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Archive for the ‘AFSW’ Category

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

Special Tactics, AMC Airmen Spearhead Agile Combat Employment Concepts During Mission Generation Exercise

Thursday, January 12th, 2023


Special Tactics Airmen assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing participated in a mission generation exercise on Jan. 5, 2023, alongside Air Mobility Command aircrews.

The 437th and 315th Airlift Wings launched 24 C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Joint Base Charleston to conduct the exercise and integrate with Air Force, Army, and Marine forces across five operating locations.

Several C-17s landed at Pope Army Airfield after the initial launch to establish a tactical operations center and conduct an airfield seizure with multiple special tactics teams.

“This exercise is about readiness and lethality,” said Maj. Zachary Barry, C-17 pilot and lead planner for the exercise. “We wanted to get as many aircraft as possible off the deck in a 48-hour timespan, to tell pacing threats that we can go anywhere, anytime.”

The airfield seizure took place on Fort Bragg’s Holland Landing Zone. There, Special Tactics teams secured the perimeter, established the airfield, and executed a follow-on clearance of nearby outposts.  

Working alongside AMC aircrews allows Special Tactics teams to plan for operations in joint environments to maximize lethality as an air and joint force.

“Exercises like these require detailed planning but pay dividends when complete,” said a 24th Special Operations Wing Special Tactics officer. “Agile combat employment is paramount to our success as an Air Force, and incorporating Special Tactics teams into exercises like this benefits everyone involved.”

Combining these skillsets with mobility air forces like those from the 437th AW demonstrates the need to get ahead of the nation’s pacing challenges. Mission generation takes competencies from across the U.S. Air Force and connects them with capabilities from the joint force to maneuver past tomorrow’s challenges and enhance combat readiness.

By 1st Lt Victor A. Reyes, 24 SOW Public Affairs


Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Additional vendors. See you there!

New York Air Guardsman Completes Brazil Jungle Training

Friday, December 16th, 2022

MANAS, Brazil – For New York Air National Guard Tech Sgt. Jeremy Miter, adapting to the heat and humidity of the Amazon basin was the toughest part of the six weeks he spent at Brazil’s jungle warfare school from the end of September until mid-November.

“Once we got into the jungle, it was a whole other level of heat,” Miter said. “The triple canopy rain forest keeps the heat in and all around you. It creates a pressure cooker.”

Despite the heat, Miter became the fifth New York National Guard member to graduate from the course. 
CIGS — the acronym for the school’s name in Portuguese, Centro de Instrução de Guerra na Selva — conducts the course for foreign military personnel in Manas, the capital of Brazil’s Amazonas state. 

The Brazilians run a 10-week course for their own Soldiers.

New York Soldiers and Airmen have been attending the school since 2019 as part of the State Partnership Program relationship between Brazil’s military and the New York National Guard.

Army National Guard Sgt. William Dunn, a member of the 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, was to attend with Mitre but could not because of a medical issue.

To operate in the heat and humidity, the students from India, France, Spain, Portugal, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, and two other Americans from the 7th Special Forces Group learned how to stay hydrated.

Miter said students begin the course with physical fitness tests and swimming in uniform with combat gear.

The next step is surviving in the jungle. The students learn what to eat and not eat and how to find drinkable water and shelter.

“They put us out in the woods for 48 hours on our own to survive without food and only the water that you bring with you,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody ate for the entirety of the survival event,” Miter recalled. “Luckily, it rained at the end.”

As a joint tactical air controller assigned to the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, part of the 107th Attack Wing, Miter supports ground troops by calling air strikes.

Miter, 33, joined the New York Air National Guard in 2006 and served as a firefighter at the 109th Airlift Wing until becoming a JTAC in 2010.

He deployed to Syria in 2019 and to the Horn of Africa in 2021.

In civilian life, Miter is assigned to the Syracuse Fire Department’s Engine 3.

Miter was picked to attend the course because “he has the mental focus and physical strength” to succeed, said New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Denny Richardson.

Swimming is central to the training, Miter said. The students learned to use the rivers to move around. Using makeshift rafts, they would swim with their rucksacks full of equipment. They also learned how to use boats to infiltrate an area.

The round-the-clock training kept the 25 class members so tired that nobody had the energy to worry about the caiman — Brazil’s version of the alligator — or piranhas in the river, he said.

Students also learned how to navigate in the dense jungle using terrain association and practiced rappelling from helicopters.

Since most of the students were from special forces units, that was simply refresher training, Miter said.

Working with 25 soldiers from different countries who didn’t speak the same language was challenging, but they managed to find ways to communicate.

“The exchange of knowledge between us and Brazil was great. Plus working with soldiers from other countries you don’t normally work with was valuable,“ Miter said.

