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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

What a Long Way They’ve Come

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

An Air Force Combat Controller circa 1991.

24th SOW Dedicates Building to MOH Recipient Master Sgt. Chapman at Hurlburt Field

Friday, October 26th, 2018

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – The story of Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. John Chapman has circulated across the nation for nearly two decades and captivated the special operations world.

The heroics John is credited with during a ferocious battle on Takur Ghar, Afghanistan, in 2002 posthumously earned him the nation’s highest military honor.

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Today, John’s legacy is cemented in Special Tactics and Hurlburt Field history forever after the 24th Special Operations Wing headquarters was dedicated in his namesake.

Amongst an audience of ST legacy warriors, Air Commandos and friends, U.S. Air Force Col. Claude Tudor Jr., commander of the 24th SOW, alongside John’s family, unveiled the new name on the John A. Chapman Building.

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“Today, we will forever bind John’s relentless spirit of honor and courage, his selfless, heroic life and legacy with our headquarters,” Tudor said.

“This building is the home of our Special Tactics headquarters and by adding John’s name to the building, it is not only a symbolic gesture, but it binds his legacy with the legacy of Hurlburt Field and AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command].”

In February 2002, the Special Tactics combat controller deployed to Afghanistan as part of a joint special operations team. On the team, his role was to conduct precision strikes by integrating airpower onto the battlefield.

On March 4, 2002, John was killed during Operation ANACONDA, when he knowingly sacrificed his life to fend off a rocket-propelled grenade attack on an incoming MH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying a quick reaction force of U.S. Army Rangers and Air Force ST Airmen.

“This final act was the ultimate expression of his love. His love for his brothers. His love for his country. His love for me, and his love for all of you,” said Kevin Chapman, John’s brother, during the building dedication.

“The act of laying down your life for your friends can only come from one who embodies humility. One who considers others before he considers himself.”

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John was initially awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions, but after a thorough review, it was upgraded to the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump, who presented it to his widow, Valerie Nessel, during a White House ceremony on Aug. 22.

“[John] would want to recognize the other men who lost their lives,” Valerie said in a previous interview. “Even though he did something he was awarded the Medal of Honor for, he would not want the other guys to be forgotten – they were part of the team together. I think he would say his Medal of Honor was not just for him, but for all of the guys who were lost.”

John is the first Special Tactics Airman to receive the Medal of Honor and upon receiving the decoration, John was posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant.

The upgraded award and rank serve as a lifelong remembrance and renaming the headquarters to the John A. Chapman building is another way of reinforcing an ST legacy of sacrifice.

“Every time we walk into the John A. Chapman headquarters building, we will continue to push our own organizational velocity and drive innovation to meet multi-domain mission requirements across the full spectrum of conflict and crisis,” Tudor said. “[John] Chapman has long inspired the Special Tactics community, but now, his story will inspire and fuel those passing by every day, and remind them who John Chapman was as a person: a phenomenal human, who fought relentlessly and sacrificed all for his teammates.”

Following the building dedication ceremony, three new displays were revealed within the newly renamed John A. Chapman Building including a Medal of Honor tribute. In that display holds a photo of “Chappy”, a detailed summary of The Battle of Takur Ghar, the history of the Medal of Honor, Chapman’s award citation and a Medal of Honor decoration.

“With a humble heart, and as John’s representative for the family and friends, I accept the honor you have bestowed upon us, upon Master Sg. John A. Chapman, by naming this building after him as a lasting legacy in his memory,” Kevin said.

Along with the name “John A. Chapman” now prominently displayed on the street-side of the building, next to the front doors of the entry way is a replica bronze plaque from John’s upgraded Air Force Cross. The plaque displays a brief summary of John’s actions, and at the bottom reads, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? Here am I. Send me!”

By: Senior Airman Joseph Pick, 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

On This Day In SF History

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

On this date in 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) history, our 2nd Battalion was activated October 16, 1991 at Fort Bragg, N.C. The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) is comprised of a headquarters company, three Special Forces companies and a forward support company. The battalion was nicknamed Bush Hogs due to its original alignment with the Africa area of operations, but that came later. The 48th man assigned to the battalion, I was on SOT-A 305, MID/2/3 SFG(A).

Currently, 2nd Battalion is regionally aligned with the central Asian states with a focus on Afghanistan. For the past 13 years, 2nd Battalion has participated in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Bush Hogs is the only Special Forces battalion in the Special Forces Regiment to have multiple rotations and engagements in combat while maintaining other operational requirements in their area of responsibility.

Special Tactics Airmen Open Tyndall AFB Airfield for Operations

Friday, October 12th, 2018

HURLBURT FIELD, Florida- Air Force Special Tactics Airmen with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron assessed, opened and controlled air traffic at Tyndall Air Force Base, Oct. 11.

Special Tactics Airmen have the ability to assess, open, and control major airfields to clandestine dirt strips in any environment, including those that have been impacted by a natural disaster.

The Special Tactics Airmen cleared and established a runway at 7 p.m., Oct. 11, and received the first aircraft at 7:06 p.m.

Special Tactics Airmen are in control of the airfield and are prepared to support airfield operations at Tyndall Air Force Base until further notice.

This will allow support to facilitate humanitarian assistance to Tyndall Air Force Base.

Tyndall Air Force Base received extensive damage in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

-1st Lt Jaclyn Pienkowski, USAF , 24th SOW PAO

USAF Stands Up Special Warfare Training Wing

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

To meet the demand for special operations warfighters and improve retention rates for these critical career fields, United States Air Force officials activated the Special Warfare Training Wing Oct. 10, here.

