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Dedication Ceremony Honors SrA Daniel Sanchez

Sunday, April 14th, 2024


Members of the Special Tactics community past and present, and the family of Senior Airman Danny Sanchez gathered for a dedication ceremony of the Special Tactics Training Squadron Schroeder Building auditorium, Apr. 8.

The 720th Special Tactics Group commander, Col. Matthew Psilos, presided over the ceremony.

“This dedication ensures Danny will never be forgotten and that we will always keep his family close,” said Psilos. “He chose to stand between the enemy and all the people he loves and respects, and every American citizen that day.”

Sanchez was killed-in-action in the vicinity of Kajran District, Afghanistan, when his team came under enemy insurgent fire within the Afghan National Army partner force. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor while engaged in ground combat from Aug. 4, 2010, to Sept. 16, 2010.

A large plaque donning his scarlet beret, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals, and name were unveiled before Special Tactics leaders, and friends and family members of Sanchez, including his mother and half-brother.

“It is a duty and privilege to honor his sacrifices,” said Psilos. “May the next generation understand that obligation and carry it on for years to come.”

A native of El Paso, Texas, Sanchez enlisted in the Air Force on Jun. 27, 2006. After graduating Basic Training, he successfully completed the Combat Control training pipeline and reported to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron. Sanchez’s military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Purple Heart, Air Force Combat Action Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

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

Belleville’s Flyweight “Shorty” for Air Force Maintainers

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

The 100% American Made Flyweight “Shorty” C315ST is designed specifically for Air Force maintainers working in hot weather conditions.

6” height
ASTM Certified Steel Toe – EH Rated
Exclusive VIBRAM “Tarsus” outsole
Flat ribbon laces
Only 20oz per boot!


Assignment Incentive Pay to be Authorized for Airmen, Guardians Stationed at Extremely Cold Locations

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024


Effective April 1, the Department of the Air Force approved a new incentive pay for Airmen and Guardians assigned to qualifying bases in the U.S. where the temperature is expected to drop below minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cold Weather Assignment Incentive Pay is a single lump sum payment given to Airmen and Guardians after signing an agreement to serve a prescribed tour length of at least 12 months, depending on qualifying location.  

Locations that meet this threshold include Minot and Grand Forks Air Force Bases and Cavalier Space Force Station in North Dakota, Clear Space Force Station, Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, as well as Malmstrom AFB, Montana.  

“Airmen and Guardians living in extremely cold conditions faced unique out-of-pocket costs,” said Alex Wagner, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “In addition to the assignment and retention benefits of the pay, it also comes down to making sure we do our best to take care of our service members and their families stationed at these critical installations.”  

This payment intends to ease the financial burden of purchasing certain cold weather essentials, such as extreme cold weather gear, all-season and/or snow tires, tire mounts and alignments, engine block heaters and emergency winter car kits, as well as further incentivizing assignments. 

Although AIP-CW is effective April 1, the first pay date is anticipated for July 1, 2024, meaning Airmen and Guardians who move to a qualifying location between April 1 and June 30 will receive payment retroactively.  

The amount of AIP-CW Airmen and Guardians are eligible to receive is based on criteria in the five pay levels outlined in the table below and is subject to change. 

This change follows the Department of Defenseimplementation of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which included language authorizing special duty pay for members based in cold-weather climate conditions and the FY24 NDAA, which clarifies the temperature parameters that qualify an area as a cold-weather location. 

“We want to ensure Airmen, Guardians and their families have the resources needed to safely live and work in an extreme cold-weather environment,” Wagner added.  

The official guidance memorandum can be found here

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force’s $46 Billion Elon Wide Agile Acquisition Contract (EWAAC) Selects Persistent Systems

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

EWAAC will provide contract vehicle for Air Force commands seeking mobile ad hoc networking solutions.

Persistent Systems (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET), announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to participate in the multi-vendor Eglin Wide Agile Acquisition Contract (EWAAC), a $46 billion Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) rapid acquisition vehicle for the development of novel weapons capabilities.

Participating in EWAAC enables Persistent Systems to better support networked autonomy efforts with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) as well as provide other Air Force customers, such as Global Strike Command and Air Combat Command, with a ready-to-use contract vehicle.

“We are very excited to be selected by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to participate in the Armament Directorate’s EWAAC,” said Cody Larson, director of Business Development at Persistent Systems. “EWAAC will help us with our networked weapons development efforts, the goal of which is to develop air-launched, swarming weapons that share information for increased survivability and lethality.”

EWAAC places an emphasis on digital engineering, agile software, and open systems architecture. Meeting those goals, Persistent’s Wave Relay® MANET is data-agnostic and capable of passing any digital data, allowing it to adapt to ever-changing, open-architecture weapons systems.

