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Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Congrats Mike and Wolfe!

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Colonels Mike Martin and Wolfe Davidson, two great Special Tactics Officers I served with in various assignments as company grade officers, have been selected for promotion to Brigadier General. Both are rock solid. This is as great news for the Air Force as it is for the Special Tactics Community.

SERE meets SPEAR: Specialists Convene for Unique Combative Course

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. —
Your transport aircraft has just crashed in a remote and hostile environment. You and only a handful of other troops have survived the crash. As you survey the surroundings, you notice a crowd of local inhabitants running toward the wreckage screaming wildly, with brows furrowed and fists clenched. The level of fear inside you begins to skyrocket. You’re now scanning the crowd for its weakest links, trying to formulate a progressive strategy with the little time you have before they make contact. Which combative system are you most confident to employ in order to save your own life?

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(USAF photo by Senior Airman Chris Drzazgowski)

Self-defense is a major component of support provided by Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists to troops who have a high risk of isolation in theater, such as downed-pilots and operators.

Late last month, SERE specialists across the 23d Wing, along with Pararescuemen from the 68th Formal Training Unit convened at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to attend a one-week personal defense course led by a special guest.

“The intent of this week’s instruction was to give these Air Force SERE specialists the qualifications required to teach the SPEAR System as subject matter experts,” said Tony Blauer, founder of Blauer Tactical Systems Inc., and SPEAR coach. “We augmented the system and customized it with specific capture avoidance and SERE-type nuances — specific scenarios you wouldn’t see in a regular fight.”

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Tony Blauer, founder of Blauer Tactical Systems Inc., and SPEAR coach, instructed SERE specialists and other Guardian Angel counterparts in order to qualify them to teach the SPEAR System to personnel across the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chris Drzazgowski)

The Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response System takes advantage of the human body’s startle/flinch mechanism to convert an aggressor’s attack into a tactical counter measure, according to Blauer.

“We weaponize the flinch,” Blauer said. “By combing the old brain’s most important function, to survive, with the new brain’s intelligence, to think and decide, we have reawakened a non-perishable personal defense system that can make every human being safer.”

To implement a strong foundation of Blauer’s system into future SERE training, a collaborative effort was necessary among the SERE specialists to maintain and distribute a uniform understanding of SPEAR.

“In the 23d Wing, we’ve got Nellis, D-M and Moody,” said Tech. Sgt. Nick, SERE specialist. “All the C-130 and HH-60 guys, and all the PJs within the 23d Wing — we all see the same people, so we’re all getting together to share the same information across the wing.”

Currently, Modern Army and Special Operations Combatives Programs are administered by SERE specialists.

“There are so many different combative programs in the military already,” Sergeant Nick said. “I did a lot of research and looked at what we were already teaching. In order to make this continuation training, I needed a system out there that builds upon what we already have. I saw his system and it directly translated into what we teach.”

The practical application and versatility of the SPEAR System has gained much popularity among police, first-responders, and the military. Blauer has spent three decades researching real violence and has reverse-engineered a system of close quarters entirely based on how fear and danger can afflict tactical performance.

“We teach them how people move,” Blauer said. “Everything from the extreme close quarter is built on a premise determining that the bad guy controls the fight, the location, the level of violence and the duration of the fight, so I need to figure out how to beat him. This is a new paradigm in strategic thinking. It’s brain-based and allows the defender to be much more responsive.”

When the specialists weren’t executing drills on the mats, they were engaged in analytical classroom discussions.

“Those real fights are completely different challenges, emotionally and psychologically, the duress is different, and then the movement patterns of the attacks are different,” Blauer said. “What we do is we use body cam, helmet cam, dashboard video and closed circuit TV to study how real violence looks and moves. As valuable as martial arts are, the real fight is different. Our approach is to study the enemy and move from there.”

Upon the training’s conclusion, SERE specialists and other Guardian Angel counterparts are now able to tailor a specific program for their customers across the Air Force.

