Donahue with No.64 Squadron and Philip 'Zeke' Leckrone with No.616.
The coming months were difficult for these combat veterans. Most of the Squadron had only just arrived from America, and were still under training. The Squadron was equipped with Miles Master training aircraft, although they soon began to receive out-dated Brewster Buffalo fighters. Within weeks Art Donahue had requested and received a transfer back to No.64 Squadron. Meanwhile a concerted effort was made to 'prang' as many Buffaloes as possible to speed up the conversion onto a more modern types, and in November Hawker Hurricanes began to appear.

The squadron finally became operational on 5 February, 1941, flying defensive patrols out of RAF Kirton-on-Lindsay. In August they converted to Supermarine Spitfires, and began to take part in offensive patrols over northern Europe.
By this time two more Eagle Squadrons had been formed. On 14 May, 1941 No.121 Squadron had been formed at RAF Kirton-on-Lindsay, and in July No.133 Squadron was established at RAF Coltishall. Both were equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. No.133 became operational first, in September, 1941, followed in October by No.121. Both units were bolstered with experienced personnel posted from No.71 Squadron.
Both squadrons were initially put onto home defence duties, patrolling the coast line against German raiders or protecting convoys. In October, 1941, No.133 began to receive Supermarine Spitfires, as did No.121 the following month.
By early 1942 all three Eagle Squadrons were equipped with Supermarine Spitfires, and were regularly taking part in 'sweeps' over France. Some of these were fighter patrols, seeking out air or ground targets, while others were escort operations for bombing raids.
Their greatest test came on 19 August, 1942, when all three squadrons were involved in Operation Jubilee - the landings at Dieppe. This large-scale raid by British and Canadian troops on the French coast was supported by a huge RAF effort. Nos.71 and 133 Squadrons both took part in four operations over the beaches, and No.121 made three sweeps. Between them, they were to claim nine enemy aircraft destroyed, four probably destroyed and fourteen damaged, for the loss of one pilot killed and one prisoner of war, both from No.121.
In September, 1942, the Eagle Squadrons were transferred to the United States Army Air Force. America had joined the war in December, 1941, and had begun to send forces to Britain in mid-1942. There was pressure to transfer the experienced pilots of the Eagle Squadrons to the American forces, but there were several problems.
Many of the pilots had failed the USAAF medical tests before they had volunteered for the RAF. None had ever been award US pilot's wings, either. The USAAF wanted to split the squadrons up, to spread their experience around, while the pilots wanted to stay in their own squadrons. There were also insufficient aircraft available, until the.... 
 USAAF acquired Supermarine Spitfires. 
Betcha didn't know that, eh? 
Finally, many of the pilots were reluctant to leave their adopted force to join the more formal USAAF, despite the guaranteed commissions for the sergeant pilots, promotions for the officers, and higher rates of pay.

Nevertheless, on 29 September, 1942, the Eagle Squadrons joined the 4th Pursuit Group, VIII Fighter Command. Nos.71, 121 and 133 Squadrons, RAF, became 334th, 335th and 336th Squadrons respectively. These units continued to see service throughout the war in Europe.
Of the roughly 250 Americans who had served with the Eagle Squadrons, 78 had been killed while with the RAF and 16 had become prisoners of war; a further 29 were killed after their transfer to the USAAF and 18 captured.
History is made by such Fine Men. Heros every one.

The Taverners raised their glasses.

That was the evening's Good News. But they needed stiffer drinks when Bernard Gaynor stood  to tell a tale of woe that is happening right now in Oz.

He began by outlining the financial problems that the UK is having in their purchacing of the F-35. Oz will face the same financial woe.  The costs keep going higher, faster, than the plane can. But there is, frankly, worse to come.

It is who will pilot them and what experience they will have. And who will decide.
The Royal Australian Human Rights Commission Air Force
The capability of the F-35 is something that Australians should worry about. Because even if it turns out to be everything promised, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has just embarked on a program to produce second-rate pilots.

This scandal is far worse. And it comes to us thanks to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), which now appears to be running the nation’s military.
You can forgive the AHRC for being dud military commanders.
No one in there has any military experience at all. And it is flat out like a lizard drinking (if I am still allowed to use the phrase) dealing with racist cartoonists, racist uni students, rape-filled uni campuses and an entire nation of racist businesses that can only be solved with expensive PR campaigns to promote the AHRC Commissars of Enlightenment (at taxpayer expense of course).
So even if the AHRC was filled with Rommels and Pattons, they don’t have much time to devote to military matters anyway.
Despite this, the AHRC’s Kate Jenkins has provided a series of recommendations to the RAAF. She is a human rights lawyer (appointed by the Turnbull government as Sex Discrimination Commissioner) and so knows nothing about combat air power or how to manage it.