“This further deepens the relationship between Persistent and the U.S. Air Force to support emerging concepts like JADC2 and other programs,” said Adrien Robenhymer, VP of Business Development for the Air Force and Intelligence Community, at Persistent Systems.

Rapid Raven 24-1: Posturing EMS Warfighters for Combat

Sunday, April 7th, 2024


In order to establish readiness and further operationalize the wing, the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing went into a warfighting posture during Rapid Raven 24-1, its first internal exercise designed to test its ability to wage war in the Electromagnetic Spectrum and meet combat requirements and timelines.

“The Air Force can’t succeed in war if our wing can’t execute its mission essential tasks at the speed of relevance,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Josh Koslov, 350th SWW commander. “Rapid Raven wasn’t just an exercise; it was a chance to attack our mission essential tasks as a whole and see what works and what doesn’t.”

During Rapid Raven, the wing challenged its members’ ability to sense and respond to changes in the EMS and rapidly reprogram mission data files (MDF) in a wartime environment, focusing on command-and-control elements.

“In order for us to beat China, we have to be able to do our job in less than three hours,” said Koslov. “It’s an easy thing to say but a harder thing to do. When you start peeling back three hours, what does that actually mean? We addressed that question this week.”

The results from this exercise will inform future tactics, techniques, and procedures in the wing, increasing the speed at which the Air Force can assert spectrum dominance and inform the requirements the wing needs. The exercise also identified requirements needed by the wing to execute its mission at the pace of battle.

“Rapid Raven was able to identify opportunities to go even faster in the future,” said Dylan Duplechain, 350th SWW chief engineer. “With modern, hardened communication pathways to receive and push data, as well as AI/ML [artificial intelligence/machine learning] tools to assist with decision-making, we can further improve warfighting lethality within our current portfolio.”

The exercise simulated 24-hour operations, beginning with the wing receiving an emergency operational change request for updated MDFs based on a new complex emitter, triggering the Electronic Warfare Integrated Reprogramming (EWIR) cycle across squadrons.

“We purposely chose threats in multiple bands [frequency range] that should affect most of the systems, requiring reprogramming,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Joseph Ellis, 350th SWW A3 operations director. “It’s about stressing the wing in a combat-representative environment to the point where we’ll learn a lot about our skills to get better and faster.”

Reprogramming, or updating, MDFs is crucial in times of conflict to provide warfighters with data about the electronic landscape, to include latest threat intelligence, that allows aircraft, aircrew, and commanders to sense, identify, locate, and counter threats in the EMS.

Conducting rapid reprogramming of MDFs is paramount to combat the wartime reserve modes for systems and platforms used during conflict or emergencies, a point stressed by U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin, during his nomination hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee last September.

“In a high-end fight, warfighters require Spectrum dependent systems to win,” said Allvin. “These systems will operate on frequency bands across the entire Spectrum and are critical in a peer-contested environment. We expect our adversaries to attack across the Spectrum and we must be ready and responsive to that, by training and fighting in all parts of it.”

Throughout the exercise, all members captured data detailing timelines, effective aspects of procedures, and areas that impacted the speed of reprogramming for teams.

The feedback collected from across the wing will drive impactful change, increasing the pace of reprogramming operations and laying out the parameters necessary for the wing to effectively generate combat power through data to the warfighter.

“Data is our weapon and key to defeating any adversary and that’s what Rapid Raven focused on,” said Koslov. “The ability to receive, manipulate and turn that data into a combat capability that the warfighter can take into battle at the speed of relevance is what will allow us to win.”

The wing plans to expand the Rapid Raven exercise and ramp up the intensity and scope for future iterations as it continuously tests its ability to provide EMSO capabilities at a moment’s notice and meet the growing demand for Spectrum capabilities.

“We came to the wing about a year and a half ago and we talked about operationalizing the war fighting mission and war fighting culture,” said Koslov. “It took us a year and a half to build up to what we did this week, and it was awesome. Our Crows really embraced the warfighting culture that we need to beat our adversaries and China.”

At the conclusion of the exercise, the wing came together for an awards ceremony to recognize top performers who embraced the warfighting culture and led the way for reprogramming efforts.

The winners were:
Rapidest Ravens – 68th Electronic Warfare Squadron AV Shop
MVP – 39th Electronic Warfare Squadron EW Help Desk
Perseverance Award – 453d Electronic Warfare Squadron Threat Change Detection Team

By Capt Benjamin Aronson, 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing Public Affairs

Inside a Civil Air Patrol SAR Mission

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024


On Feb. 6, five Marines aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps’ 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing were reported “overdue” while en route to San Diego, sparking a search and rescue mission for the missing service members.

The search efforts included members of Civil Air Patrol, who along with firefighters and other state, federal and local agencies located the aircraft the next day. Unfortunately, all five Marines on board were confirmed deceased.

