Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Battlefield Airman’ Category

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.

563d RQG Airmen Rescue Injured Mexican Fishermen

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. —

Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base’s 563d Rescue Group traveled more than 1700 miles, to save two critically injured Mexican fishermen onboard the Mazatun fishing vessel, July 10, 2019.

 The fishermen were injured when their vessel’s crane collapsed more than 1300 miles southwest of San Diego in international waters at approximately 8 p.m., July 9. Fishing nets obstructed Mazatun’s propellers during the incident making the boat unable to transit under its own power. The two severely injured fishermen were transferred to Mazatun’s sister ship, Tamara, who began making the three day journey to the nearest land, a Mexican naval outpost on Socorro Island located more than approximately 840 miles away.

 Due to the severity of the injuries and the ship’s isolated location, an urgent request was made for the specialized skills of U.S. Air Force Rescue. In response, the 563d RQG deployed multiple HC-130J Combat King II aircraft from the 79th Rescue Squadron to Tamara as it sailed to Socorro Island, July 10. Pararescuemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron parachuted from the HC-130J into the ocean. They intercepted and boarded the Tamara, and provided trauma care for the injured fishermen. They quickly stabilized the patients and offered continued care for the rest of the voyage to Socorro Island.

 “The relationship that was built with the captain of the ship allowed a seamless integration of our PJs medical capabilities to be able to provide the best treatment for the two injured fishermen,” said Capt John Conner, 48th RQS flight commander of flight 3. “It also allowed us the opportunity to work how we were going to transfer the patient on the ship to Socorro Island. That relationship was key.”

 Tamara reached Socorro harbor Friday evening, July 12. The pararescuemen transferred the fishermen to the Mexican naval medical clinic on the island where they would stay overnight. The next day an air ambulance transported them to Mazatlan, Mexico for further treatment.

 “The unsaid skill Air Force Rescue offers is the ability to solve difficult problems in a timely fashion. This mission highlights rescue professionals’ ability to network within the 563d RQG, 355th Wing and a greater Tucson medical community to solve an incredibly difficult problem, and continue solving problems throughout the mission’s execution which can be seen by the infil methods, follow-on aerial resupply, and transfer of care/exfil conditions,” said Captain Michael Erickson, 48th RQS director of operations. “Air Force Rescue’s successful execution of the mission demonstrates one of the ways Davis-Monthan’s culture of readiness and problem solving skills can support the greater joint force and our mission partners.”

 “This is the longest domestic rescue the 563d RQG has accomplished,” said Lt. Col. Scott Williams, 79th RQS commander. “The unique nature and location of the accident required specialized care, and I’m proud of the job our entire team did to ensure these men returned home to their families.”

By A1C Kristine Legate, 355th Wing Public Affairs

New USAF Special Warfare Symbol

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

This is the symbol for the new Air Force Special Warfare careerfield (Enlisted is 1Z and Officer is 19). It’s surrounded by the latest versions of the enlisted beret badges, including the new Special Reconnaissance AFSC, which replaces Special Operations Weather Team*.

The SR AFSC has already transitioned to 1Z with Pararescue and Combat Control to follow suit later this year. Along with a new AFSC, they are said to get new job titles as well. TACP and Air Liaison Officers will remain as is, at least for now. Special Tactics Officers and Combat Rescue Officers are supposed to become Special Warfare Officers.

The three new 1Z shredouts as well as STOs and CROs currently wear different colored berets. The plan is transition all to a completely new shade of Grey; Gunmetal. Once again, TACP/ALO will remain in Black berets. That is supposed to change this Fall concurrent with the amalgamation of active duty Pararescue Squadrons into Air Force Special Operations Command. Along with the current Special Tactics Squadrons they are supposed to transition into Special Warfare Squadrons. However, the beret transition is at the direction of the current AF Chief of Staff, General Goldfien. Many at the unit level feel that their heritage is being stripped away and don’t want to make the change, hoping the next CSAF won’t enact the change once he’s in place late this Summer.

As for this new symbol, don’t expect it to be used officially for anything. Guardian Angel used the globe wings for years as a morale symbol. Even so, do notice anything odd about it?

*Never fear, rumor has it Army SOF will soon once again have actual weather support as required by the Key West agreement thanks to Air Combat Command, which is standing up a Flight of Weather Parachutists, just like the old days. Rumor was bad. ACC has no intention of supporting Army SOF. Any support will come from AFSOC weather, remotely.

So Long Special Operations Weather, Hello Special Reconnaissance

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

AIR FORCE TRANSITIONS ENLISTED SPECIALTY, GROWS SPECIAL TACTICS CAPABILITIES

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – Enlisted Airmen have been analyzing weather since the very beginning of American military flight in 1917. Decades of hard-earned experience led to Special Operations Weather Team Airmen being designated with their own Air Force Specialty Code in 2008.

