TLR-7® X USB // Sidewinder Stalk®

Archive for the ‘AFSW’ Category

AF Special Warfare Training Wing Hosts Pelvic Health Clinic

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

The Special Warfare Training Wing supports a rigorous training pipeline, preparing America’s Airmen to meet the physical & cognitive demands required to compete in a contested environment. The physical stresses of both the female and male trainee make training taxing on their pelvic floor & abdominal wall. The prevalence of urinary incontinence for athletes is cited ranging between 10-80%, and for female athletes, 49% experience stress urinary incontinence with exercise.

Given these staggering numbers and the physical demands placed on candidates entering the #afspecwar pipeline, Major Greene, a Physical Therapist (PT) supporting the 352 Combat Control School, invited two Pelvic Health PTs to host a 2-day “pelvic health for the athlete” course at Chapman Annex, JBSA for musculoskeletal experts serving in both the Special Warfare Training Wing and partners at the 59th Medical Wing. The Special Warfare Human Performance Squadron is the first in the DoD serving the special warfare community to understand this impact, host a training course to address the issue, and build a capability ready for America’s next generation of operators.

Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group

USAF Special Warfare Physical Training Preparation Manual

Saturday, August 19th, 2023

24 SOW Safety Manager Rescues Large Shark

Saturday, August 5th, 2023


U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. (Ret.), Tazz Felde, 24th Special Operations Wing Occupational Safety Manager, received an unusual call from his wife Monday afternoon, Jul. 24, about a six to seven-foot nurse shark tangled up in an artificial reef near John Beasley Park in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

“We were made aware of a nurse shark in distress at a local man-made reef here in Destin,” said Felde. “Another diver reported that he and his buddy had come across the shark, with a large hook in its mouth, and were unsuccessful at freeing the animal.”

In a video posted to Felde’s Youtube channel, you can see the shark sitting on the ocean floor with a large hooked in the corner of its mouth. The hook was attached to a steel leader with 100-150 feet of  fishing line that had become wrapped around the reef.

“My wife, Courtney, told me if I didn’t go free the shark she was going to do it herself,” said Felde. “I knew the worst that could happen was that it crushed my hand. He would certainly break my hand if he got it in his mouth, but my concern was making sure that it was freed and able to go about its day.”

Felde cleaned up more than a hundred feet of tangled fishing line while diving to protect other marine life at the reef.

While working in his off time as the co-owner of Under Pressure Divers, Felde says he always teaches his students to not be afraid of sharks or marine life, and to always leave the water better than they found it.

“I don’t want people to be afraid of them because they’re really no harm to us in the grand scheme of things,” said Felde. “Don’t be scared of sharks. A lot of stuff you see on TV during Shark Week can be scary, and a lot of it is real, but for the most part, sharks don’t really bother us much.”

By Capt Savannah Stephens, 24th Special Operations Wing

Performance Nutrition in the Special Warfare Training Wing

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — At 6 a.m., the sky was still dark and the fog had yet to roll off the base, but the Special Warfare Training Wing had been buzzing with activity for hours. Tactical Air Control Party students lined up for their morning workout behind Kyle Smithson, the schoolhouse’s dietitian, as he walked into the building, rolling his Urine Specific Gravity test kit behind him.

Two sections of students were scheduled to start field training the next week, which means a series of long days and heavy movement under the hot Texas sun to prepare them for even longer days when they graduate to operational units. As the dietitian, Smithson has briefed the students on the importance of staying hydrated and the warning signs of dehydration, and now, a few days before they head to field week, he’s testing their urine samples to identify dehydrated students so they can proactively hydrate over the weekend.

“I’ll be in the field with the students to make sure they’re eating and drinking properly,” Smithson said. “But testing and hydrating ahead of time reduces the risk of heat exhaustion.”

After compiling results from the sample, Smithson stops by the commander’s office to give him the list of dehydrated students, and then he completes a series of body composition tests for both instructors and students, providing personal recommendations based on their body’s muscle and fat composition, and their individual goals. Next, he makes his rounds through every classroom, checking the stock of healthy snacks and drinks to make sure students have what their bodies need within easy reach.

“Throughout their careers, these students will be exposed to toxins from gun powder, jet fuel and more, so it’s very important they’re careful with what they put into their body,” Smithson said. “They learn that intentionality here.” 

