Regt`s manpower

Just a quick thought why does the AAC operate its SQN`s as a “SQN” with a mix of jack-of-all-trades all under one roof. I was always surprised that HQ Sqn wasn’t set up with a ground support flight instead of each SQN having its token gesture of manpower. Command Troop is the nearest we get to a fully ground crew managed team with no direct pilot influence. How can an flying Sqn OC who lets face it has little man management experience, control on the ground crew. Now that lots of LE officers are in the system surly they should control the ground support teams. This post is not a dig at the pilots nor the Sqn commanders it just baffles me why the ground crew don’t manage them selves and at least then they may have a career structure with more appeal than at present.
There was an officer once who had that very idea particularly based around all of a Regt Sigs being contained in one place, and supporting the respective Squadrons as and when required, a good idea and i would have licked to have seen it implemented.

But it was not to be.......

It would have meant a greater verity of work for those employed and a greater spectrum of reporting officers and Seniors, would also have been a great deal easier to utilise the manpower.

I fear however that a Sqn Commander who must of course be a pilot to command a flying group in battle or operations, must have a significant number of troops to command, 15 pilots would not constitute a Sqn by any definition therefore, how could he move forward and take command of a Regt ???
Point taken, but Surely you would get more than 15 pilots per Sqn and it would still have manpower for deployments, they would just come from a pool of HQ personnel. The Sqn commanders will not loose any personnel for exercises and they can still have troops under their command, but the groundie`s can have some proper man management and training and not just pushing and pulling the same cabs day in day out



Good points raised and I think that in the AH era are being considered, but think about this:

1.  This is the way the Crabs operate and we all know that ethos, esprit de corps, loyalty, bonding, teamwork etc etc do not appear in their dictionary.

2.  Your pool would require a manpower uplift and their ain't the manpower headroom without either putting more cash into the pot (reality caption, Defence is not getting anymore!) or nicking manpower Line Serial Numbers (LSNs) from other arms and Corps to make up the deficit.  This is a long and laboured process that the AAC does try and do regularly to appease other manpower shortage areas in the Corps.  

But, and it is a big BUT.....the rest of the Army also wants to nick, or poach or coax any redistribution of manpower into its Regt or Corps...(remember we are alot better off than some of the line infantry and Armoured Corps for manpower).

3.  If the groundies are not being looked after then ask the question why.  Lets be honest there is not that much flying going on and Her Majesty has invested a fair sum of money in the Rodneys and Ruperts (and whatever the banter for the YO's RMA Sandhurst does provide superb leadership (which includes management) training that is envied and imitated by the Corporate sector.  Bottom line if your commissioned Rupert is too busy organising his social diary or skiing, then have the gonads to say something on paper through the chain of command.

4.  Staffy's and WOs can't just sit back on their pilots wings thinking the world owes them a living.  They too must take an active interest in the young lads and lasses that work in a Sqn.  Even the hairiest, grumpiest and wrinkled WO wasn't that long ago from being a bowser mong.

5.  Why make the effort and not go for centralised pooling.  People, characters, individuals etc etc.....when the ballon goes up and you climb on the back of your C130 or C17 you know your team....their good points, their bad points.  You can exploit the good players to help the inexperienced.  A random groundie who you haven't seen before will take time to gel and may be a good bluffer until the time he leaves a fuel line attached to an aircraft at night during a night FARP etc.

6.  Why make the gap between aircrew and groundies any bigger.  Especially in the AH era they are integrated, and just as valuable and should be part of the team during peacetime training as well as on operations and not doing their 'own thang' the other side of the camp.  

7.  Train together, know each other, fight the system as one and not seperate little empires.

8.   I have seen the way the Crabs do business and except for their TSW lads and lasses, then probably the most important factor of mutual trust is woefully lacking.
I have never been let down by an AAC FARP, Sqn HQ.  I have had the comms (ok, not all of the time, but every effort has been made to try and establish re-bros etc to rectify 'silent areas'), fuel, bombs and bullets.

See what you think are probably closer to the coal face and the above are just a few thoughts off of the top of my head.  ???  :)
Thanks for your reply, Sorry no longer directly at the coalface. Just a thought that always baffled me. I think you hit the nail on the head “this is the way Crabs do it” but is that a bad thing so long as the Crab attitude isn’t adapted then I’m sure it could work.


Baldrick.........You make some valid points, but Randoms reply is a very well thought out response.  By remaining as a Sqn group you enhance the teamwork aspect of operations.  Some SNCO pilots make good man managers and of course there are the "What, get my hands dirty.....but I'm a pilot" SNCO's.  Same can be said for some AAC Officers.  Usually the officers that come over to us from another Arm are more responsible, mature, management friendly guys/girls as I am sure that you have seen in your time with the Corps.  Dont pull OC's apart just because they are pilots.
Remember, soldiers first, pilots second, and there are good ones and crap ones!!
Some good views, Kenny is right!

In fact from experience I have whitnessed SNCO Pilot types help out, especially after night flying!  Some dont!

However, I also noticed from my time that some of the best 'man-managers' and Pilots that do muck in are from other arms (in particular ex infantry).  A lot (not all) true blue pilots consider 'they have arrived', "weve bin there, seen and done it mate" attitude and wont get thier hands dirty!