“The most important lesson from this week is the realization that we’re all human weapon systems,” Blauer said. “Everybody knows how to fight, they just don’t know they know how to fight. Realize you don’t need a martial art belt, you don’t need a level, you don’t need to win tournaments, you need to have the ‘I don’t want to die, I’m gonna fight’ mentality.”

Just before Blauer departed Davis-Monthan AFB, the course attendees presented him with a gift signifying their gratitude for a week of exclusive and in-depth instruction.

“I really appreciated Tony Blauer coming out here himself,” Sergeant Nick said. “He’s the CEO of his company and he could have sent another trainer to come out here and train us — but the level of instruction, professionalism and customer service he provided was phenomenal — I consider Tony a friend now.”

Senior Airman Chris Drzazgowski, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Quantico Tactical Thursday  – US Air Force Authorizes SureFire’s Entire Line-Up of Weapon Lights

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Attention US Air Force units: The newly released US Air Force Small Arms/Light Weapons Accessories list has authorized the entire line-up of SureFire Scout Weaponlights for all M4 and M4A1 users throughout the Air Force. Previously, only two kits utilizing the M600 Scout light were authorized.

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Now, the M600V, M600U, M603V, M300C, and M300V (famously popular within the USSOCOM community) are all authorized for use, along with the dual-switch “DS” tailcap assembly and dual pressure switch assembly that also allows for control of PEQ series laser aiming units.

With the authorization of this family of SureFire weapon lighting tools, a unit can tailor their weaponlights to their capabilities and mission.

For a quote or more information about Quantico Tactical or SureFire’s line-up of weapon lighting tools, please e-mail GovtOps@QuanticoTactical.com , call 910.944.5800 or visit www.QuanticoTactical.com.

Happy 70th Birthday US Air Force!

Monday, September 18th, 2017

AFCENT Updates Dress And Appearance Instruction; Does This Signal Changes Coming Air Force-Wide?

Friday, September 1st, 2017

AFCENT has published a major update to USAFCENTI-36-2903, “Dress and Appearance of AFCENT Air Force Personnel”. AFCENT is the air arm of US central Command and if there’s a part of the USAF that is at war 24/7, this is it. With even just a casual look at this Instruction, you can see that it is completely operationally focused, with no mention of dress uniforms. While we offer a summary of changes below, the biggest change is the guidance regarding wear of MultiCam/OCP uniforms.

The following uniforms are authorized as the Uniform of the Day (UOD) for Airmen assigned throughout AFCENT: the Airman Combat Uniform (ACU – previously referred to as multi-cam or OCP), the Fire Resistant-Airman Combat Uniform (FR-ACU), the Desert Flight Duty Uniform (DFDU), or the Airman Aircrew Combat Uniform (A2CU).

This is obviously great news for Middle-East-bound Airmen, but its timing makes us wonder if this is the first of a major uniform and camouflage change for the entire Air Force.

Based on conversations during base visits by CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright, like the one to Hurlburt seen above, rumors have been flying that the Air Force will soon announce a switch from the ill-named Airman Battle Uniform, in service since 2006, to the Army Combat Uniform and its Operational Camouflage Pattern.

According to USAFCENTI-36-2903, that uniform is now referred to as the Airman Combat Unifom when worn by Air Force personnel. While AFCENT has specified a wearout date for the legacy ABU of October 2018, that is only specific guidance for Airmen deploying to the CENTCOM AOR. If the USAF does in fact adopt the ACU, the wearout date across the service will most likely be in the 2020s. Likewise, AFCENT’s requirement that Airmen deploy in OCP uniforms only in 2018, may foreshadow an Air Force-wide change beginning the same year.


