Psst. The P-3 community sucks.

Welcome one and all! If you’re like me, you (1) Fly P-3s for the US Navy, and (2) get overwhelmed with the amount of problems staring you in the face, quietly whispering, “fix me.” It took me less than a week in this community to recognize a community problem (hint – its VP-30). Over the past years I’ve been witness to the egregious malfeasances committed by the leaders of our community, and I’m tired of banging my head against a wall.

I want to ask each one of them when exactly was it that you stopped paying attention? Or which rank did you eclipse where the people below you covered up any problems from you? Were you yourself one of those self-serving a-holes? If so, are you proud of your lack of contribution?

Walk to any squadron to find numerous dejected people bitching about how this community fails again and again and again… While you’re there, find the nearest S-3 transition for your daily serving of bitterness.

So I’m starting this blog as an outlet for my anger and my criticism. It will be unfiltered. It will be funny. Hopefully it will be thought provoking. Hopefully it will change things for the better. So spread this around. Tell your friends. I promise that sometime, you will exclaim, “Yes! finally somebody said it!” If you’re one of those aforementioned leaders, pay attention. I guarantee you that my opinions are echoed across the fleet.

Is it too much to hope that maybe the messages contained herein have an immediate positive impact? Yeah, probably. But fuck it. I’m doing it anyway.

  1. #1 by Anonymous on 12August2011 - 5:33 am

    Good a place where people can hide from doing any real work to make things better and anonymously complain. Welcome, you are officially part of the problem.

  2. #2 by Voltaire on 13August2011 - 5:59 pm

    This is here because the traditional idea of “doing work to make things better” doesn’t work. Simply being the best cog in the machine doesn’t change anything – it just alleviates pain for a few at the expense of one. There needs to be a large systemic and cultural shift in the VP community to make a difference. Changes like that DO need hard workers (and how do you know that I’m not one?). But more importantly, the change needs popular demand.

  3. #3 by Anonymous on 15August2011 - 11:23 pm

    And you are also anonymously complaining about this blog, so I am anonymously complaining about you. Why not have a discussion in this forum? Can’t we build some momentum for change here anonymously before anyone has to fear consequences of constructive criticism? Let’s keep the comments coming!

  4. #4 by Oooooo! Ham slime. on 24August2011 - 1:34 pm

    Aside fromthe fact that we fly an aging breaking aircraft which looks like the inside of a hoarder’s apartment, the problem with the P-3 community is aviators. Aviators are by nature egotistical go-getters. If you take a person like that and place them in a situation where they can’t “go-get” (I.e. The P-3 mission) then they construct some method in which to be able to show that their Dick/strap-on is larger or longer than their fellow P-3 aviators or their buddies who were lucky enough to fly an airframe with community comradarie. We all just need a good Office Space hypnotism torealize that our community should be the best in the Navy because of the fact that our mission is useless and our set sites can be awesome.

    Letters from an El Salvadorean prison

  5. #5 by Haywood on 27August2011 - 1:02 pm

    The problem is that we are not the go getters. This community is full of people that chickened out at the prospect of landing on a boat or like some of us just didn’t have jet grades because our on wing was a dick but thankfully we managed to dodge the helo draft

  6. #6 by Voltaire on 30August2011 - 12:56 am

    Wow Haywood. How astute an observation. All we need to do is be “go getters.” Amazing insight – you’ve summed up all of our problems for us. Thanks so much. I guess I better stop writing and start go getting. Would you mind sharing an example of how not go getting is the root cause of a problem?

    While you’re at it, please enlighten us on how terrifying carrier quals are during the selection process at primary.

  7. #7 by Haywood on 3September2011 - 8:45 am

    Voltaire it is the threat of failure at the boat that i speak of not actually looking at one that I refered to above. Also I did not mean to imply that we need to be go getters but meant to convey that we are full of failures, wash outs, and insecurity before we even get here. To illustrate what I mean to put forth as a theory you can look one step further at the SWOs. One does not fail out of SWOS or in getting a SWO pin and get forced to go aviation anymore than one fails at landing the P-3 and gets handed an F-18. Look how much worse their community is than ours? Most of their problem and ours lies in the insecurity of the bright due in large part to be surrounded by the dim. In the absence of boarding rates P-3 guys use airframe trivia to rate ourselves, but at least we don’t have to live on a boat and have to use number of links in a chain instead of gallons of prop fluid for our punch lines.

    • #8 by Voltaire on 6September2011 - 2:43 am

      Quote: “…the insecurity of the bright because they’re surrounded by the dim.” That just doesn’t make sense. Logic would dictate that the bright would be more confident because they are surrounded by the dim – they wouldn’t have to work nearly as hard for recognition of accomplishments.

