High Flyer Grounded

Again, perhaps we shouldn’t extrapolate too much from this, but…

The first female pilot to lead the U.S. Air Force’s Viper team was asked to leave after two weeks on the job, the Air Force Times reported.

Capt. Zoe Kotnik was commander of the F-16 Viper Demo Team, a fleet that performs complicated aerial stunts at widely seen events such as the Super Bowl.

Col. Allen Herritage, director of public affairs at Air Combat Command, stated that Col. Derek O’Malley, 20th Fighter Wing commander, relieved Kotnik of command due to his “loss of confidence in her ability to lead and command.”

Two weeks. Either the selection process is incapable of weeding out those who lack the “ability to lead and command” or it was deliberately compromised for political reasons. I know which option I’d stake the contents of my wallet on.

Kotnik’s hiring was announced on Twitter on Jan. 29, showing a photo of her with the caption, “In that instant, she knew she could fly her F-16 higher, further and faster than anyone else.”

One thing I will say for the current crop of empowered women gunning for top leadership positions, they’re not lacking in self-belief. Unfortunately, it seems in this case it was misplaced.

The unit will now be commanded by Maj. John Waters, who led the Viper team last year.

The real injustice here is that, absent the railroading of Kotnik into the position, a more suitable candidate would have taken it. That person lost out on the job he deserved, all so the top brass could tick a diversity box.

(Via Kevin Michael Grace)


15 thoughts on “High Flyer Grounded

  1. She will continue to serve in “non-supervisory role” in the Air Force’s 20th Fighter Wing, said Capt. Alannah Staver, a spokesperson for the unit.

    Its quite possible that she is a bloody good pilot but a bad leader and man manager. In the Army in my day they came to be known as NEWTs (Not Employable With Troops). Despite all the training and testing its hard to find out someone’s true capabilities until they are put in a pressure situations. Some of them go on to become good staff officers – someone has to be good at all that detailed planning.

    If I had to guess I’d say she turned out to be a little Hitler and those in her command rebelled on the grounds of safety, both their own and the public’s.

  2. In such a job it only needs one tiny mistake and everybody’s remains will be fluttering to Earth. I imagine the rest of the team just said “Not flying with her trying to lead” –otherwise matters would have been whitewashed. To sign on to risk your life in combat is one thing. Losing your life so your twat bosses can virtue signal–to leftists who despise you anyway–is quite another.

  3. Didn’t the first female Red Arrow get fired for shagging the married boss? Probably a great pilot but bad for morale on the team.

  4. *One thing I will say for the current crop of empowered women gunning for top leadership positions, they’re not lacking in self-belief.*

    Yeah, there’s a lot of that about thanks to the self-esteem industry and relentless “you can do anything, you go girl” propaganda.

    It’s a shame that the most self-evident truths can be wilfully denied, with all official approval, and wishful thinking given every artificial advantage in the destructive testing phase, while imperilling lives of the untouchables (men).

  5. For every female pilot in uniform, there are ten men who are better qualified for the job. Several of whom will have lost out on the opportunity to get wings in a lopsided PC contest fixed in favour of crack troops. After all, it’s not just about flying planes (although my point would remain the same); it’s about leading men in action, and dealing with some pretty horrific stuff when the wings fall off and you end up in the hands of the backwards ****s you or your chums have recently been trying to kill.

    But this princess won’t have been relieved of command for incompetence, because incompetence is no bar to success. About the only way she could’ve been sacked after two weeks (ie before she had time to order a squadron coffee mug with her own name on it) is if she got bolshy and publicly told her new CO to go get nicked. One of the few situations where where not even vagina power can carry you past your own limitations.

    From my experience, the correct percentage of women in uniform is ‘zero’.

  6. David Baker: Yes. Total lack of self control on the part of her and of Red One. They are now married & run another display team. Sadly she has made it impossible for any other female fast jet pilots in the RAF to join the Red Arrows, probably before they are eventually disbanded:(

  7. Surprised she was still only a captain. Perhaps she would have made Major during the tour. I believe Red One in the Red Arrows is always a Squadron Leader.

  8. This almost has to be because of some kind of inappropriate relationship. I can’t imagine what else would get you fired in 2 weeks.

  9. Regardless of gender: Captain has inferior leadership skills than Major – surprise for who?

    Capt. Zoe Kotnik role promotion “deliberately compromised for political reasons” – Yes

  10. “In US Military?”

    In the bits that do the hiring and firing, yes. Just as the UK forces have become infested with SJW thinking, I’ll bet the US Forces have too, at the higher management levels. Grunt level would be solidly Trump for sure, but the brass hats? Hillary men for sure.

  11. No telling at the present time what the actual cause was for her relief. Could have been substantive, could have been trivial.

    The US Air Force is seriously weird about some stuff, and even more seriously strange about what it prioritizes, in terms of leadership.

    I ran into a former soldier of mine, who’d gotten out of the Army, gone to college, and then got his commission in the Air Force. At the time I we chatted, he was being court martialed.

    Court martialed, you say? For what, you ask? For having his single airmen who lived in the dormitories come over to his quarters and feeding them Thanksgiving dinner. That got him charged with what they were calling fraternization. In the Army, not doing something like that would be what got you into trouble…

    In any event, he was seriously bemused by the whole thing, and was on the verge of chucking his military career. When I ran into him, I was with my then-boss, who also knew him from days of old in the Army, and his advice was that our Air Force guy needed to take what was happening seriously, and retain a civilian lawyer, rather than try to fight it informally as he was. His problem was that he couldn’t quite take what was happening seriously, and was sure that once it got in front of the “right people”, it would be quashed. Final outcome? He and his expensive lawyer barely eked out getting him the officer equivalent of an honorable discharge, and his career in the Air Force was ended. He’d come a hairsbreadth from doing a couple of years in prison.

    Nuts, right? That’s the Air Force for ya–If you’re a bomber pilot boinking the husbands of your aircraft maintenance people, you’ll get a comparative slap on the wrist. Go around the dorms, pull out the singles with no family that are stuck there for a holiday, take them home… You’ll do hard time for fraternization with the lower enlisted.

    Every time I hear of anything regarding Air Force disciplinary matters, I remember that case. There’s no telling what actually happened, or if she did anything wrong. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t–And, without access to the evidence, most of us will never know.

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