The mission of the new wing is to select, train, equip, and mentor Airmen to conduct global combat operations in contested, denied, operationally limited, and permissive environments under any environmental conditions.

“This new wing will help us provide additional oversight and advocacy for the complex, high-risk and demanding training that’s necessary to produce Airmen to meet the requirements of the joint force,” said Col. James Hughes, SWTW commander.

The new wing headquarters and subordinate organizational structure will consist of approximately 135 personnel. The existing Battlefield Airman Training Group, which was activated in June 2016, has been renamed to the Special Warfare Training Group and will report to the SWTW.

Building upon what the Battlefield Airmen Training Group has started, the previously established five pillars of marketing and recruiting, manpower and leadership, curriculum, equipment and infrastructure will serve as a starting point for the wing.

“Keeping these pillars in mind will allow us to continue focusing on building the best Airman we can from the time they step into a recruiter’s office up until the end of their careers,” said Hughes.

“Wings move the ball forward at an operational and strategic level,” said Hughes. “They can provide structure, oversight, strategic vision and unity of command. But to become a leader in the special warfare community, we have to continue pushing the envelope of science and technology. It all comes down to doing everything we can to create Airmen capable of problem solving across a wide-range of national security challenges to meet the joint force’s needs.”

Additionally, the wing will focus on improving human performance by staying at the forefront of science and technology with the addition of the Human Performance Support Group, a one of kind unit that will integrate specialists from a variety of sports and medical fields into special warfare training to optimize physical and mental performance, reduce injury and speed rehabilitation to create more capable and resilient ground operators.

“By pushing the limits of science and technology, we’re going to find the most efficient and effective methods for improving human performance,” said Hughes. “We’re going to take what we already have learned and enhance how we produce the most physically and psychologically fit Airmen possible for the joint force.”

Special Warfare Airmen, previously known as Battlefield Airmen, are the critical ground link between air assets and ground forces. They are trained to operate as a ground component to solve ground problems with air power, often embedding with conventional and special operations forces. Their requirements have grown substantially since 2001 due to the effectiveness of and increasing demand for the precision application of air power in the joint combat environment.

Seven Air Force specialty codes currently fall into the Special Warfare category: Pararescue, Combat Rescue Officer, Combat Control, Special Tactics Officer, Special Operations Weather Team, Tactical Air Control Party personnel, and non-rated Air Liaison Officer. These Airmen share ground combat skill sets and a sharp focus on joint, cross-domain operations.

The first step toward more efficient and effective training is to combine the courses of initial entry for all special warfare candidates into one cohesive course.

“The various Special Warfare Air Force specialty codes are a lot more similar than they are different,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Clark, SWTW command chief. “These courses of initial entry are the bedrock of lethality and readiness. By combining them, we’re making the pipeline much more efficient, while also building a team mentality that focuses on our similarities, rather than our differences.”

This change is also the first step toward answering the most important question facing the SWTW: How do we create and develop the most adaptive and agile leaders possible?” said Clark. “It starts by continuing to be critical of ourselves, while searching for any way to become more efficient in everything that we do.”

www.specialwarfaretw.af.mil

-Air Education and Training Command

USSOCOM Selects SIG SAUER To Provide Squad-Variable Powered Scopes (Second Focal Plane)

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Late last year, Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane, working as the weapons procurement arm of the United States Special Operations Command, released a solicitation to industry for Squad-Variable Power Scopes to be used on M4 carbines out to 600m.

The plan was to buy First Focal Plane Scopes and other associated items as a 100% set-aside for small business, while a Second Focal Plane Scope and other associated gear would be full and open competition. SIG Optics replied to the Second Focal Plane Scope portion of the solicitation.

Today, they announced the Second Focal Plane contract, awarding a little over $12 Million to SIG SAUER for the same optic selected by the US Army for the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle.

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We first wrote about the Tango 6 earlier this year, during Enforce Tac.

This 6x optic is a variant of their commercially available Tango 6 optic, with final assembly in their Oregon plant. You can lock out the red dot on the custom BDC reticle between settings and the optic comes equipped with a throw lever. It also includes a SIG mount, manufactured there as well.

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SIG plans to offer the Tango 6 for both government and commercial sale.

www.sigoptics.com

USAF Special Tactics History

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Since we’ve discussed US Air Force Special Tactics in the past, I thought this video would be a good share.

www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil

25th Anniversary – Battle Of Mogadishu

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

As time marches on, younger Americans step into the breach. It’s our duty to teach them about their heritage. Today marks the anniversary of a major event in US military history.

Additionally, the 75th Ranger Regiment was created on this day in 1984, with the stand up of its 3rd Battalion. Over 30 years later, the Ranger Regiment boasts boasts five battalions of some of the most elite warriors on the face of our planet.

But more importantly, this date also marks the 25th Anniversary of 1993’s Battle of Mogadishu during which, elements of TF Ranger which had deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, conducted an operation on that city’s Olympic Hotel in order to capture key leaders of the Aidid Militia.

Unfortunately, during the exfil portion of the raid, a battle ensued which claimed the lives of 18 Americans and wounded another 73. Additionally, CW3 Michael Durant was captured by the Aideed militia. Fortunately, Durant was later repatriated and went on to retire from the 160th. Of the men killed that day, two would be awarded the Medal of Honor, Delta Operators Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart, for their selfless efforts to protect Durant after his aircraft, callsign Super 64, was shot down.

If you are unfamiliar with the events, one of the best accounts of the battle is contained in the book, “Blackhawk Down” by author Mark Bowden. Much of the information was serialized prior to the book’s publication in the Philadelphia Enquirer. Later this was made into a movie bearing the same name.

Please take a moment to remember these men and their sacrifice.