By combining the core skills of Special Operation Forces with their meteorology skills, SOWTs have been a critical asset to the War on Terror. Alongside Special Tactics teammates from forward deployed locations, SOWTs would gather, assess, and interpret environmental data in order to forecast weather impacts to operations. In a location like Afghanistan, this was vital to successful air-ground operations.

However, in an era of great power competition, the need to look critically at the entire U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command formation drove Headquarters Air Force and AFSOC to broaden the skillset of Special Tactics teams. On April 30, 2019, SOWT became Special Reconnaissance expanding the capacity and lethality of Air Force Special Tactics.

“Air Commandos need to operate effectively across the spectrum of conflict, from the low-end to the high-end and everywhere in between,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AFSOC commander.  “It’s what the nation expects from us and this transition demonstrates our commitment to the National Defense Strategy.”

SOWT Airmen have been an integral piece of Special Tactics with unique training to conduct multi-domain reconnaissance and surveillance across the spectrum of conflict and crisis. As Special Reconnaissance, or SR, they will continue to maintain their application of lethal and non-lethal air-to-ground integration of airpower.

“The evolution of Air Force Special Tactics on today’s battlefield has called for SOWT to transition their singular focus to a more holistic approach– the highly demanded special reconnaissance,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Guilmain, the command chief of the 24th Special Operations Wing.

Special Reconnaissance, or SR, Airmen add a new capability to Special Tactics teams to prepare the environment and aid in air, space, cyberspace, and information superiority for the successful execution of Joint Force objectives.

“[Special Reconnaissance] will truncate [special operations] weather training with a shift in focus from long-term regional forecasting to short-term, small-scale, team-specific environmental reconnaissance with an emphasis on special recon as a whole.” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Howser, a career assistant functional manager for Special Reconnaissance.

The training pipeline for SR won’t be much different from that of SOWT’s.

Trainees will still undergo:

·         Selection Course

·         Initial Skills Course

·         U.S. Army Airborne School

·         U.S. Air Force Basic Survival School

·         U.S. Air Force Water Survival School

·         U.S. Air Force Underwater Egress Training

·         Special Operations Weather Course

·         Advanced Skills Training

·         Special Tactics Training

Combat dive and military free-fall qualifications, as well as recon-specific training, are being added to the pipeline.

Existing SOWTs will attend a Special Reconnaissance transition course that will sign off SR-specific training.

“This move will modernize the force and bridge a gap across all domains,” Howser said. “It will allow joint-interoperability across all the services with regards to Special Reconnaissance.”

The Special Reconnaissance designation is not only creating Air Force history, but honoring a giant in special operations weather history.

“SR” is the operator-initials of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder, a career special operations weather officer and former commander of the 342nd Training Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Schroeder was fatally wounded during a struggle with a gunman after he instinctively placed himself between the armed individual and the squadron’s first sergeant, saving the lives of many, on April 8, 2016.

The new designation is just one way future Special Reconnaissance Airmen will remember their roots and the true meaning of service before self.

Story by Senior Airman Rachel Yates, 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Photo by Staff Sergeant Sandra Welch

Special Warfare TISC Opens Doors to Solve Tomorrow’s Problems, Dedicated to ST Founder

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) — The Special Warfare Technical Integration Support Center opened its doors during a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Jan. 11, as the newly named Col. John T. Carney Center of Excellence.

With the name of “Coach,” Carney embodied within the 25,000-square-foot facility, the roots of special tactics aim to inspire employees of the SW-TISC every day.

“Every special tactics leader strives to give their men the best equipment and training to fight our enemies,” said Col. Spencer Cocanour, 24th Special Operations Wing vice wing commander. “Coach Carney pushed the envelope to get the very best for his people. He fought the bureaucracy with the same ferocity he fought the enemy.”

The wearable communication equipment that special tactics operators carry in the field needs to be the best that the Department of Defense can offer to fight tonight and tomorrow’s battles and this starts with the work of the men and women within the SW-TISC.

“This building is unique It will bring together a diverse group of professionals with different backgrounds to collaborate, develop, test, field and operationalize concepts to maintain our competitive edge,” said Brig. Gen. William Holt, the Air Force Special Operations Command special assistant to the commander. “This rapid response integration will create a tangible repeatable innovation rhythm to reduce the timeline from innovative concept to operational implementation.”

With the National Defense Strategy of 2018 outlining the Department of Defense objectives to include delivering performance with affordability and speed, the SW-TISC will aid AFSOC by streamlining development to fielding.

“The TISC will push the envelope on fielding technology,” Cocanour said. “That means placing cutting edge technology into the hands of the most lethal special operators this nation has ever produced.”