Across the country, on Pope Airfield in North Carolina, Tech Sgt. Kirk Luzano, the diet tech for the combat control, special reconnaissance and special tactics officer apprentice courses, sets up breakfast for the students. While they eat, he checks in with one of the students who underperformed in that morning’s physical fitness session. The trainee hadn’t fueled appropriately, so Luzano helps him come up with a better plan for next time. Luzano then walks around the room, answering questions the students have about proper fueling for the upcoming training.

“We teach that nutrition can make a great athlete good or a good athlete great,” Luzano said. “It doesn’t matter how good or gifted you are, your performance can be affected if you don’t understand basic nutrition, or if you don’t apply what you know into your everyday routine.”

“Nutrition can make a great athlete good or a good athlete great” 

Tech Sgt. Kirk Luzano

Depending on the day’s training, Special Warfare Training Wing dietitians and diet techs will recommend different foods. Students in special warfare pipelines require a generally higher caloric intake than most athletes, and on days with high-intensity training, the team recommends meals with more carbohydrates. According to Smithson, students often enter the pipeline trying to increase muscle mass by prioritizing proteins and skipping carbohydrates, however, carbohydrates fuel the brain and the body, so completing the mentally and physically rigorous special warfare training without adequate carbohydrates is near impossible.

However, knowing what to eat is only half the battle. Luzano says that students need to understand which food and beverages help replenish electrolytes, specifically sodium, and when to reach for them. To maximize performance, students must know when their bodies need water versus a sports drink, or when they should reach for a protein bar versus a sports gel. However, even this process is highly individualized—according to Smithson, people have various levels of salt in their sweat, and those with saltier sweat will perform better by opting for sports drinks and gels that have higher sodium levels.

While training, students have access to these individualized recommendations and guidance, but after they earn their berets, special warfare operators still need to stay in peak mental and physical shape. This is why Captain Lynnsee Moberg, the chief of performance nutrition for the Special Warfare Training Wing, says her team prioritizes education. Smithson, Luzano and their colleagues don’t just provide recommendations, they teach, guide and educate students so they can practice performance nutrition throughout their entire careers.

“Air Force Special Warfare operators who exercise and train for extended periods during the day need to fuel their bodies differently than the average fitness enthusiast,” Moberg said. “It’s the same with cars. High-performance vehicles and off-road trucks are both great cars, but they serve different purposes and require very different amounts and kinds of fuel.”

This is why on day one of training, candidates take a class on performance nutrition, learning the ins and outs of correctly fueling for success. Immediately after the class, Moberg’s team joins the students in the dining facility for lunch and provides feedback on each candidate’s plate. From then on, candidates become accustomed to seeing dietitians and diet techs not only in the dining facility, but on rucks, in the field and during daily physical fitness sessions.

For information from the human performance team, follow the Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group on Facebook.

By Miriam A. Thurber, Special Warfare Training Wing

Jolly Vihar 23 Enhances US, Hungarian Air Forces Interoperability

Monday, July 17th, 2023


The 56th Rescue Squadron and the 56th Rescue Generation Squadron assigned to Aviano Air Base, Italy, are participating in the bilateral training exercise Jolly Vihar 23-2 at Pápa Air Base, Hungary June 26 through July 7.

Exercise Jolly Vihar is aimed to enhance the U.S. and Hungarian forces’ ability to conduct integrated combat search and rescue scenarios and perform maintenance operations. This exercise benefits the 56th RQS and 56th RGS along with NATO ally and partner nations by enhancing interoperability while learning each other’s techniques, strategies and procedures.

“The purpose of exercise Jolly Vihar for the 56th Rescue Squadron is terminal employment,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kayleigh Jones, 56th RQS special missions aviator instructor. “This is a great time for aircrew to practice factor threat analysis because we never know what squadron or unit we’re going to be working with. The more we integrate, the better we can facilitate personnel recovery across Europe.”

Three U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawks flew to Pápa Air Base for Jolly Vihar. During the two-week exercise, a large portion of the training was live fire and search and rescue missions. Airman assigned to Aviano AB and Pápa AB act as red cells during the search and rescue missions. Red cells are role players whose purpose is to present problems that the aircrew must solve as a team.

A Norwegian flight medic responds to a survivor during exercise Jolly Vihar at a training range near Pápa Air Base, Hungary, June 28, 2023. Search and rescue missions covered a large portion of exercise Jolly Vihar and role players acted as survivors needing to be recused by the aircrew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Synsere Howard)

Norwegian forces on each aircraft fulfill the role of a pararescue team. Their job is to help to mitigate threats and safely recover red cells with information relayed to them and the aircrew. According to Jones, working with the Norwegian forces improves cohesion with the knowledge learned from one another. This can also be applied to real-world situations.

