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Happy 67th Anniversary US Air Force

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Established September 18th, 1947, the United States Air Force is today comprised of more than 680,000 Airmen, made up of active duty, reservists, guardsmen and civilians, who support more than 5,600 aircraft, 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 63 satellites.

Our Air Force is the world’s preeminent air, space and cyberspace force with an ability to rapidly adapt to uncertainty, ensuring future success.

The US Air Force Might Not Be Adopting OCP Yet But Some Airmen Are Already Wearing It

Friday, September 5th, 2014

After the US Army’s recent announcement that they were switching wholesale to the Operational Camouflage Pattern, Airmen starting wondering if they were going to make the change as well next Summer. Well, not so fast. To be sure, the USAF has closely monitored the Army’s camouflaging efforts, but for the immediate future, the Air Force won’t be making an across the board uniform change. For home station wear, they are going to stick with the ill-named Airman Battlefield Uniform in glorious Digital Tigerstripe. Unfortunately, the Air Force’s vanity pattern sports the same grey-tones as the Army’s soon-to-be-replaced Universal Camouflage Pattern with an additional fourth color; Slate Blue. There’s a reason the Army is replacing UCP; it doesn’t live up to its name.

First Sergeant Recycles $250K in OCP Uniforms for Bagram Airmen
Photo: MSgt Nicholas Kollett, First Sergeant for the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron stands in front of shelves of recycled Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern uniforms at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 7, 2012. (US Air Force photo/Capt. Raymond Geoffroy)

But, Airmen have been wearing MultiCam since SOCOM first started issuing you it in the mid-2000s. AFSOC airmen continue to wear MultiCam garments to this day.

Battlefield Airmen Wearing MultiCam

Once the Army adopted MultiCam as OCP in 2009, Airmen operating in direct support of the Army began wearing it as well. Since then, more and more Air Force Elements wear the pattern. Officially, all Airmen deploying to OEF started receiving their OCP mobility gear from the Army’s stocks in 2011.

Operation Southern Strike III
Photo: USAF – SSgt Nathan Goedert, military dog handler, provides security during Operation Southern Strike III in the village of Jandad Kalay, Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2012.

Even today, those in several Battlefield Airman specialties wear MultiCam/OCP for their day-to-day uniforms. In fact, MultiCam has been spec’d for a wide variety of uniforms and equipment as part of the community’s Battlefield Airman Management System which procures and issues mission specific gear. Additionally, several related but non-BA specialties also regularly use OCP kit such as EOD. However, everyone wears the ABU to PME and other USAF courses. It’s the standard issue uniform for all Airmen.

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But now, something major has happened. USAF’s Global Strike Command has decided to issue OCP to many of its Security Forces. Specifically, Security Forces Airmen at three Air Force Global Strike Command bases, Minot AFB, North Dakota, Malmstrom AFB, Montana and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming as well as those in the 620th Ground Combat Training Squadron serving at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. After a mission analysis, the command determined that it was the best option for those protecting our Nuclear Deterrent capability. This new ensemble is called Model Defender by the command. Hopefully, it is a model for the future as well.

“What we were trying to do with this was build the best system for our nuclear defenders and the environment they operate in,” said Gregory Simpson, resource advisor for Security Forces contingency and requirements at AFGSC…”If you get in a firefight in the field and you’re laying down fire, who are you going to see first? Obviously that guy [in ABUs,]” said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Daigneault, senior enlisted manager for the Force Improvement Program at AFGSC. “The difference is almost night and day. Your eyes skim right over the guy in OCP and zone in on the guy in ABUs. He just doesn’t fit in in that [missile field] environment.”

GSC in OCP
Photo: Security Forces Airmen perform a training patrol at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. The Airman on the left is wearing an OCP (MultiCam) uniform, where the Airman on the right is wearing ABUs. (U.S. Air Force Courtesy Photo)

This move by GSC may well be a catalyst for further adoption. In the early 80s, the US military began a transition to the Woodland camouflage patterned Battle Dress Uniform from the old OG-507 fatigue uniform. Initially, special operations units made the switch followed by those that directly supported the Army such as TACPs and Combat Weather. Next, units with dedicated ground missions such as Security Police and Combat Comms adopted the BDU. Finally, at the end of the decade, the Air Force made the full swap with Basic Trainees receiving the uniforms at BMTS in 1988. In the photo below from that year, you can see the MTIs in BDUs but the trainees continue to wear fatigues.

1988 BMTS Photo

I think there are two issues afoot here and one has primacy over the other. First and foremost is cost. By their own admission, the Air Force has a rather large inventory of ABUs and accessories in stock with the Defense Logistics Agency. Think of DLA as a distributor that the AF (and other services) is required to purchase from. DLA doesn’t want to be stuck holding the bag with tens or even hundreds of millions of Dollars worth of clothing in the event the AF would want to change patterns so they require that the services buy out their inventory first. Based on current budget issues, the AF can think of lots of other ways to spend their money.