      As far as failures and washouts – the number of people in our community that selected TACAIR and transitioned to the P-3 is very small. I’d wager less than 1%. I believe what you mean to argue is that the P-3 community is largely made up of poor performers in flight school. That is a fact. But lets consider what flight school actually evaluates – basic airwork, memorization, communications, and task management while flying. It doesn’t measure leadership potential, decision making, problem solving, team work, or even intelligence (there are some dumbasses that are incredible pilots).

      I appreciate you being the heel and counterpoint to my blog, but with each comment you make, I don’t see any cohesive or logical argument.

      • #9 by VPISCOOLERTHANEVERYTHINGIHAVEEVERKNOWN on 16September2011 - 8:05 am

        “I believe what you mean to argue is that the P-3 community is largely made up of poor performers in flight school. That is a fact. But lets consider what flight school actually evaluates – basic airwork, memorization, communications, and task management while flying…”

        And all over a period of 6-8 months of occasional flying and a few written tests.

        Not all P-3 aviators were poor flight school performers, however. I had jet grades but went P-3s for my family. I have seen this as a result, though: set procedures, policy, qualification processes, etc. to the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR.

        Just a few examples I see:

        1. Time at work is rewarded (something anyone can do), not results.

        2. Memorization of obscure systems information is emphasized (anyone can do this), rather than on smart tactical operations.

        3. Procedures – a couple in particular:
        – Checklists… Concern about who replies on items on a checklist. Why must the pilot vice co-pilot say master arm – search power are off? The only reason I see is that it may confuse someone if it isn’t the same person every time – it’s harder to think outside of the box while flying.
        – Standoffs… Obviously posting “in the red” here (oh how I’m sick of “P-3isms”), but why do we add standoffs to standoffs to standoffs? It’s because we’re playing to the lowest common denominator.

        I’m sure I could think of others, but I believe that my above critique is more of a legitimate concern than saying we don’t have go getters, we’re all failures, etc. I know a few pretty good pilots in VP, and the attitude that we are not good is what causes all these fall backs to lowest common denominators.

  8. #10 by dear boss, I quit on 12September2011 - 8:07 pm

    Well, I’ve had it. I just dropped my letter. It is as simple as this. The P-3 community sucks, and isn’t going to get better any time soon. 9 years of learning how not to be a leader by watching my chain of command. The reasons to go are many, and the only reasons to stay seem to be pension and healthcare. That’s not enough to motivate me to put up with endless queep, and all the other soul-sucking, pointless bullshit. I’m going to fly in the reserves (Not VP), and work either a 9-5 or the airlines. This community ruined my 20’s. I’m taking my 30’s. Eat shit P-3 community. Will the last good dude to leave please turn out the lights.

    • #11 by 3P for life on 27October2011 - 1:40 pm

      This was the blog that made me say, “Finally, someone said it!”

      I know it may be the wrong attitude to have but I feel just like this guy (or girl). All this intellectual discussion is just that, discussion. I think with enough people and time maybe our generation of aviators (those of us who aren’t douche-holes) can make a positive change in this asinine community but at the cost of what? We would drive ourselves mad trying to affect any positive and lasting change in this grinding, maddening machine. What’s the other option, quit… an equally unpalatable one. So, we serve our time, try to be the best leaders for our people, do what we have to when we have to, ALWAYS take a good deal at the expense of “our career” and enjoy the fact that we NEVER live on a boat, we bank per diem every det and deployment and (at least for me) live in Hawaii as a 27 year old with LOTS of money and friends. Then, we walk away when out time us up and go make something meaningful of our lives.

  9. #12 by Haywood on 14September2011 - 11:39 am

    Voltaire, I never once claimed to have a coherent thought that’s why the mediocrity of the P-3 community is so comforting and warm. It is being surrounded by the dim that reminds the bright that they are not the best of the best but instead are the best of the worst. Begint he richest best looking guy in the bar doesn’t make you rich and cool necessarily if that bar is in the Philipines. It isn’t that the job sucks that bad, its just that it wasn’t as cool as we had hoped. The reality is we get away skipping out all together or with doing jack shit for hours on end which would get you fired outside the government.

  10. #13 by good riddance on 14September2011 - 11:28 pm

    I can understand the desire to rant – I’ve done it many times. But, the best thing about this blog is that it attempts to put forth a nuanced view of the community. I agree that the community isn’t great, but I don’t think it is evil either. It’s certainly not all good, but I believe that it’s also not all bad. To not acknowledge that is simple-minded.

    You don’t think that you’ll have to deal with some “soul-sucking, pointless bullshit” at your 9 to 5 or with an airline? There wasn’t anyone in your P-3 chain of command who set an example of good leadership? Or is it you that is the problem?

    What I like about this blog is that, unlike your comment, it’s smarter than just, “eat shit P-3 community.”

    • #14 by good riddance on 16September2011 - 8:48 pm

      of course, the comment above is in reply to “dear boss, I quit”

  11. #15 by Cato on 23October2011 - 5:06 pm

    1st – Haywood not everyone wanted to be a jet pilot, plenty of people came to VP because they wanted to fly but wanted a nice lifestyle and to make some money. And even those of us who wanted to fly jets don’t blame our primary onwing years later. You didn’t get jet grades, own it!

