Majoring in minors?

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by Major Terry CamseyI’ve been reading, occasionally and for purely recreational purposes, through a book called The Stupidest Things Ever Said By Politicians. One particular passage caught my eye the other day and–as often happens–one thought led to another…

The article relates to a memo sent, apparently, from one Dennis M. Boggs, sometime Acting Chief, Manpower and Organization, Department of the Air Force. This is how it read (in the interests of space I will only quote a sampling)…

“The following Air Force Material Command (AFMC) units are redesignated as indicated.


Current Designation New Designation
377th Civil Engineering Squadron 377th Civil Engineer Squadron
HQ 645th Civil Engineering Group HQ 645th Civil Engineer Group
645th Civil Engineering Operations Squadron 645th Civil Engineer Operations Squadron
645th Civil Engineering Maintenance Squadron 645th Civil Engineer Maintenance Squadron
647th Civil Engineering Squadron 647th Civil Engineer Squadron
648th Civil Engineering Squadron 648th Civil Engineer Squadron
649th Civil Engineering Squadron 649th Civil Engineer Squadron
650th Civil Engineering Operations Squadron 650th Civil Engineer Operations Squadron


Can you spot the subtle change? Every reference to “Engineering” has been changed to “Engineer.” Deep stuff!

It reminded me of a similar list published a few years ago in one of the major London (UK) newspapers. The Salvation Army had transposed the descriptor “Secretary” from the front of a host of designated positions to the back. The whole listing was published questioning how The Salvation Army could possibly have managed for so many years without this kind of top leadership. I felt it was embarrassing for the Army. It certainly embarrassed me.

We now have another major change whereby it has been decreed we retired officers may no longer use the designation (R) after our names. We can use (Rtd) or (Retired) but not (R). This decision–made at the very highest level–has, apparently, been reached in the light of comments received from officers and from extensive discussion over past years. It seems that the meaning of the designation (R) is not immediately obvious.

Now, to be candid, it doesn’t matter one whit to me what designation follows my name. But (tongue in cheek), I wonder if (Rtd) is any clearer. Might it not–by some–be interpreted as “Rusted,” or “Rented,” or “Re-routed,” or “Retracted,” or “Retreaded”….

One retired officer suggested to me one or two other possible designations that may not have been considered… (DIS)–dismissed, (LG)–let go, (POTP)–put out to pasture, etc. Readers may have other suggestions.

But, what’s my point?

Simply this. How does such a change of designation facilitate accomplishment of our mission or achievement of goals? How can we afford to have “extensive discussions” on such trivial matters?

Shouldn’t we be asking this question of all we do: “How does this facilitate accomplishment of our mission or achievement of our vision?”

If we can’t answer the question, shouldn’t we question the action?

FOCUS – Each day a sacrament

FOCUS – Each day a sacrament

It was a typical night nearly a year ago

Volume 19, Number 19 — Contents

Volume 19, Number 19 — Contents

Note: The following National Policy Statement on “domestic partner

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