U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ronnie Birge, mission crew commander assigned to the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, studies his computer monitor during a mission aboard an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft out of Al Udeid, Air Base, Qatar, July 27, 2017. The E-8C JSTARS aircraft and crew provide essential battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bradly A. Schneider/Released)

Major Revisions to AFCENTI 36-2903:
– Expanded wear guidance of the Airman Combat Uniform (ACU), all variations, which were previously referred to as OCPs, Multicam, or Scorpion Pattern
– Clarified guidance for ACU wear of patches, badges and insignias
– Clarification on the prohibition to mix and match camouflage patterns
– Clarification of the wear of rings
– Standard Uniform Postures have been removed but may be addressed in local guidance
– Authorized AEW or AEG/CCs to dictate wear of Airman Combat Shirt (ACS) for those who work outdoors
– Authorized ball caps with ACUs
– Mandated wear of Commanders Insignia Pin

AFCENT will mandate AOR-wide wear of the ACU (non Fire Resistant version) in 2018 with further implementation timeline to follow.

I’ve been discussing the possibility of a major duty uniform change for the Air Force with fellow Veteran C Combs, and he shared his thoughts on this Instruction.

He notes that Air Force functional badges aren’t commonly available in OCP, and that such an undertaking certainly points to an Air Force-wide transition. In fact, the functional badge featured in the illustration in AFCENTI 36-2903 had to be digitally created.

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Additionally, he made mention of the return of Ball Caps which harken back to the Squadron ball caps of the 80s and 90s. Although, these certainly have a 21st century twist. Better make sure those are Berry compliant caps, AFCENT A4. That cap in the illustration looks suspiciously like it came from China.

Other Air Force personnel have noted the return of Unit insignia, a practice which went away with the adoption of the ABU. Between that and the retiring of unit ball caps there was little opportunity for personnel to show unit pride.

Airmen will also be allowed to wear earned FWSSI, or as more commonly known, combat patches on their new ACUs. Like the Army, they will also wear an American flag on the right sleeve of their uniform.

The Instruction also notes that “any ACU pattern uniform previously issued or acquired at no cost to the government should be worn by AFCENT personnel” which leaves plenty of room for unit issued uniforms by various manufacturers in MultiCam, as in the case of AFSOC and many Battlefield Airmen AFSCs. Let’s hope the AFI, when published, is as flexible.

Also, Sleeves may be cuffed up or folded under at the wrist. This is entirely too accommodating!

One issue did seem odd. While AFCENTI 36-2903 details which color thread can be used for insignia, they left out the color of thread for 1st LT, Capt, LT Col and Col, as well as the General Officer ranks. This color is probably the missing fourth color.

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Probably the best thing about this Instruction is that it drives the nail in the coffin of both the ABU and 8-point hat for wear by Airmen in a combat theater.

On a final note, it’s great to see that neither “blouse” nor “cover” were used in the Instruction. Thank you to the author(s).

Get your copy here.

US Air Force Adopts Magpul GEN M3 PMAG

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

According to a document entitled, “USAF Authorized Small Arms and Light Weapons (SA/LW) Accessories (as of 28 July 17)”, the US Air Force has followed USSOCOM and the Marine Corps’ lead and adopted the 30rd Magpul GEN M3 PMAG in both Black and Tan. Specifically, they are authorized for use with the M4/M4A1 Carbine, GUU-5P (sic) Carbine, and M249 Automatic Rifle (sic).

When queried about this update, Magpul issued us this statement:

“We are certainly pleased that another major service component has taken their own look at the test data and come to the same conclusion as the Marine Corps and USSOCOM. Given the body of existing data, the extensive fielding history since 2013, and the current experiences of the USMC after their adoption, we hope that Army leadership can put aside their concerns over the viability of their own magazine program and give soldiers the reliability advantage that is enjoyed by the USMC, USSOCOM, and now, the USAF, with the GEN M3 PMAG.”

According to the guidance, previously issued magazines are to be replaced by the GEN M3 PMAG through attrition. This highlighted extract contains the germane information (including NSNs). However, we offer the entire document here.

For those interested, GEN M3 PMAGs are available from www.magpul.com and authorized dealers.