“We’re out here working with NATO allies and partner nations such as the Norwegians and the Hungarians,” Jones said. “We’re working on interoperability and learning their techniques and procedures while sharing ours with them.”

According to Jones, there are a lot of moving pieces in an exercise of this magnitude. The mission cannot be accomplished without other agencies, such as maintenance personnel, aviation resource managers, communications technicians and aircrew flight equipment specialists.

“These personnel are essential to making sure this exercise is executed safely and efficiently,” Jones said.

Jolly Vihar aims to advance and support rescue capability in U.S. European Command and NATO. Training with NATO allies and partners in exercises like Jolly Vihar strengthens partnerships, reduces tensions between nations and helps address potential conflicts before they start.

“We’re trying to build this network to increase our partner building capabilities,” Jones said. “We can’t do this alone.”

By Airman Synsere Howard, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Magruder Takes Command of Special Tactics

Friday, July 7th, 2023


Col. Daniel Magruder assumed command of the 24th Special Operations Wing during a ceremony at the Special Tactics Training Squadron on Hurlburt Field Jun. 29.

Air Force Special Operations Command commander Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind presided over the ceremony where Magruder took the guidon from Col. Jason Daniels, who is moving on to serve as the Deputy Director of Operations at headquarters AFSOC.

During his command, Daniels led Special Tactics through multiple crises including executing a challenging non-combatant evacuation in Kabul, humanitarian assistance in Haiti, a variety of missions in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia, and expanded the wing’s focus from countering insurgencies and terrorists to include strategic competition.  

Bauernfeind shared words of praise for Daniels.

“Under his leadership, the Air Commandos of the 24 SOW were innovative across the spectrum of conflict, resolute under pressure, and made the impossible look simple,” said Bauernfeind. “The 24 SOW provided back-to-back historic extraction support in August of 2021 and those outstanding achievements would not have been impossible without Jason’s leadership.”  

As Daniels prepared to relinquish command, he reflected on his time in the 24 SOW.

“I stand here overwhelmingly with a feeling of thanksgiving for the chance to serve with, lead, and command with the Special Tactics community for more than two decades, particularly the last couple of years,” said Daniels. “The opportunity to command this wing and serve its Airmen has been the greatest honor of my career.”

Daniels was awarded the Legion of Merit Second Oak Leaf Cluster for exceptionally meritorious conduct during his tenure as wing commander from Jun. 4, 2021, to Jun. 29, 2023.

Following the change of command, Magruder spoke to the wing for the first time as commander.

“To the men and women of the 24th Special Operations Wing, Jen and I look forward to working for you. Every day we must earn the distinction as our Air Force’s premier ground special operations force,” said Magruder. “I am optimistic about our future because of you… the incredible people that fill our ranks, I aim to earn your trust as we work together to solve our nation’s toughest problems.”

Magruder earned his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 2003. He has not only commanded at the flight, squadron, and group levels, but has served in a variety of high-level positions, including being the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s speech writer.

Magruder closed out the ceremony with a challenge to the men and women of Special Tactics.

“To every member of the AFSOC team and the 24 SOW, I encourage you to think about your place in history. It will call on each of you in some way. When history calls on you, when you are tapped on the shoulder, will you be willing to deliver the roar our nation needs?”

By Capt Savannah Stephens, 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Special Warfare Training Wing: Preparing for Strategic Competition

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023


We consistently talk about the future fight and preparing for strategic competition. This is by design, with the singular purpose of defending our nation against any who would test our resolve. The character of war is constantly changing, yet its fundamental nature remains the same. Special Warfare Airmen and operators must be prepared to face the harsh nature of war and be ready to master its new character.

Over the past 30 years, China has rapidly transformed its military capabilities, which means we must prioritize our own transformation and modernization to ensure superiority on the battlefield. We must be deliberate in the investment and development of our force to preserve our nation’s freedoms and way of life in the future.

How does the Special Warfare Training Wing fit into the equation? How does your work every single day determine the outcome of the future fight? Both are, in every sense of the word, vital.

This team shoulders the precarious burden of shaping the minds, strength and emotional capacity of our next generation of Air Force Special Warfare operators, the Multi-Capable Airmen who will remain our competitive advantage now and going forward.