Yet the RAAF has accepted and is implementing 62 of Jenkins’ 65 recommendations.
What are they about?
Not improving Defence capability.
Instead, they are all about turning Top Gun into Miss Gun.
Apparently, the AHRC is unhappy that we don’t have a female fast jet fighter pilot in Australia. And that has to change, even if it means the RAAF becomes so degraded that it is virtually pointless.
To gain a taste of the insanity in the AHRC’s report, ‘Improving Opportunities for Women to Become Fast Jet Pilots in Australia’, one only needs to read three paragraphs on page 9:

ACG Command report that they are losing male pilots due to the physical requirements of intensive air-to-air combat training combined with high G-force. They report that fast jet pilot trainees who excel in all other areas of the training program may fail due to their inability to manage repeated head-turning under G-force.
ACG report that there are physical injuries associated with fast jet flying, predominantly relating to soft tissue back and neck injury. 
Not to mention missiles flying up your jet pipe ! That can play havok with your backside.

Now I have said before that I have no problem with women pilots. As long as they are trained and fit, to the same standard as men. Their gender should not matter if they make the grade.

But I have also mentioned Kara Hultgreen before. Corners were cut for her. Training regimes were watered down for her.

She died.
When the Commission visited ACG at Williamtown Base, Command advised that five pilots were grounded due to neck and back injuries. Injury for female pilots during dog-fighting is a concern for Command at ACG. Over the years, Command have debated the ways to optimise the training while avoiding injury. This includes implementing training techniques to alleviate the need for so much head movement at G-force. Some members at ACG suggested that pilots could prop their head against the seat and move it from side to side without making large head turning movements. ACG will need to consider these options if it is to sustain a female and male pilot workforce with increased operating capacity in future years.

A number of female pilots reported that the U.S. Air Force streams its pilots into specialities and not all fast jet pilots are required to be highly skilled in dog-fighting techniques. While the number of pilots in the U.S. Air Force is significantly larger than that of the Air Force, this pyramid model may be worthy of further exploration by ACG.
I know that staff at the AHRC probably prefer finger-painting and often do not have English as a first language. 
And even if they did, it is probably frowned-upon as some vestigial hangover from the days of offensive colonialism. But the language in this report is clear enough.
The AHRC recognises that even males struggle to meet the physical requirements of intensive air-to-air combat. So it has decided that air-to-air combat training should be watered down or even done away with altogether so that we can have glossy magazines with sheilas standing in front of fighter jets.

And it put forward 65 recommendations to achieve that outcome. 
Here are just some of the more outrageous recommendations that the AHRC has put forward.

Create a Female Pilot Workforce Development Unit filled with HR experts (instead of Air Combat experts) to manage such things as maternity leave (recommendation 1.2).
Provide female pilot trainees with extra non-tested training in PC-9 aircraft (recommendation 1.4).
Provide female pilot trainees with extra non-tested training in Hawk aircraft (recommendation 1.5).
Redesign the pilot training program and tailor it for each individual female trainee so that it can provide opportunities for ‘Miss Top Gun’ to also become ‘Mrs Mum’ (recommendation 1.13).
Implement recruitment quotas for female trainee pilots with cash bonuses for all when females graduate (recommendation 2.1).
Mandate ‘unconscious bias’ training for all recruiting staff (recommendation 2.7).
Ensure equal gender representation of RAAF members at all stages of recruitment (recommendation 2.8).
Redesign medical assessment policies to remove ‘unwanted barriers’ for female pilots (recommendation 2.10).
Redesign spatial visualisation assessments to account for ‘gender bias’ (recommendation 2.13).
Re-engineer the common-sense of the 50% plus of RAAF members who disagree with strategies to water down pilot training programs to produce female fighter pilots through ‘zero-tolerance’ gender diversity training (recommendation 2.14).
Provide females with additional training on technical flying requirements (recommendation 3.1).
Change the testing parameters for test flights (recommendation 3.2).
Redesign the pilot training program so that there are less tested flights (recommendation 3.3).

Allow pilot trainees to ‘negotiate’ their instructional preferences with instructors (recommendation 3.5).
Increase training on visualisation skills for females who do not have the same natural ability as males (recommendation 3.7).
Ensure changes to training programs are promoted as ‘gender neutral’ so that females do not feel like the changes are being made for them (recommendation 3.8).
Provide females with coaching on ‘controlled aggression’ which they do not naturally exhibit (recommendation 3.9).
Ahem.... this whole list is controlled aggression. Not passive either. 
Provide female trainees with a week of non-tested flight training in the RAAF’s front-line combat wing (recommendation 3.10).