Royal Air Force JTACs Integrate with US Counterparts

Monday, August 14th, 2017

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Members of England’s Royal Air Force recently spent time immersed with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.


An A-10C Thunderbolt II conducts a show of force maneuver during training, July 26, 2017, at Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range, Ga. The range features a moving target system, which is on a 1,000 foot long track that is remotely controlled by the control tower and can move back and forth to assist in training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andrea Jenkins)

The NATO allies visiting were Joint Terminal Attack Controllers tasked with building stronger ties with the 93rd AGOW in hopes of future integration opportunities.

“All the missions overseas aren’t integrating just the U.S. Armed Forces, but also our NATO forces,” said Master Sgt. Francisco Corona, the 93rd AGOW NCO in-charge of weapons and tactics. “So all the NATO forces are trying to train with us. I’d rather integrate in (training) where we can make mistakes and learn from them instead of making mistakes in a deployed location.”

Since 2001, U.S. and foreign JTACs have been in high demand as liaisons between Army ground commanders and Air Force assets.


U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force joint terminal attack controllers communicate with 23rd Fighter Group A-10C Thunderbolt IIs during a close air support training exercise, July 26, 2017, in Lakeland, Ga. Two Royal Air Force members recently spent time with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing to compare and contrast how each entity conducts business and to plan future coalition training events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

“As air-to-ground experts, we advise, assist and control for the ground commander to meet his intent, whether its kinetic effects, like bombs on targets, or getting smarter at cyberspace,” said Corona.

Both groups of JTACs said they’re no stranger to operating in coalition settings while deployed.

“While I was a JTAC in Afghanistan, the vast majority of our aircraft were U.S. aircraft,” said Squadron Leader Neil Beeston, the officer commanding Air Land Integration Cell. “It was great working with the U.S. Armed Forces, especially with the A-10s; it’s a fantastic aircraft. The troops on the ground know that when you’ve got a pair of them above you, you’re in pretty safe hands.”

While the JTACs and U.S. aircraft are skilled professionals, sometimes communication barriers exists between countries. Beeston’s colleague stressed the importance of hashing out common issues.

“The whole worldwide JTAC community has the same struggles,” said Flight Sergeant Simon Ballard, the chief instructor from the ALIC. “Since we’re going to be working together, we need to practice together before we go do that in the real world.”

Not having the allied JTAC community in sync and on par with each other could potentially lead to less-than-optimal situations, which in turn risks lives.

“We don’t want to learn how to work together in a war area of operations,” said Corona. “We’re flexible though, whether it’s [English] JTACs or whatever joint force JTACs, we make things happen and we’ll make it work.”


MSgt Francisco Corona, the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing NCO in charge of weapons and tactics, communicates with a fellow Joint Terminal Attack Controller during a close air support training exercise, July 26, 2017, in Lakeland, Ga. Two Royal Air Force members recently spent time immersing with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing to compare and contrast how each entity conducts business and plan future coalition training events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

After the gathering, troops returned to their leadership with proposals and plans to further integrate training scenarios, whether it be academic courses or mixing into each country’s exercises to further synchronization.

“The bonus for them is they’d be integrating with different Army divisions because the 93rd AGOW is spread over at least six Army divisions,” said Corona. “They’d get that opportunity, where there’s not many divisions they work with over in [England].”

While Corona is confident in U.S. JTACs, he said it’s all about continuing to get better, to maintain leading from the front.

“We’re figuring out how we go to the next level to continue to be the best JTACs in the world,” said Corona. “We’re going forward with a proficiency mindset, of ‘how do we get better,’ because at the end of the day, the better trained individuals are going to be the winners.”

By Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider, 23rd Wing Public Affairs

USAF’s Chair, Combat

Friday, August 11th, 2017

We recently showed you the Army’s developmental Combat Chair. Turns out the Air Force had previously fielded their version of a Combat Chair back in 2011. Naturally, it included a canopy and drink holder.  They don’t call it the Chair Force for nothing.

Thanks to Mike M for the gouge.