Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

US Air Force’s 18th Weather Squadron Transitions to Fight Future Wars

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

An organizational vision provides direction and unites a team by illustrating the future of that team. For the “Mighty” 18th Weather Squadron our new vision is, “Integrating Environmental Supremacy to Win Our Nation’s Wars.” To accomplish that vision, guided by Squadron Commander Lt. Col. James C. Caldwell, the men and women of the 18th WS, who have been fighting in the War on Terror for nearly two decades, now look to the future.

Stationed all along the eastern seaboard of the United States in nine geographically separated units, the Total Force Airmen of the Mighty 1-8 support the conventional Army units of the XVIII Airborne Corps and subordinate divisions, both in-garrison and across the globe. Headquartered at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, the 18th WS produces some of the world’s most elite Army Weather Support forecasters, also known as Staff Weather Officers.

While a vision provides the team’s direction, a mission statement provides the “how.” The 18th WS mission statement is to “Train and Equip Courageous, Credible, and Combat-Ready Army Weather Support Airmen.” The most critical component of that mission statement is training. Before 18th WS SWOs are ready for deployment, they must attend a number of different formal training courses, such as the Army Weather Support Course and Evasion and Conduct After Capture. Additionally, SWOs must also complete Airfield Qualification Training and M4 Carbine and M9 Pistol qualification, and provide weather support in both Army and Air Force training and certification exercises.

Some of the more robust exercises in which SWOs participate are at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana and the National Training Center in California, but SWOs also support live-fire exercises and aircraft gunnery exercises. These exercises prepare the Army, and our embedded SWOs, for current and future warfare. In addition, each geographically separated unit conducts local exercises with supported Army units, including Unmanned Aerial System weather support, but the training does not stop there.

At the 18th WS, SWOs may also have the opportunity to become a paratrooper by attending the Army Basic Airborne Course, or train on aircraft orientation, sling-load operations, and rappelling and fast-rope techniques at Air Assault School. If motivated enough, a SWO may also earn the Pathfinder badge by learning dismounted navigation, and establishing and operating helicopter landing zones and parachute drop zones. To fully embed with our Army units, SWOs require these extra skills when the call comes for accurate environmental predictions.

As a capstone to their training, SWOs must complete an annual, unilateral combat mission readiness evaluation called the Expeditionary Field Evaluation Exercise (EFEX). During the EFEX, SWOs are evaluated on all AWS training items, including land navigation, tactical visibility charts, field condition manual observations, convoy procedures, evaluating and transporting a casualty, Tactical Meteorological Observing System operations, AWS mission weather briefs, and many other tasks. Upon successful completion of the EFEX, SWOs are then certified to execute the mission downrange.

While the basis of effective weather support is accurate, timely and relevant weather products, SWOs go far beyond this. SWOs must tailor products to best support command and control, identifying potential environmental impacts to friendly and enemy forces, while providing means to mitigate or exploit conditions to the advantage of friendly forces or disadvantage of enemy forces. Being able to equip decision-makers with decision-grade intelligence to accomplish mission objectives is what truly separates a SWO from a weather forecaster.

Despite the grinding deployment schedule over the last 20 years, our mission is now changing. The Airmen and families of the Mighty 1-8, guided by the renewed vision and mission statements mentioned above, must accept the current state of global affairs. No longer do we have to solely prepare for counterinsurgency operations, rather, following in the footsteps of the Army, we’re bending our focus each day more towards the high-end fight. State-on-state warfare, as outlined in the National Defense Strategy and the Air Force Weather Functional Concept of Operations, requires a deeper look at our ability to shoot, move and communicate on the battlefield.

Our culture is shifting away from traditional thinking to answer non-traditional requirements that encompass the entire scope of the environment, from the bottom of the ocean to the reaches of space. There’s no doubt that the victor in the next big war will require every advantage, especially those found in Mother Nature. We take this obligation seriously and know full well that the Mighty 1-8 is required for victory. We must be ready! – “All The Way!”

By SMSgt Patrick Brennan and Miguel Rosado, 18th Weather Squadron, 93d Air Ground Operations Wing Public Affairs

The 13th ASOS Conducts Combat Mission Training

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —

Ten Airmen from the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron went through a tactical air control party mission qualification training exercise July 15-18, 2019 on Fort Carson, Colorado.

The training is a way to gauge each Airman’s deployment readiness, test how the Airmen can perform as a team and is also one of the final steps of upgrade training for new Airmen. The training is for both newly assigned junior enlisted Airmen and officers.

0ABF6B10-3A80-4725-92C2-A491AB58D703

The group of Airmen went through multiple scenarios put together by more experienced TACPs and joint terminal attack controllers, to include clearing a building, securing a village, injured personnel rescue and handling a hostage situation.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.

The exercise started Monday, July 15, and did not end until early Thursday morning, but for the students, preparations started the week prior.

“We tried to model it after real world operations,” said 2nd Lt. Stephen Stein, 13th ASOS TACP officer and chief of training. “So last week, before they started, the students received an operations order, which is something we would receive from the U.S. Army for an up and coming mission. After that, they started planning. So they had to start preparing the equipment, get the vehicles ready and then from there they had a timeline of when they would start the mission.”

During their exercise, the students were critiqued on their skillsets to make sure they would be ready in any contingency operation, ultimately deciding if they are deployable.

“I think this really showed us what we can expect in the future,” said 2nd Lt. Parker Gray, 13th ASOS TACP officer and exercise team lead. “ We were completing objectives and missions with criteria all throughout the week, all with minimal sleep, and I think that really showed us how we may react in the future, when we are in that kind of environment.”