By Eric Durr, New York Air National Guard


Thursday, December 8th, 2022

See you at WEPTAC / AF SPECWAR vendor nights at Nellis AFB, Jan 11-12, 1730 to 2200. Open to Military and Government Civilians.

Fall 2022 Special Operations Center for Medical Integration and Development

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022


U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen executed the Fall 2022 Special Operations Center for Medical Integration and Development culminating field training exercise in Birmingham, Alabama, Nov. 17, 2022. 

Training provided the pararescuemen various controlled scenarios to enhance medical readiness, whether in day-to-day operations or in austere, resource-limited locations.

The culminating FTX was the capstone to a two-week-long certification course where students applied skills learned in civilian hospital care to tactical scenarios.

SOCMID is embedded with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. Their vision is to establish the premier trauma skills, sustainment and recertification platform for pararescuemen and Special Operations Independent Duty Medical Technicians. 

The partnership with UAB Hospital is beneficial to students as it is a level one trauma center, allowing them to conduct clinical rotations in operating and emergency rooms. 

“The civilian-military partnerships are important to our sustainment program,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Clayton Rabens, 24th Special Operations Wing command surgeon. “Some of these skills are perishable, so having partnerships like we do with UAB allows us to replicate scenarios and solve problems hands-on, then apply them to tactical scenarios for students to practice.” 

Some of the other training was completed with virtual reality headsets. Specific VR training helps students refine cognitive skills in approaching medical problem sets.

Additionally, prolonged casualty care scenarios allowed pararescue teams to work through casualty care with new skillsets learned while attending SOCMID real-time with wounded mannequins. 

“We want to ensure they’re prepared to meet real-world missions,” added Rabens. “The high stress environment they encounter during the FTX ensures we are able to meet that goal.” 

By 1st Lt Victor Reyes, 24 SOW Public Affairs

“Force Plate Vertical Jump Scans are Not a Valid Proxy for Physical Fitness in US Special Warfare Trainees”

Sunday, November 27th, 2022

Members of the Air Force Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group’s Research Flight recently published an article in a peer-reviewed journal, “Force plate vertical jump scans are not a valid proxy for physical fitness in US special warfare trainees.”

The Research Flight is the only embedded research team in the DoD, tasked with supporting the Special Warfare Training Wing with data driven decisions to identify trends, maximize the effectiveness and reduce injuries within the pipeline.

Read the full article here.

New Air Force Combat Dive Badges Approved

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022


Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. approved new Air Force combat dive badges and associated wear criteria for Airmen who have been wearing the Navy scuba badge.

Airmen who have graduated the Air Force Combat Dive Course are now authorized to wear the new Air Force-specific qualification badges for divers and diver supervisors as soon as they become available in Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores. 

“Air Force combat divers are essential to both combat and austere rescue situations,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Corcoran, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. “Having our own service-specific qualification badge accurately represents our unique capability to augment missions with any sister service component, and most importantly, highlights our member’s heroic actions to conduct rescue and retrieval operations to ensure no one gets left behind.”

The Air Force Combat Dive Course was established in January 2006 at Naval Support Activity Panama City, Florida. Prior to the establishment of the AFCDC, Air Force personnel had to attend the U.S. Army Combat Diver Qualification Course or U.S. Marine Combat Diver Course to earn combat diver qualifications.

Upon graduation, graduates were awarded the Navy Scuba qualification and badge, even though the Navy-designed badge does not accurately represent Air Force combat diver capabilities.

The Air Force Combat Diver badge is pictured. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

The Combat Dive Supervisor badge is pictured. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

“Navy scuba divers are trained for submarine and salvage diving,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Uriarte, Air Force Command Dive Program manager and diver. “In contrast, U.S. Air Force combat divers are trained in the fundamentals of underwater tactical diving for insertion, extraction, and maritime rescue and recovery operations.”

These fundamentally different qualifications drove the requirement to establish a separate and distinct qualification badge for Air Force members and follows the precedent of other military branches replacing the Navy scuba badge with their own.

The new badges were developed by 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron Detachment 1 personnel. Two levels are authorized: Air Force Combat Diver, with a closed-circuit rebreather and Air Force Combat Dive Supervisor, identified by a traditional star and wreath on the badge, positioned on the rebreather.

Eligibility for wear of the respective badges is approved for graduates, both officer and enlisted, who have completed a Combat Diver or Combat Dive Supervisor course authorized in accordance with AFI 10-3504, Air Force Dive Program, paragraph 3.7.

The Air Force combat dive badges will be worn in accordance with AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, guidance for wear of Miscellaneous Badges.

The textile badges are expected to be available in AAFES by the end of October 2022. The metal badges are currently in pre-production development.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs