4th FG Administration
The 4th Fighter Group is structured as closely as possible to the military model with accommodations made for the fact that it operates as a strictly voluntary effort within the WarBirds game.
The purpose of this administrative scheme is to:
- Provide for the most faithful replication of the historical 4th possible within WarBirds
- Allow a large number of pilots to cooperate as a Fighter Group efficiently
- Enhance the enjoyment of the WarBirds experience for all pilots of the 4th
The following administrative SOPs are always subject to revision in order to better meet the above goals.
The 4th Fighter Group is organized into three squadrons:
- 334th Fighter Squadron (71 Sqdn. RAF) – insignia QP
- 335th Fighter Squadron (121 Sqdn. RAF) – insignia WD
- 336th Fighter Squadron (133 Sqdn RAF) – insignia VF
Each squadron is organized into one or more flights. A flight is four or fewer pilots working together, grouped into elements of two pilots (wing leader, wingman).
New members joining the 4th Fighter Group will initially be assigned to the 337th Training squadron for skills assessment and/or desired training. Once a member’s commitment to flying in the Squadron Select Series (S3) – for squadron members only – they will be reassigned to the squadrons within the 4th FG.
2.1. Chain of Command
Responsible for the leadership of the 4th. Responsible for writing or soliciting write ups for the Mission of the Week and leading the 4th during MOWs. Responsible for hosting or delegating the 4th Fighter Group Web presence. Primary point of contact for official 4th FG business. Responsible for Group training.
Deputy Commander with same responsibilities as CO
4th FG XO
Serves as CO’s wingman. Assumes CO duties in the absence of the CO/CV or in the event the CO/CV is lost to hostile action. Writes Missions of the Weekly S3 as needed. Secondary point of contact for official 4th FG business.
4th FG AO
Group Administrative Officer. Responsible for updating and maintaining a current 4 FG Roster, Promotion letters, Awards letters, and Web site maintenance.
Group Training Officer. Responsible for all training standards and activities. Responsible for creating and maintaining the training manual. Responsible for cadet evaluation and performance.
Squadron Commander (SC)
Responsible for leadership of either the 334th, 335th, or 336th Fighter Squadron. Reviews the Mission of the Week to include additional detail needed for that squadron’s role. Responsible for suggesting awards and promotions within the SC’s squadron. Responsible for Squadron training and evaluation.
Same duties as with Group XO but pertaining to the squadron level.
Responsible for the leadership of a flight of four or fewer planes. Responsible for Flight training. Reports to Squadron Commander.
Responsible for the leadership of an element of two planes. Reports to Flight Leader.
Responsible for own development. Reports to Element Leader.
2.2. Ranks, Promotions, and Demotions
Eighteen months service with excellent attendance. Demonstrated command ability has shown through performance as a Group CO or XO or Squadron Commander. Demonstrated history of service to the Fourth and to the WarBirds community.
One year service with excellent attendance. Demonstrated command ability has shown through performance as a Squadron Commander or Squadron XO. Demonstrated a history of service to the Fourth and/or the WarBirds community.
Three months service with good attendance. Demonstrated command ability has shown through performance as an Element Leader.
One month service with 4 “Mission of the Week” flown. Biography submitted to Roster Administrator.
4th Fighter Group new recruits begin as 2nd Lieutenants.
Promotions, and Demotions
Promotion and demotion of 4th Fighter Group pilots are handled in the following manner:
- Squadron Commander recommends pilot for change in rank
- Other Squadron Commanders offer opinions
- Commanding Officer approves or denies change in rank
- If approved, a pilot is informed by his Squadron Commander and may accept or refuse the promotion.
- If accepted, change is sent to Roster Administrator for posting, and a message is sent to the Fourth.
Promotions and Demotions will no longer be handled using a ‘promotions points’ system. Mission performance will still be tracked for purposes of a squadron and individual improvement, and will still be considered in promotion considerations.The following ranks exist within the 4th Fighter Group and are listed below along with promotion guidelines: Command ability may be demonstrated through temporary duty as well as through the regular performance in a leadership role.Demotions are typically imposed only when a pilot flagrantly breaches the principles of the Fourth Fighter Group as stated in the Mission Statement and thus causes injury to the good name of the Group.Poor mission performance is not a reason for demotion. All pilots progress at their own rate and every pilot suffers from a “bad night” or a slump.
2.3. Awards and Decorations
Awards and decorations are awarded for valorous conduct over and above what is normally expected of a Fourthman and for participation in major scenarios. A list of available commendations is available through our public web presence. RAF Awards Conspicuous Gallantry Medal Distinguished Service Order Distinguished Flying Cross1939-1945 Star Battle of Britain Clasp (Silver-gilt Rosette on 1939-45 Star)Africa Star (Tobruk Campaign)Commendations are awarded through the following process:
- Any pilot may recommend another for an award. The recommendation should specify the award to be received and detail the actions of the recommended pilot. Recommendations may also come from outside of the 4th Fighter Group.
- The recommendation is reviewed by the pilot’s Squadron Commander.
- If approved, the recommendation is brought before the entirety of the Squadron Commanders and the CO.
- If approved, the Roster Administrator is notified to post the award and the pilot is recognized before the entire Fourth.
- The Roster Administrator constructs a page detailing the award utilizing the original recommendation and any other applicable source, including the recognized pilot’s words of acceptance.
Medal of Honor
Action above and beyond the call of duty, risking life where otherwise life would not be at risk, and exceptionally aiding the cause in doing so. Action should clearly merit the Medal of Honor in any pilot’s eyes, and this award can only be earned in an organized scenario.
Distinguished Service Cross
Action not deserving of a Medal of Honor but exceptionally valorous may be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The Cross may only be earned in an organized scenario with very rare and extraordinary circumstance.
