SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- They called it "dozing for dollars." Pilots with the California Air National Guard 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno had a lucrative arrangement: After their normal day jobs flying F-16 Fighting Falcon warplanes, they often grabbed shifts on alert at full pay.
Alert duty is akin to what firefighters do at the station house, waiting for an alarm to sound. Pilots must be available to "scramble" – intercept enemy air attacks, or intervene in another emergency.
They wait for the call in a ready room near their jets, surfing the Web, working out, eating, talking with colleagues, watching TV or sleeping – hence the "dozing" moniker used half in jest by some Guard members.
Alert duty helped some of the Fresno pilots boost their annual salaries by tens of thousands of dollars. But in the process, going back to at least 2008 they violated U.S. law and military regulations against "double dipping" – more than one payday on the same calendar day – according to a recent federal audit.
A Bee investigation found that the Fresno payment practices likely started years earlier and that the pilots are the subject of a criminal investigation by the federal Air Force Office of Special Investigations. That agency declined to provide details about its probe.
Read the full story at sacbee.com