Your daily work sharpens the most strategic players in our nation’s arsenal. But this extends beyond your work with candidates and includes your time with each other. Each of you is a strategic asset, able to leverage access, strike and recovery to position the U.S. for strategic advantage in competition. By taking advantage of everything this Wing offers, we look to ensure you remain the most agile, empowered, lethal and combat-effective Airmen in the world.

Yes, we select and equip the next generation of operators, but we also consider it our mission to invest in and develop our nation’s best who come to us as instructors and staff. Use this assignment to learn more about how your own brain works and how your body trains by taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge amongst your teammates.

Additionally, carve out time in your busy schedules to understand the environment of strategic competition and our adversaries. I recommend visiting the China Toolkit that Air University’s China Aerospace Studies Institute recently released. The Toolkit is full of videos, articles and even Chinese publications that the CASI team translated into English.

The work you do every day is crucial in preparing yourself, your colleagues and our candidates for strategic competition. I am proud of this team, and of everything you do to set our nation up for victory.

By Col Nathan Colunga Commander, Special Warfare Training Wing

Special Warfare, Air Force Recruiting Teams Develop Programs, Scour Nation to Attract Candidates

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023


The capabilities that special warfare graduates provide are as needed today as ever before. That reality is the reason program leaders are working hard to attract a group of candidates who are broad, diverse and committed.

“For members of the Special Warfare Training Wing, 2022 was a historic year and I’m incredibly proud,” said Col. Nathan Colunga, SWTW commander. “Our training wing is postured to train all Americans and will ensure any candidate who comes through our doors, are offered the same opportunities to succeed and will be treated with dignity and respect.”

In 2015, the U.S. Air Force began integrating women into six special warfare specialty areas previously closed to women. Since then, a total of eight female special warfare Airmen have graduated from various training pathways.

The gain of the three women into the special warfare community within a calendar year is an unprecedented success for the Air Force.

“It is a strategic imperative that Americans know special warfare training is accessible to anyone who can meet the standards,” said Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson, 2nd Air Force commander. “Of all the Air Force’s training programs, special warfare training has the highest attrition rate due to extremely high-performance standards.”

The future fight is going to be different from the past, requiring us to leverage the entire talent pool of skilled, qualified and diverse individuals our nation offers in order to assemble the teams America needs to meet future mission requirements,” she said.

To ensure Americans are aware of special warfare training programs, Air Force Recruiting Service made significant changes in the past two years. The agency invested in future special warfare trainees as early as possible to ensure no segment of the population is excluded from this opportunity.

AFRS activated the 330th Recruiting Squadron, a one-of-its-kind Air Force squadron, that recruits solely for special warfare career fields. Additionally, the Special Warfare Development program was established, which better prepares prospective candidates physically and mentally for the rigors of the training ahead. The program pairs candidates with current, former and retired special warfare Airmen known as “developers” for mentorship and guidance. This program is open to any aspiring candidate who can meet the standards set forth by the special warfare community, is cleared medically, and can attain the required security clearances.

“AFRS is scouring the nation to identify and connect with potential candidates who have the grit and aptitude, but also the physicality and mentality to become one of the elite Air Force special warfare Airmen as sixth-generation warriors,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, AFRS commander. “Once connected, our Air Force development program is keenly focused on preparing future Airmen, so each candidate has the tools necessary to be successful.”

Efforts do not stop at recruitment. Once candidates arrive at the Special Warfare Training Wing, each member is developed physically, mentally and spiritually to meet the rigors of the training ahead. Using a holistic approach, the training utilizes embedded human-performance professionals, special warfare instructors and support staff to optimize every moment of the specific training pathway with each individual candidate.

“We welcome and encourage diversity of background, experiences and thought for our forces because this is what our nation needs to meet the demands of the future mission construct and necessary force employment,” Colunga said. “We want every candidate who comes through our doors to succeed because we need every one of them. Once you arrive at the Special Warfare Training Wing, we will provide the tools and resources for success. But it is up to you to rise to the challenge.”

“The synergistic efforts of the Special Warfare Training Wing and AFRS laid the path for the extraordinary graduation successes of 2022,” Edmondson said. “And while the graduation of three female Airmen in one calendar year is a true testament to inclusion, innovation, hard work and transformative training, we still invite all those Americans who have the desire to be special warfare operators, to join our team.”

If you want to pursue a career in Air Force special warfare and wish to speak to a special warfare recruiter, please visit here.

Special Warfare Training Wing Public Affairs