Critically and sarcastically penned by Patrick Weeks, a recovering Marine Corps Logistics Officer.
The Iron Man and Transformers movies are very similar in many respects
They both feature superheroes (/machines), epic world-saving, boundary-pushing action, and special effects, huge personalities, and excessive glorification of our United States Air Force.
Let’s pull back the curtain. What do we really learn about the Air Force from these movies?
1: Pilot Worship
The Air Force is still in love with the flashy, expensive flying machines that capture every boy’s imagination. Even though drones are the future. Sorry, Top Gun.
2: Salute Yourself
No matter what an Airman tells you about how his service understands customs and courtesies, these guys throw around salutes like they’re all leaving an epic frat party. Constantly. Indoors. Uncovered.
3: The Air Force has the Coolest Tech
And they know it. It’s so irrefutable, it’s annoying.
4: What Uniform Regulations?
“Don’t worry about uniformity.”
5: Unlimited Budget
One of the aspects of the Hollywood Air Force that mirrors real life (from the perspective of a disgruntled Marine) is the unfathomable budgets.
In these movies, the constant stream of high-tech gear, aircraft, and expensive destruction is no big deal for the Air Force. While deployed Marines ask for toilet paper in care packages.
What do you think?
Fair/unfair? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments below.
Patrick served in the Marine Corps from 2009-2014 and is the founder of the USMC OCS Blog and www.armstrongpullupprogram.com.
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It is not with sarcasm, but with realism that I write this. The missiles, bombs, and drones of our air and ground forces kill bad guys, but they also take quite a few innocent civilian lives, and seriously injure even more.
The reasons are varied. The distances between the initial launch and the eventual explosion are so large as to impede their accuracy; ‘collateral damage’ is easily discounted by warmongers half a world away from the dangers. The blast area of their various types of ordnance can be huge. Unexploded ordnance is dangerous to civilians and bomb-removal workers many years after they were dropped from the sky. There are also the effects of inaccurate intelligence; it is not hard to look back and see the US has bombed, maimed and killed more than a few non-combatants attending wedding parties or simply driving on the roads in Iraq and elsewhere. Air forces also can share with ground forces the nasty long-term effects of depleted uranium spread throughout populated areas.
Mothers in the US don’t have to worry about a Predator drone firing Hellfire missiles from the suburban skies above them, killing friends and family innocently going to work, school, or play. The don’t have to worry about their younger children being maimed or killed by armed bomblets that look like toy balls, or dying young from cancers caused by ingesting the dust of depleted uranium. Mothers in the countries the US attacks will grieve for lost and injured friends, neighbors, and family for decades after the fight passes them by. They also must worry about the dangers of the lost ordnance and depleted uranium that the US leaves behind, scattered about their country.
Citizens and war-makers of the US should learn the true lessons of WW II, Korea, and Vietnam: a nation no matter how powerful and advanced its weaponry can not win a war from the air. Neither can it dictate in advance, or predict, the results of assaulting or invading a populated country. That is true today more than ever, with opposing forces merging and hiding into civilian areas, and attacks by the US unleashing the civil strife simmering under the surface.
The problems go far beyond who gets toilet paper and who gets billion dollar technology, way past how our warfighters dress or salute. It goes to the very essence of how and when and why we assault others from the air, and from the ground too.
I long for the country that our forefathers created, the one dedicated to defending our shores and avoiding overseas conflicts.