The RAAF is to acknowledge its masculine culture and the ‘cultural advantage’ this bestows on males (recommendation 4.1).
Review training curriculum to remove ‘gendered’ language (recommendation 4.2).
Run propaganda programs across the RAAF to explain that gender diversity actually increases combat capability (recommendation 4.7).
Prioritise females as flying instructors (even though no females have qualified as fast jet pilots) (recommendation 4.9).
Monitor the F-35 design so that it is female friendly (recommendation 5.1).
Modify air-to-air combat training so that pilot trainees who cannot withstand the physical requirements can still pass (recommendation 5.2).
The mind boggles. No more 'you're chopped, Cuddles', but now, 'there, there, dearie, We will give that nasty trapper the boot'.
Redesign flight suits so that they ‘conform to the female body shape’ (recommendation 5.4).

Allow females to have shorter return of service obligations to the RAAF than males (recommendation 6.1).
Train men to stop being upset that they are required to serve in the RAAF longer than females and to instead become ‘advocates of gender inclusivity’ (recommendation 6.2).

Adjust posting procedures across the entire Defence Force to allow female pilots returning from maternity leave extra flexibility (recommendation 6.4).
Train extra female pilots to cater for the requirements of maternity leave (recommendation 6.6).
Remember, these recommendations have all been accepted and are now being implemented across the RAAF.
And it seems that Kate Jenkins is putting ‘discrimination’ back into the role of Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
Males in the Air Force are now second class Defence members. 
Whether they work in recruiting or fly an F-18, females will be prioritised over them, regardless of whether they are actually capable of the job.

Females will also be given favourable treatment when it comes to recruitment, posting, leave and training opportunities. Not because they are better at being fighter pilots. 
But because they can’t make the grade that already exists.

It is being lowered too. And this all means that qualified, motivated, patriotic blokes will end up missing out on jobs in the RAAF as a result of Kate Jenkins’ recommendations.
And for the males that do make it through, they will also be required to watch as females are allowed to walk away from the RAAF and into higher paid civilian roles before they can.
This point also needs making:
The AHRC is an organisation that has already hounded one Australian to his grave. And now it has virtually been given command of the institution meant to protect the rest of us.
Heaven help us all.
And while we cannot blame the AHRC for being a bunch of military numpties, no one should forgive the RAAF top brass for handing over control of the nation’s air defences to a bunch of social engineers living in ivory towers inside the Canberra bubble of insanity.
I fold my towel, slowly and carefully, guarding my temper. 

I agree. The entire  RAAF Top Brass should be sacked and replaced by men with balls and a warrior spirit.

Men like those American chaps we started with. 

Charge you glasses.



  1. Social engineering in the military comes with a cost- as many of us know too well. Such a shame that those that cause the cost don't, in turn be required to pay it. It is we, the victims of this charade that are required to pay- as we always have, in blood. US Army, Infantry, Airborne, MSG (Ret.)

    1. Welcome. A pint for you of fine Ale. Grace. Yes you are correct. Training regimes change and must always be for the better preparation of the warriors to engage in combat, not some trumped-up feminist ideology and selection of wenches and farm-boys. The current 'recommendations' when implemented will result in needless loss of life even before battles begin, not to mention the 'bumping' of those who would be sound men if they had taken their rightfully earned place.

  2. Very thorough & detailed story regarding WW11. My god father was one of the young men who went to Britain before America entered the war. He was recruited for the Polish Air Force flying under the auspices of the British & went by way of Canada. He was a tail gunner in a bomber, was shot down & captured & returned to the States after the war... A member of the greatest generation..

    1. So many fine men, and we need to honour them. The Polish Airmen were magnificent. Warriors every man. A pint for you and we shall toast your God Father.

  3. Now I have said before that I have no problem with women pilots.

    You can't have women in combat roles.

    Women are inherently unstable. PMS.

    Women destroy discipline. If you put women in the military you'll have endless emotional and sexual dramas. Look at any mixed-sex workplace. Chaos.

    Women lack the necessary strength and speed. Even the strongest fittest women are not up to the job.

    Women should not be trained to kill. It goes against their nature. It's the role of men to defend society and to defend women and children. It's the role of women to provide emotional support to men, to be wives and mothers. You can't change human nature by passing legislation.

    1. There are free pints for life for anyone who puts that on a sign and walks it into the AHRC. :)

  4. Let me start with your bad news first. A job is a job and it is defined by its requirements to fit the role. A jet fighter pilot role has a specific set of requirements to fulfill the role especially in combat situations.

    If the criteria are not met the applicant is not fit for the role - male or female. It is a generalisation that females are not fitted to the role, some are, but they need to be assessed on the same basis that the men are. It is a matter of life and death on a personal level and a wider level when in a combat zone.

    Now onto the good news story - I had not heard of the Eagle squadrons before, thank you for sharing their history. Those men are Heros :-)

    1. Yes, and that assessment (and training) basis is survival and combat competence under extreme duress. The training is horrendously expensive too, so making that as economical as possible is not helped by 'tailoring' to individuals. If they cannot crack a program element in the time it takes the average pilot, it is simply wasting time, effort and taxpayers' monies.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..