A mere 63 years after the establishment of the US Air Force, Stars and Stripes Newspaper catches on that the folks in the Air Force often have it a bit more cushy than the folks in the Army.
The second major difference between the services is that the Air Force makes quality of life a prerequisite for completing the mission. It expects to have basic upgrades like showers, air-conditioned sleeping tents and latrine tents in place within three days of airmen’s arrival.
“If you take care of the people, the people will take care of the mission,” Butler said.
For example, he said, pilots must be rested to do their demanding job. They need a quiet, cool place to sleep and to get ready for their next combat mission.
“It’s not a luxury,” Butler said. “It’s absolutely necessary so our pilots and our technicians can provide the services they provide.”
Included with the rest of the equipment and supplies labeled war-readiness material that the Air Force had pre-positioned in the Middle East before the Iraq conflict were enough “housekeeping sets” to support 1,100 troops at each location.
Those sets include 12-man air-conditioned tents, dining tents, toilet tents and shower tents.
“Those housekeeping sets need to be there before troops deploy. That’s the best-case scenario,” Butler said.
This “news” will hardly come as a surprise to anyone who’s been in the service (though seeing just how MUCH nicer the Air Force tends to have it can be a bit of a shock). It’s just a fact of life. There’s an old joke that the first thing the Air Force builds when it opens a new base is the golf course and the swimming pool. The very last thing they’ll build is the runways. They know good and well Congress will eventually fund those.
Of course, I have to admit thinking that many of the troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan actually have much nicer quarters than I ever had in the field. Every time I went into the field, my “housing” was either carried in my rucksack, or at best was the inside of an armored vehicle.
Any place you go, there’s always someone an echelon behind you, and guess what? They have it better than you. The flip side of the coin is that there’s almost always someone who has it worse than you. It just isn’t very emotionally rewarding to complain about that, though.