    2nd – We are our own worst enemy. Tactical proficiency is not at the core of the community. If we are going to bill ourselves as ‘warriors of MPRA’ we need to live up to that. We need to aggressively pursue excellence in our war fighting capability. Not providing fellatio to our egos by convincing ourselves we are completing a mission because our ontop time is high, our sortie completion rates are high, and our mishap rates are low.

    3rd – This community needs to breakdown the myth that Fleet IP – RAG instructor – Boat – DH tour is the ONLY way to produce good squadron COs. Quite frankly its intellectual incest to produce a community of people who have ALL had the exact same experiences. Diversifying our collective knowledge and sending qualified people to other places post fleet tour should be seen as a good thing, not a death sentence. We already aren’t taken seriously in the Navy because we dont land on a boat, and like it or not Naval Aviation is moving more and more boat centric. As HSM takes off more and more aviators are going to have experience at carrier. And it doesnt help that when we show up for CORDOPS we look like ass clowns because we cant talk on the radios and we cant operate in their world.

    • #16 by 3P for life on 27October2011 - 2:07 pm

      You make a good point. I, for instance, selected P-3s out of primary for all the reasons you mentioned. I came in thinking this was the best community in the navy, a comical prospect to those long-time cynics I’m sure. But everything since the moment I stepped foot inside VP-30 has been a colossal disappointment. All the problems with the community you listed in ‘2nd’ and ‘3rd’ are problems originating at the top. That top is constantly being replenished by moron 0-4s and uninspiring COs and XOs. Perhaps I have become too cynical for my own good, but what ways can you (or anyone) REALLY see to affect change that is both meaningful and long lasting? Just to make it into a position where you can MAKE change, you have to subject yourself to years of the constant mind-numbing rhetoric of our “community’s thought process” (a term coined by one of my most irritating 0-4s). That shit wears you down after a while. You either quit before you get there or you become the same soulless, unimaginative, statistics-obsessed, party line-toting 0-4 as all the other douche-holes that went before you

      • #17 by Harvey Dent on 16October2012 - 3:11 pm

        You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

  12. #18 by Anonymous on 20January2012 - 11:39 pm

    I blame NFO’s! Self loading baggage I say. I would make them wear flight attendant uniforms if able. The difference between NFO’S and a Aviator’s is that when we go to bars, we don’t tell chicks we do their job!

    • #19 by NFO on 29November2012 - 1:03 pm

      Sit down and drive, monkey!

      • #20 by Not a P3 Choad on 15November2015 - 2:22 am

        God damn you are both choads.

    • #21 by Slip McGurk on 15November2015 - 2:46 am

      I would rather tell a girl I jerk off monkeys at the zoo than tell her I’m a P-3 pilot. P-4 pilots are butt hurt because they are the worst thing coming out of Primary. P-3 NFO’s are jaded because they are lied to from day one, regardless of capability or potential.

      I may have hated being an NFO, but don’t you ever make the mistake of thinking I’d rather suck myself off another ten feet forward in a P-3.

  13. #22 by ryndvs on 5July2012 - 9:32 pm

    When i stumbled upon this blog, i started reading with the hopes of learning something. Instead, it seems that i have found a P3 ashtray, a place to complain about leadership, quality of performance, and turn it our pink slips. Whining about your community and referring to your peers as douche bags is contributing to the very thing you’re complaining about. Similar to a dog chasing its tail. I would like to think that a group of educated people who raised their right hand would have the ability and courage to address problems with valid solutions. I’m sure having conversations in the ward room would be more productive than in a blog that generates little to know traffic. I understand that attitude can be a reflection of leadership so i hope your leader is open to your solutions. I also hope you’re open to my mine.


    • #23 by GoFTS on 29October2016 - 8:30 pm

      This blog isn’t for you. The discussions are above your pay grade. You come here and run your mouth (with spelling and grammar errors), then finish with no solutions. Just do your best to enjoy the happy work environment that we provide for you by shielding you from the massive incompetence at the O5 and above levels.

      -A Mustang

      • #24 by Dr. Zhivago on 7February2017 - 4:03 am

        Tell em like it is. Be happy they don’t have to see the daily incompetence that we do.

  14. #25 by Anonymous on 12July2012 - 10:08 pm

    Y’all are a bunch of homos that wear pickle suits

  15. #26 by I'ma on 13July2014 - 8:58 pm

    How about that O-4 promotion board? Anyone still think big Navy gives a flying fvck about you?? 1st tour EP, 2nd tour EP, shooter = Not good enough to make O-4. Lots of dudes that hit all of the wickets did not get promoted. I wish them all the best at the airlines, or in heading back to school for that EMBA or MD degree! “Dear boss, I quit” above had the right idea all along.

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