As far as leadership goes, as a young LCpl Aircrewman I learnt far more from the pilots that were from other regiments than training sqn ever provided!

Also remember the AAC is a teeth arm!  Ex infantry and tankies have a lot to offer tactically!

Keep it a SQN level, 50 or so years and a few wars experience has proved it works,

Uncle fetser,

I have to react to your comments as I'm a  true blue pilot.

Unless you have a bad crop in your unit, your sadly mistaken.

Most of the true Blue types I know are very much of the "remember where you came from" ilk, and always chip in and encourage the other pilots to do the same.

With regard to Tactics and soldiering skills, of course an ex infantryman is going to operate well in the field, but only in an infantry scenario. His experience doesn't make him any better at sighting FARP's, rebro sites, LS's, or indeed any other form of Aviation equipment.

The last thing you mentioned was that its worked for the last 50 years so why change it. Bit hypocritical after the comments you've mentioned above.

I think you need to have a rethink.


Muttley, I came across to the Corps from Para Regt and RSigs (3Years and 5Years respectively) and I have to agree with you.  I was very fortunate that I had Infantry and Signals experience because I could site Rebros and defensive positions utilising my previous experience.  I think the problem with direct entry pilots is that their non-aviation training is lacking.  In "yea olden days" the vast majority of Corps pilots came across from other Arms.  I believe that the automatic promotion of JNCOs to the rank of Sgt when they joined the pilots course was wrong, they should have had to go through a SNCO selection course or promotion course. I know that I did before becoming a pilot in 79.

So, my point is, the training system is seriously lacking when it comes to "true-blue" AAC pilots with regard to non-flying duties.........So There!

Since 1986 (I Think) the AAC has had Cpl pilots! My point there is that there hasn't been any promotion from Cpl to Sgt to attend the Pilots course since then.

As for SNCO Cadres, all AAC cpls have to attend the same SNCO Cadre regardless of job.

You may find this hard to swallow but I can name at least 2 non AAC pilots who are both now cap badged AAC that did no such course.

I also have to disagree with any point that a pilot with combat arm experience is better than combat support arms etc. we all bring differnt types of experience to the Corps.

I haven't got aproblem with Pilots coming from other Regiments and Corps, but i do feel that to berate our own is a bit low.

I always recommend applying for the course and giving it a go, and maintain that the successful ones are also the lucky ones. lucky with getting a good instructor along side being on a course that blends as a team. i also point out that there is no shame in likewise there should be no shame in passing.
Sorry, I didnt mean to cause offense!  I said 'some' True Blue Pilots!  A majority I must say are good eggs!

Its a change in attitude which is down to individuals I was trying to get at, not the way a Sqn opperates.

Hope this has cleared it up, I am true Blue myself.

Appypolliollagies if I offended the good guys out there!

I think it's good that we have other capbadged pilots in the Regts.  A majority of them have half decent story to tell!  Maybe about Ireland or Sierra Leone or something like that.  Not "I was sitting on the pan at GV and I could not clear a caption....Blah, blah......."  ;D

I can also vouch for them not wanting to get there hands dirty from pushing a cab! Not all, but most!   :(

So bring on the Engineers, Green Jackets, RTR, Signals and anyone elses capbadge as most are good eggs as well as good pilots! (Not saying that AAC ones are not!) ;)
Going back to the original thread, i have to say that the old Sqn days were epic.

When you were all part of a Sqn, inclusive of the LAD. You knew everone else and not only worked well in camp, but also in the field. More importantly everyone got on....yes even AAC and REME relations were good.

All this centralisation just takes the manpower from where its needed and causes animocity and also does away with the healthy inter Sqn rivalry.
Have they not sorted this out, you have all forgotten the basic reason you do what you do, that one purpose and that is to complete a task be it in camp and in the field.

During my time I have seen both true and non-blue attempt to change how things are done on the ground There was only two units that I that had no class status infact the OC would help the MT clean down the wagons and the MT would clean the cabs (Endex would only be called in the bar when he dished out the beer) he wouldn't let the pads go home until then.

There was even time's when they would get back hours before we did and the cabs had been washed a put to bed and he would still make them wait until everything and I mean everything had been cleaned and stowed away even if we had to work all night.

I also had experiance of the centralised sections from lad, groundcrew and sigs sections (the new Centry, I think we had 14 in all) and they all lasted as long as it took to think them up.

Muttley is right but lets not forget that times and manpower are hard, you cann't put butter on a whole loaf of bread when you have one individual portion of butter.

But those that come up the ranks and those that come in into the blue hope that one day they will change it.

Whats not been said is that the cycle of change is an avarage of 3 years for those that are in a postion to change things, many of those that took part in round one have forgotten what was learnt or beleive they know a better way.

On a down side to the non-true blue there has been many that tried to bring with them thier thinking and apply it to the Blue. As if they was the first cross over only to fall in line with the them and us a few years later the norm been 2nd tour.

A ex-OC once told me in 85 "that when we get the new helicopter things would change" and I said "it would not" so he place a bet with me for £10.000
Sir I am coming to COLLECT !!!

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