“The night of the crash, we were alerted to the missing aircraft and spun up resources to find it,” said Lt. Col. Steven DeFord, incident commander for CAP’s California Wing. “Due to the bad weather in the area, we activated two aircraft from Arizona and got a ground search team to begin a search.”

DeFord explained members of CAP’s National Radar Analysis Team quickly found a radar track for the missing helicopter and gave the teams a helpful last-known position, which was roughly 300 feet away from the actual crash site. CAP began sharing the data with search parties within 30 minutes.

NRAT’s mission is to “shorten the crash to rescue time” by using advanced technologies and data sources developed by the experienced team. Once this team is activated, analysis and actionable data can be provided to others in minutes.

“With our analysis team’s 15 years of experience, and our team-built tools, we’ve become very skilled at analyzing radar data to determine where a probable crash site is located,” said Lt. Col. John C. Henderson, NRAT vice commander.

During the search, 35 CAP volunteers from across Nevada, Arizona and California collaborated to find the aircraft. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, was responsible for alerting local CAP agencies, allowing the Air Force to mediate between the other state and federal agencies on scene.

“We had two liaison officers interfacing with the numerous other agencies to coordinate our response,” DeFord added. “CAP provided radar forensics and ground electronic search capabilities, while other agencies provided mobility support and a location for a joint incident command post.”

Founded in 1941 and established as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force seven years later, Civil Air Patrol is chartered by Congress as a nonprofit organization for the purposes of youth development, aerospace education, and to promote general aviation. In an auxiliary role as a Total Force partner of the Air Force, CAP operates the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training, and education. The all-volunteer force is made up of more than 66,000 members nationally.

The California Wing engages in multiple exercises weekly, aiding mission partners such as the U.S. Coast Guard by flying multiple aircraft throughout the state to ensure direction-finding coverage to support their lifesaving missions. Additionally, its volunteers stand by to support in-state and federal search and rescue missions looking for emergency location transmitters and missing persons.

No matter the outcome, CAP and its volunteers work alongside the Air Force to provide trained search and rescue professionals and crash data analytics to quickly respond to any event to which they’re called.

Space Force Guardians Advance SOF Space Interoperability During Emerald Warrior Exercise

Sunday, March 31st, 2024


Air Force Special Operations Command, in collaboration with the United States Space Force Special Operations Element (USSFSOE), unveiled the 527th Space Aggressor Squadron full suite of capabilities for the first time during its annual Emerald Warrior exercise, underscoring the unique and invaluable role of USSF Guardians in advancing SOF Space integration.

Emerald Warrior is an AFSOC-sponsored combined joint exercise that provides realistic, relevant, high-end training to prepare special operations forces, conventional forces and international partners for the evolving strategic environment.

The USSFSOE coordinated Guardian support to deliver specialized space expertise, space-related intelligence and integration over the three-week exercise. As representatives of the newest service, the USSFSOE is responsible for space coordination and support to U.S. Special Operations Command.

“The United States Space Force Special Operations Element is strengthening the SOF-Space relationship by integrating our service capabilities into SOCOM exercises like Emerald Warrior,” said Maj. Jonathan Green, USSFSOE plans and programs chief. “These exercises and training opportunities provide Guardians and SOF personnel with much needed interoperability for future joint operations.” 

Support for the exercise from the 527th SAS included joint personnel from the USAF, USMC and USSF.

During the exercise, they replicated satellite communication and GPS-based electromagnetic interference to emulate a contested, degraded, operationally limited environment prevalent in areas of operation around the world. This support provided operators the real-world experience that they require. 

“Our team allows units to operate in a realistic radio frequency limited environment, providing commanders the benefit of preparing their units with the most effective training,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Bryan Hernandez, 527th SAS mission commander.

“The relationship between the USSF and special operations is imperative as we address next-generation challenges related to great power competition,” said Green. “We will continue to integrate space capabilities and personnel with special operations to meet joint warfighter needs.”

By Maj Jessica Gross & 1st Lt. Cassandra Saphore, Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Air Force to Establish New Squadron at Beale AFB

Saturday, March 30th, 2024


The Department of the Air Force selected Beale Air Force Base, California, as the home of a new Battle Management Control Squadron. 

The new mission will add 140 military authorizations at Beale AFB over the next few years with personnel expected to begin arriving in summer 2025.  

This is a vital step in the Department of the Air Force’s battle management modernization as the department desires to perform this function for multiple theaters simultaneously from a location outside the theater(s) of operations.  

The BMCS will integrate with the Common Mission Control Center at Beale AFB and perform battle management of manned and unmanned new and legacy aircraft and allow greater collaboration between information systems.  

The CMCC’s mission is to present integrated and fused multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to decision makers by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to reduce human task load. It manages command and control productivity, shortens the task execution chain and reduces human-intensive communications.  

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs