Someone was recently quoted as saying, “VP-30 is the center of the universe for the P-3 Navy.” Well if the center of my universe is a giant ball of suck, how do I leave? To answer that question, I went to famed theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. I didn’t get a response – probably because he was busy riding around in that fucking sweet DeLorean.
So what makes VP-30 suck so huge? First lets look at the facts about VP-30.
Fact #1: It recruits individuals with the most recognized talent (note that is not the same as actual talent).
Fact #2: Its primary function is to teach fleet replacement students (3Ps, Navs, SS2s, you know… nuggets). Its secondary function is to teach CAT 3 students (your returning department heads).
Fact #3: Within VP-30 lies the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School (hereafter referred to MPRWS or Weapons School) and the P-8 Fleet Introduction Team (FIT).
Fact #4: A shore tour at VP-30 is the number 1 predictor of follow-on success as a department head and command screening. As such, BUPERS will never put an ex-VP-30 person against another one in fitrep cycles.
Fact #5: It is the largest squadron in the navy (over 90 LTs).
And now here are my opinions on the facts:
1. The recruitment process is bogus. Its a fucking boys’ club. Are you the skipper’s boy? Yes? Then you’re going to 30. Are there a lot of you former squadron mates in 30? Do they like you? You’re golden. How often is the phrase “I can’t believe these are the people they send to 30” uttered? A lot. All the time.
2. Do you really need the best and brightest at VP-30? Absolutely not (at least not the way 30 is run currently). The best NFO in a fleet squadron is the one who is kickass at ASW, knows how to do a COOP SLAM-ER, doesn’t bitch about flying pointless hours, and tries hard to train upgraders. So what do we do with that guy or girl? Send them to 30 to teach NAVs how to take fixes, kick green, and to ultimately make them look slightly less retarded than they otherwise would when they show up to a squadron. The best NAVs in the squadron, on the other hand, are the WORST NFOs in the squadron, because they sit NAV the most (even after they’re qualified). We should send those people to 30, and send the best and brightest to the WTU – where they could actually make squadrons better.
And do you know what happens during an NFO’s time at 30? They forget all the shit that made them good at being a TACCO. Just in time to get senior enough to teach CAT 3’s inadequately. I have news for the fleet JO’s: Many of the O-4’s are not that good in the plane!
3. So we got this weapons school now, and the P-8 FIT, one of which is supposed to usher in a new frontier of Maritime Patrol Aviation, and the other to provide us with a constant source of expertise and tactical excellence. So why the fuck are they bothered with teaching NAVs and Copilots? Divorce them from VP-30, and let them do their jobs.
4. The detailers actually make it so that it is most likely that the ex 30 dude gets the #1 DH fitrep so that they can screen for command. So what happens when you get another DH that is equally as competent, well liked, but did a WTU tour? The skipper gives the #1 fitrep to the 30 guy because 1) it’d be a waste to give it to the WTU because he’s not going to screen anyways, and 2) because the rankings are always subject to change based on where you were, and where you’re going.
5. So what does 30 actually do with all of those instructors? What is the finished product that gets sent to the fleet? How much learning actually takes place at 30? Any competent student at 30 doesn’t have to study AT ALL to pass. Meanwhile – the WTU doesn’t have enough people to do anything except teach ARP and grade quals, and they’re the ones that are supposed to make the fleet better. Why don’t we trim down at 30 and bolster the WTU? I know its been done like this forever, but it doesn’t fucking work right. 30 instructors do good things, but their overall effect is minimal. The WTU’s overall effect is ALSO minimal, but its because they don’t have the right people, and they don’t have the right number of people.
So VP-30 sucks, and that’s pretty much why. Oh and it also breeds a culture of douchebag primadonnas that forgot what its like to be in a squadron.