By integrating technologies, ensuring interoperability and providing appropriate updates and training on the equipment used in the 24 SOW, special tactics operators are able to answer U.S. Special Operations Command’s call to deliver tactical air-to-ground integration and conduct global access, precision strike, personnel recovery, and battlefield surgery operations.

“There’s a SOF principle of the hyper enabled operator that is a highly trained individual with elite skills, but they also have a network of systems on them that they wear and that they interact with,” said Todd Weiser, the chief technology officer and director of innovations with AFSOC. “The future is that operator is going to have the ability with their kit to inter-operate with an F-35 [Lightning II], with an F-22 [Raptor], with an Army vehicle. That network, the sharing of information and internet of things, micro sensors, micro small unmanned aircraft system; all of that stuff is coming together.”

As a special tactics officer with years of experience in the field and operations, Lt. Col. Eli Mitchell, the branch chief of special tactics requirements with AFSOC, sees tomorrow’s battle requiring a more accurate and efficient way of delivering capabilities.

“(The SW-TISC) is a game changer — really what it does is speeds up bombs on targets and increases situational awareness on the battlefield,” Mitchell said. “You’re talking about reducing the potential for fratricide, increasing target engagement timelines and also increasing your munitions effectiveness by more precisely striking the appropriate target.”

By evolving for tomorrow’s fight, the special tactics enterprise is leading from the front with technology and equipment used on the battlefield on a global scale within the Air Force, SOCOM, and the DOD.

“The world’s more complex than it ever has been and it’s continuously getting more complex and we need to get ahead of it in a timely manner,” Wieser said. “That’s what this facility will help us do, get ahead of it so that we can compete with our near peers as well as other adversaries.”

Holt left the most recent addition to the AFSOC team with some motivations to do exactly what Air Commandos are known for; thinking outside the box.

“You are in the business of making the impossible, possible. Your mission is to get out of the box,” Holt said. “When someone tells you it’s impossible, double down to prove them wrong. Never forget there is always a way.”

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

Space Operators Provide TACPs Tactical Space Training

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —

Deployed Tactical Air Control Party Airmen expect space effects to work; otherwise pilots get shot down, bombs miss targets, and soldiers die. TACPs may not know how space works, but if it doesn’t work well for America and its allies then its results devastating.

U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airmen with the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 227th Air Support Operations Squadron coordinate close air support with U.S. Marine Corps aircraft during joint training on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Dec. 6, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Space operators from the 16th and 4th Space Control Squadrons at Peterson Air Force Base are working to change the TACP community’s knowledge of space by developing the first Space Operations Course, Jan. 7-11. The course was an Airman initiative designed to give the TACPs a working knowledge of what space effects from three Air Force Space Command wings do to specifically impact their ground operations.   

The week-long course, organized by Airmen of the 21st Space Wing and the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, allowed TACP Airmen a look into tactical-level space operations with regard to mission planning.

“There are two big reasons why we came together to create this course,” said Capt. Ray Reeves, 13th ASOS flight commander and course planner. “The first reason is that the TACP community is focusing on integrating operations across multiple domains at the tactical level, based on the Air Force Chief of Staff’s priorities. The second was based off experiences from my last deployment. On the way out of theater I went by the Combined Air and Space Operations Center and received a brief from the space team in theater. I was surprised to learn there were a lot of capabilities and information that their assets were providing and major effects they could have on the battlefield. At the tactical level within my area of operations, neither myself nor the ground team I was with know those capabilities existed, which could have impacted our operations on the ground in a positive manner.”

Tactical air control Airmen assigned to the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and the 818 Operational Support Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina perform exercise Talon Fury Dec. 12, 2019 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. During the exercise TACP Airmen’s job were in charge of calling in the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to help provide air support to those who are on the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Barley)

Upon return from that deployment, Reeves began working with the 21st SW to determine what space brings to the fight and how they can work together to improve battlefield operations.

TACP Space Integration Course 19-01 provided 18 Airmen from 11 units operational knowledge of the 21st SW, 50th SW, 460th SW and the National Reconnaissance Office.

“Space is really at the forefront of deployed operations,” said Capt. Chelsea Moss, 16th SPCS weapons and tactics flight commander and course planner. “TACPs are the subject matter experts for air power for the Army. There wasn’t any formal instruction on space, so we wanted to be able to provide this course to show the importance of space in mission planning and support.”

Topics covered during the course included GPS, communicating in jammed environments, space support in monitoring Remotely Piloted Aircraft, space threats, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance threats, and battlespace situational awareness.

“Particularly from the perspective of the 21st SW, we wanted to show how we monitor RPA links and how we can provide support,” said Moss. “We wanted to show what we do on a basic level and how TACPs can request space support from the Air Operations Center.”