Although the exercise was only for ten Airmen, approximately 30 TACPs and JTACs were involved with organizing the training exercise, participating as instructors, playing the role of an opposing force or helping set things up.

After the exercise, both Gray and Stein said they took away a lot from these events.

Stein, having done his training about 12 years prior as an enlisted TACP, said he was impressed with the effort the squadron put into it, and believed this set the new standard for MQT.

“The amount of hard work that was put into this by the instructors to set it up and make sure the scenarios were realistic and made sense, was phenomenal,” said Stein.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.

Gray, as the student, said he took away lessons of leadership and how to work with his teammates.

“I think the biggest lesson as a team lead was I started out the week making decisions fast just trying to get everything done, but later on in the week I started involving the team a little bit more in the decision making process,” said Gray. “When we had a question, we took a few more minutes to get the team together, and we came up with better decisions. We really came together as a team, worked together as a team and were able to help each other out.”

By A1C Andrew Bertain, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs

Meet Callie – DoD’s Only Search and Rescue K9

Monday, August 19th, 2019


(Air National Guard photo by SSgt Darby Arnold, 134th ARW Public Affairs)

Meet Callie, a 26-month-old Dutch shepherd, is one of the newest additions to the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron in Louisville, Ky. She is the Kentucky Air Guard’s first member of the 123rd Search and Rescue K-9 program, making her the only search and rescue dog in the entire Department of Defense.

Callie’s handler, TSgt Rudy Parsons, is a Pararescueman with the 123rd STS, Kentucky Air National Guard.

Special Air Warfare And The Secret War In Laos

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Air University Press has released “Special Air Warfare And The Secret War In Laos: Air Commandos 1964-75”. Download your copy at media.defense.gov.

AFOSI Presents Chief of Staff with General Officer M18 MHS

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Air Force Office of Special Investigations HQ at Joint Base Andrews recently hosted AF senior leaders including the CSAF and VCSAF for their training and proficiency on small arms. While there, they presented Gen David L. Goldfein his new M18 Modular Handgun System, manufactured by SIG SAUER. Above, SSgt David Taylor familiarizes Gen Goldfein with the weapon.

According to AFOSI, the serial number for Gen Goldfein’s M18 is GO5021.

Additionally, Special Agent Justin Anderson demonstrated the Heckler & Koch MP5-K to the CSAF.

Here’s the Combat Arms Training & Maintenance Team who assisted Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. David L. Goldfein during his training and proficiency on small arms.

Photos by OSI SA Robert Davis

Tactical Air Control Party

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Feel like overcoming a tremendous challenge? Do you want to work with the Army, but be in the Air Force? Would you like to designate targets and guide aircraft in, to destroy our nation’s enemies? Then TACP is for you.

Visit www.airforce.com for more info.

24th SOW Mission Video

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Comprising the Special Tactics Force, Air Force Special Operations Command’s 24th Special Operations Wing is dedicated to tactical air-to-ground integration force and is the Air Force’s special operations ground force, leading global access, precision strike, personnel recovery and battlefield surgery operations.

No More ‘Flight Suits,’ the Integrated Aircrew Ensemble Makes Debut

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Representatives from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam July 8-12 to introduce fighter pilots and aircrew flight equipment professionals to some of the newest developments in flight-suit technology.

Team Hickam’s Hawaiian Raptors, comprised of members from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons, have been selected to be the first aircraft operators to bring the gear, called the Integrated Aircrew Ensemble, into an operational capacity.

The visiting project managers from the Human Systems Program Office provided demonstrations, fittings and on-the-job training to F-22 Raptor pilots and the AFE Airmen who will maintain the state-of-the art ensemble.

“Being selected as the first unit, and also as the Air National Guard, over any other [major command] is definitely something to be proud of, said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Davidson, 154th Operations Support Squadron AFE superintendent. “I think it says something about our work ethic and our integrity down here; that we’re willing to take on the challenge and be a part of this new process.”

Hawaii Air National Guard and Active Duty pilots were provided demonstrations and were individually measured for custom-fit equipment.

Unlike the currently used ‘legacy’ equipment, which had been piecemealed with additional support items over several decades, each component of the IAE has been designed to complement all other items. The IAE is built to support aircrew in all ejection-seat aircraft, to include fighters, trainers and bomb carriers. Its material has been influenced by recent advancements in sports technology to aid aviators who endure harsh flight conditions.

“It’s all strategically placed so items are not on top of each other; it minimizes the occurrence of friction, hotspots or wear-down on the system,” said Carl Medeiros, IAE program manager. “The material is also moisture-wicking, so it pulls moisture away from the body, removing and reducing thermal burden, while increasing mobility and comfort levels. When it all comes together, there’s a direct correlation and improvement to the physiological effects on the pilot.”

A combination of four layers can be used to support pilots in the face of natural elements and a wide range of mission sets. This includes a thermal undergarment for cold weather protection, a water-resistant environmental protection layer, a chemical/biological/radiological resistant layer and the coverall, which provides heat and flame protection.

While the new system will require additional familiarize training events for AFE Airmen, less man hours will be required to sustain and service the equipment. Developments, such as the new floatation device, make this possible, as it does not require sensitive munitions to activate and can be transported and handled without risks of explosive reactions.

According to Medeiros, the Hawaiian Raptors are projected to receive the IAE during the first half of 2020.

“Initially I think the buildup process is going to be quite tedious,” said Davidson. “It’s a big task to take on, but I think once the supplies are delivered and we’re all set up it’s going to be an amazing product for us to use.”

Story by SrA John Linzmeier 

154th Wing Public Affairs