General Welsh Visit
Photo: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Mark A. Welsh III talks with Senior Airman Michael Walker, 91st Security Forces Operations Squadron, during a tour of the U-01 launch facility trainer here, Nov. 21. The tour was part of Welsh’s first visit to Minot since becoming the chief of staff. (U.S. Air Force photo/A1C Andrew Crawford)

Second, is service identity. So long as you can’t really afford the swap, it’s good to tell yourself that you’re preserving the Air Force’s identity as a service by maintaining a distinctive uniform. Never mind that in the long run that it’s wasteful, that the folks who actually run the AF (pilots) don’t wear the darned thing and that it will never live up to its name as a battle uniform. In fact, the tigerstripe pattern was developed specifically to give the USAF a distinctive look after Chief of Staff of the Air Force James Jumper was referred to as a “Soldier”.

I do believe that one day, everyone in the USAF will be wearing OCP. But, just as it was in the 80s with the transition from Green Fatigues to BDUs, the Air Force will do so incrementally, at its own pace.

A Look At USSOCOM’s Human Performance Program from a CCT Perspective

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

In this USAF video by Andrew Arthur Breese for AIRMAN magazine, we get an inside look at USSOCOM Human Performance Program from the perspective of Combat Controller SMSgt Kenneth Huhman. I remember when he was a SrA and he was a great young man, very fit and full of potential. Well, these ensuing 15 years or so have taken their toll on him. Fortunately, the days of “take some Motrin and suck it up” are going away and sports physiology and medicine are rightfully being applied to our combat athletes. The Human Performance program is helping Special Operators like SMSgt Huhman overcome injuries and reach their full potential. Hopefully, one ay soon, programs like this will be available for military personnel.

Line of Fire Tactical Gloves Receive USAFGSC Safe to Fly Certification

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Authorization letter safe to fly

Click to view .pdf

The US Air Force’s Global Strike Command has issued a Safe to Fly certification for two of Line of Fire Tactical’s gloves; the Flyby and Sortie on all aircraft that utilize touch screen Electronic Flight Bag systems. They feature TEGS grip and Sensa-Touch technology.

Flyby

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Sortie

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Seeking AF Tattoo Policy Expertise

Monday, August 18th, 2014

We’ve got an Air Force reader with a problem. He’s a hard charging Airman that has a pretty extensive tattoo collection. He’s being told that if he doesn’t have his ink removed, he’ll be denied reenlistment, have his ALS date cancelled, meal card stamped “no dessert”, etc.

Do any SSD readers have any insight into tattoo waivers for serving Airmen (of any rank)?

New CCT Poster

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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Air Force Paratroopers Place 3rd at Rhode Island LeapFest

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

As a retired USAF Paratrooper, I am always proud to see my fellow jumpers in blue do well. Love those OCP uniforms. Let’s see the rest of the Air Force swap over as well. Congratulations!

According to the TACP Association, members of the 18th ASOG, 18th WX squadron (and one TACP) placed 3rd (out of 55 American and international teams) at last weekend’s annual International jump competition in Rhode Island. They made four total jumps with static line chutes and were graded on accuracy and time.

They missed second place by 4 seconds, and first place by 9 seconds.

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(Pictured: MSgt Misiak, TSgt Allen, SSgt Romero-Napolitano, MSgt Williams. Photo from TACP Association)

Great TACP Recruiting Image

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

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Warrior East – Wild Things Tactical – USAF PPE Top

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Here is a final, production sample of the new PPE Top purchased as a non-FR version of the combat shirt for USAF Security Forces.

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It is intended to be worn under the IOTV at home station and was procured under DFLCS. As you can see, the sleeve pockets are included in the production model.

www.wildthingsgear.com

Forces Focus – Pararescue in Iceland 2014

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Guardian Angel (GA) is a US Air Force, non-aircraft, equipment-based weapon system. GA is organized into nine specific capabilities: Prepare, Mission Plan, Insert, Movement, Actions on Objective, Medically Treat, Extract, Reintegrate, and Adapt.

These nine capabilities are supported by a family of nine acquisition systems: precision aerial insertion, information management, force application/personal protection, visual augmentation, maritime, ground mobility, technical rescue, medical, and Survival EvasionResistance and Escape (SERE). The sum of these capabilities and acquisitions support the PR execution tasks of report, locate, support, recover, and reintegrate.

This equipment-based weapons system is employed by Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, and SERE Specialists and enabled by uniquely trained combat support personnel.

Recently, a GAWS team deployed to Iceland. This is their experience.