“Working with our Airmen on the ground and showing them how space capabilities can improve their operations is crucial to maintaining our warfighting superiority,” said Col. Devin Pepper, 21st Operations Group commander. “The creation of this course is such an important step for both Air Force Space Command and Air Combat Command.”

Equipped with a better understanding of the symbiotic relationship between space and ground operations, TACPs can better integrate space into their training and operations.  

“I can’t put into words how important this is to the TACP community,” said Reeves. “When we start talking about the future fights and what we’re training toward – and we’re talking about major contested operations with a peer enemy – the ability to operate from multiple domains is going to be key to any success on the ground. By us learning what space can provide and being able to integrate it at the ground level, we are going to impact far more than just the TACP community. TACPs are aligned from the lowest tactical echelon in the Army to three-star headquarters, so if we can help integrate space across those echelons I believe we can have a Department of Defense wide impact.”

TACPs are embedded with Army units and are responsible for planning, integrating and executing Air Force operations worldwide. When properly trained and positioned they ensure the space-based effects are used and integrated to support ground maneuvers.

By Staff Sgt. Emily Kenney, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs

Commander of Special Tactics Enterprise Promoted to Brigadier General

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —

Hundreds of family, friends and teammates gathered as U.S. Air Force Col. Claude K. Tudor, Jr., commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general during a ceremony Feb. 8, here.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, was the presiding official during the ceremony.

“There’s a few things we want in a general officer,” Webb said. “We want officers of character; those that are competent; those that are professional; those that have integrity; that are team players; that have compassion for their troops, our charges after all; those that are intellectually curious; those that have strategic vision…tying complex ideas to the other; being prudently audacious, never quitting; and of course, wrapped up in our motto, understanding there is a way and we will find it.”

Webb concluded with stating Tudor is all of this and more.

Tudor earned an Air Force commission through the Troy State University Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1992 and immediately entered the pipeline to become a Special Tactics officer.  

As a Special Tactics Officer, Tudor is specially trained in the planning and employment of Special Tactics Teams at all levels of command to provide: global access for force projection; precision strike, i.e. close air support, combined arms, and strategic attack; personnel recovery/combat search and rescue, and battlefield trauma surgery.

Tudor has spent the preponderance of his career in special operations ground combat assignments and deployed extensively in support of joint and coalition special operations leading combat, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations globally.

Tudor took command of Air Force Special Operations Command’s 24th SOW Mar. 8, 2018, and is responsible for preparing Air Force Special Tactics Teams to conduct global air, space, and cyber-enabled special operations across the spectrum of conflict to prepare for, fight, and win our nation’s wars. These Airmen are disciplined and hand-selected Airmen to lead joint operations and deliver solutions to the nation’s most complex military challenges. The 24th SOW is the only wing in the Air Force dedicated to training, equipping and providing Special Tactics Airmen for immediate deployment into combat operations.

Tudor gave remarks during the ceremony, driving home his motivation to continue serving Airmen, his passion, and he attributed his success to many in the audience.

“It’s not just about the individual DNA, but also the family, the neighbors, school teachers, and friends who are like family and forged me to who I am today; so thank you for coming and sharing in this event with us,” Tudor said.

Tudor is a qualified military free fall jumper, a static line jumpmaster with more than 400 jumps, combat diver, Federal Aviation Administration certified Air Traffic Controller, and Joint Terminal Attack Controller.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Gallant Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and eight devices and Air Force Recognition Ribbon.

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

SHOT Show 19 – Quantico Tactical Exhibits Laser Early Warning Detection System

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

The Laser Early Warning Detection System is one of those technologies that is going to save lives. In fact, it was developed by Attollo Engineering from their OMNir technology at the direction of Air Force Research Labs because of a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan where a US aircraft mistakenly bombed US troops.

LEWDS is lightweight and mounts to the top of the helmet or other equipment. It uses a common CR123A battery.

It offers a haptic alert (user programmable) if it is lased with 1064 & 1550nm energy which is generated by:

– Low Eye-safe military laser rangefinders (LRFs) used for precision target locating

– Low frequency gimbal-mounted LRFs

– High frequency handheld LRFs

– PRF-coded Laser Target Markers (LTMs) used for handoff to laser designator systems

– PRF-coded Laser Target Designators
(LTDs) used for guiding laser guided bombs

In addition to direct targeting LEWDS also detects “Danger Close” illumination and is designed to reject false alarms.

LEWDS does not need to be fielded to all. Because it detects Laser energy generated from above, Terminal Attack Controllers and small unit leaders are the best use of the device as they are most likely to have contact with Close Air Support aircraft to alert them they are placing friendly troops in danger.

LEWDS is available from www.quanticotactical.com.