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal
The Purple Heart
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness Medal
Outstanding Airman of the Year
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
The ‘ideal’ size for the 4th Fighter Group is three squadrons of two flights each plus a Headquarters flight. This number would only be valid if every pilot was always capable and willing to fly each mission. Since this is not the case, the Fourth desires to maintain a membership of more than 26 pilots so that a suitable number of pilots is available for squadron events. Fourthmen are always welcome to recruit and to field inquiries about membership in the 4th Fighter Group. Potential new members should be welcomed and their information forwarded to the Group CO. New Fourthmen may request a particular squadron, or a Fourthmen may request that a new pilot flies for a particular squadron, the CO may override these requests in the interests of number and skill balancing between the squadrons. Potential Fourthmen who have not yet joined are welcome to fly with the 4th at any time and may be subscribed to the Fourthmen mailing list for a period of time. If the pilot elects not to join within a reasonable time frame or if the pilot joins another squadron, the Mailing List Administrator should cull the mailing list. No pilot is allowed access to the 4th Fighter Group Standard Operating Procedures who is not officially a member of the 4th Fighter Group. Fourthmen should not divulge the SOP area login username or password to any individual outside of the Group. A temporary exception may be made for press inquiries with the prior permission of the Group CO and a separate username and password will be established for such use. The Fourth Fighter Group has no ‘provisional’ membership; new inductees are full members from the moment they accept an invitation to join. New members will initially be assigned to the 337th Training Squadron for skill assessment and assistance in any training necessary or desired. Once a new member’s commitment to flying in the Squadron Select Series (S3) has been ascertained he will be reassigned to a position within one of the squads of the 4th FG.
2.4.1. 4th FG obligations to the Enlistee
The Fourth Fighter Group is obliged to grant access to the Standard Operating Procedures within one day of a new pilot’s induction into the 4th, and the new pilot should also at that time be subscribed to the Fourthman mailing list should he not already be subscribed. The new pilot’s squadron mates, Squadron Commander, and the Group CO have a special obligation to instruct the new pilot on 4th Fighter Group procedures and to accelerate the pilot’s training in the use of 4th Fighter Group aircraft. The SOP manual may be of aid but should not be considered to be sufficient in this process.
2.4.2. Enlistee’s obligations to the 4th FG.
The new pilot should set his Warbirds handle to reflect membership in the 4th Fighter Group at the earliest opportunity and certainly within one week of induction. Individual variation is allowed and encouraged but the phrase “4th FG” must be present. Ideally, pilots should also include their squadron affiliation (ex. “Foo <334th FS/4th FG>”); this is optional as WarBirds imposes a 20-character limit on handles. Optionally the pilot’s rank may be included in the handle as well.The new pilot should make the utmost effort to attend 4th FG formal and informal missions. It is expected that new pilots will attend 75% or more of the squadron events in their first month of membership. Exceptions will be granted in the event that the pilot is unexpectedly burdened by outside obligations. It is the job of a new pilot to provide to the Admin Officer a short biography of himself within one month of joining the 4th Fighter Group. At the pilot’s option, he may also arrange with the Admin Officer for a customized airplane graphic to appear on the roster web pages. It is required of all Fourthmen that they fly only for Green in the General Arenas. The requirements of scenarios and other special events may obligate a Fourthman to fly under a different color and thus no color restrictions are placed on Fourthmen outside of the General Arenas.
2.5. Mission of the Week (MOW)
The Fourth Fighter Group conducts weekly planned formal missions. These are the lifeblood of squadron activity and every effort should be made on the part of Fourthmen to actively participate in the planning and execution of MOWs. The Group CO is obligated to provide a description of the week’s mission no fewer than three days before each mission. For example, for a Tuesday mission, the CO should mail out a MOW description on or before the prior Saturday. The time meeting place, planeset, and objectives including success criteria for any MOW must be included in each week’s MOW description. Squadron Commanders may at their discretion (but are highly encouraged to) expound on the MOW description provided by the CO and develop more detailed plans in collaboration with their squadron. They may set higher standards than those set by the CO. 4th Fighter Group pilots should arrive at the arranged locale at or before the designated time. Pilots who are tardy impose their unpreparedness on the rest of the Group. At the beginning and end of each mission, statistics will be collected for later analysis; this is the job of the Group CO or Group Statistician. These are used to award kills on the roster pages and for the enjoyment and betterment of the Group. The 4th is not interested in “score chasing” and it is recognized that factors that are not (or cannot) be measured with statistics are as or more important to the success of a mission than those that are measured. At the close of each mission, a debriefing will be held at the 4th Fighter Group briefing room. The debriefing may vary in duration, and afterward informal flying will commence for pilots that choose to return to the arena.
The current 4th FG Schedule is as follows,4thFG Schedule
Wednesday: WarBirds III — Mission of the Week (mandatory) 8:30 pm EST
Sunday: S3 Event (mandatory) 8:30pm EST
2.7. War Weary
During the normal course of events, it may occur that pilots of the 4th Fighter Group must retire from active participation in squadron activities for an extended period of time for any of a number of reasons.It is expected that pilots will notify their Squadron Commander, the Group CO, and the Admin Officer via electronic mail. The Admin Officer will then designate that pilot as “War Weary” until the pilot returns. Pilots designated “War Weary” in this fashion will retain their rank and commission indefinitely.Pilots who fail to notify the above-named officials will be designated “War Weary” as well after one month of inactivity. Such “AWOL” War Weary pilots may be replaced with new recruits if necessary to maintain an active squadron. No pilot will be replaced simply for being War Weary, even if “AWOL,” but if host-imposed limitations on squadron size make it impossible to induct a new Fourthman, “AWOL” pilots may be decommissioned. It is hoped that no such action should ever need to be taken.