September 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 5 
Letters to the Editor

A reservist says thanks

August Frontiers coverTo Harry Stonecipher, Boeing president and CEO:

I am a member of the Illinois Air National Guard at Scott Air Force Base, 126th Air Refueling Wing, and work as a Maintenance Operations Controller on Boeing KC-135Es. I am one of the employees who were recognized for military service. I am writing this letter to express my thanks for the lump sum payment and for the way Boeing treats its Guard and Reservist employees.

I was on active duty for my two-week annual tour on Sept. 11, 2001, and it is a day I will never forget. I was very proud of my unit and the way we went from a peace role to a defense role within a matter of hours. It was not until March 21, 2003, that we were called to active duty, and I must say I am very proud I was called to serve.

I was on active duty for almost six months. I spent 10 weeks at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, where our unit served refueling U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines aircraft crossing the Atlantic Ocean on their way to the Persian Gulf area. I served without a worry as to how my family would be taken care of because of Boeing's great support and policies toward their Guard and Reservist employees. You insured us and made us feel that you would take care of us and support us by extending medical coverage and salary benefits.

While we are on active duty you also have great people taking care of us, making sure everything goes smoothly. My focal took care of everything, answered every question, and resolved every problem I had.

Your $3,000 lump-sum payment to recognize each person that served puts the icing on the cake. I am very proud not only to serve my country, but to say I work for Boeing. This is a great company and many others who I served with cannot say the same thing about their companies. Thank you so much for your support.

-Curtis Frost, St. Louis

These changes hurt

There were three significant events in the July issue of Boeing Frontiers: Stonecipher's column, the Letter to the Editor from Bob Feldt and the many articles on technical excellence. I have recently read a book titled "The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth" by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor. It contains a section titled "Core Competencies and the ROI (return on investment) Death Spiral." The text describes the business plan the company has committed to and that Feldt protested against.

As someone who has been involved in introducing new tools to people in Boeing, I have seen the eyes of the engineers light up when a new tool is introduced that would allow them to do better work than ever before. And it has brought tears to my eyes more than once when I recount how their faces go blank when they remind me that they will not be designing or building that product any more. The partners will do it. I wonder if Frontiers will be able to highlight great achievements in Boeing engineering in five years.

-John Finlayson, Seattle

Check that org chart

I am a Boeing employee who has a problem with the new organizational structure.

NASA programs should not be under an Integrated Defense Systems division. A NASA program is not a defense system! It is a civilian space program with exploration and utilization as its goals.

All Boeing shuttle, space station, commercial satellite and commercial launch business should be under a civilian/commercial division with human-oriented goals. Military use of space is a reality, but the "luxury" of maintaining a separate civilian space program should be encouraged as long as possible. The Boeing organization should reflect this confidence.

-Carl Konkel, Houston

How about some names?

The diversity article (August 2004) was very informative. However, I think the photos of the people you showed in the opening spread should have had their names and sites attached to them. Those who were selected to participate in this article are very important to their sites and they should have been identified.

-Michael Benson, Ridley Park, Pa.

MMA's 'specifications' vs. 'statistics'

Multi-mission Maritime AircraftIn the August 2004 Boeing Frontiers article titled "Teamwork won the day," about the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft contract win: I have a problem with the verbiage in the picture on page 14. The language in the header of the worded section is "737 MMA stats."

The abbreviation "stats" represents the word "statistics." The definition of statistics is "facts and data of a numerical kind, assembled, classified, and tabulated so as to present significant information about a given subject." My problem is this: Most human beings believe that statistics are based on things that actually exist. But an MMA will not exist for some time. For instance, no one can say, factually, that an MMA will (guaranteed) cost $3,000 less per flight hour than a P-3.

What I am saying may seem small and insignificant; however bragging, glossy, salesmanship language can be misinterpreted as a falsehood. I would suggest a header with language such as "Planned 737 MMA specifications" as a clearer, more accurate title. Everyone should be proud that the MMA contract was won, but Boeing needs to be mindful of perception and reality.

-Ricky Gerontis, Seattle

What makes the cut?

I was just wondering how someone goes about submitting an article to your magazine. Can they just write something, send it in to the mailing address, and then you all decide if it is Frontiers material? Or does one of your writers have to do the piece?

-Emily Hoelting, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Boeing Frontiers replies: In general, members of the Boeing Communications organization write the stories that appear in Boeing Frontiers. Our editorial mission is to provide context (the story behind the story) to the developments within Boeing. In other words, we aim to address the "how" and "why" about Boeing and its operations, strategies and people. Complementing the magazine's coverage is Boeing News Now, the company news page on the Boeing Web that provides the "who," "what," "where" and "when" of Boeing news. Boeing News Now, at, is updated twice a day and also features breaking news as events warrant.

If you have a story idea for Boeing Frontiers, you can contact us by e-mail at

It's been a privilege

I worked at the Mesa (Ariz.) helicopter plant for about 19 years and left in July 2001. I would like to say that I enjoyed the time I spent in Flight Test, especially the last 15 years. It was a great place to work and I will always be grateful for the privilege granted to me.

-Don Milligan, Tucson, Ariz.

'A good balance'

While I get annoyed at the letters complaining about lack of reference to the heritage companies that make up Boeing today, I think the letters are a good balance.

To the complainers: that was then and this is now. You are working for (or retired from) the greatest aerospace company in the world: Boeing. Get a life.

-Edward Saller, Anaheim, Calif.

Letters guidelines

Boeing Frontiers provides the letters page for readers to state their opinions. The page is intended to encourage an exchange of ideas and information that stimulates dialogue on issues or events in the company or the aerospace industry. The opinions may not necessarily reflect those of The Boeing Company. Letters must include name, organization and a telephone number for verification purposes. Frontiers may edit letters for grammar, syntax and size.

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