Air Force Losing Elite Fighting Force:

For years, Tops in Blue has been derided by airmen who think it’s an outdated waste of money that should be shut down. But those complaints have been ignored — until now.

The Air Force announced in a release Monday it is canceling the 2016 season of its traveling song-and-dance troupe to allow “an extended review of the program.” The Air Force had directly asked rank-and-file airmen — for the first time — what they think of the group in October.

The results were not kind to Tops in Blue.


The first survey sent to 4,674 people — 2,249 enlisted airmen, 961 officers and 1,464 civilian employees — found “wide awareness of Tops in Blue among airmen,” the release said. About half of those surveyed said they would attend one of the concerts in the future…

…Some airmen feel it’s a welcome, family-friendly entertainment. Other airmen, however — including some former members of the band — feel it’s a waste of morale, welfare and recreation money. Those airmen say most don’t enjoy the programs, and in some cases, they allege airmen have been forced to attend shows.

In 2015, Tops in Blue had a budget of at least $1.3 million, including more than $1 million in MWR funds. That’s a nearly 13 percent increase from 2014