Capewell

Archive for the ‘Battlefield Airman’ Category

822nd Base Defense Squadron K9 Teams Train Fast-Rope Insertions

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Members of the 822nd Base Defense Squadron fly in a HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 41st Rescue Squadron to conduct fast-rope training with their military working dogs (MWD) Nov. 20, 2019 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Fast-roping allows the MWD teams to quickly access a rugged location where an aircraft is not able to land and start conducting base defense as soon as they are needed.

By 1st Lt. Faith Brodkorb, 93d Air Ground Operations Wing Public Affairs

Special Tactics Airman Identified, Recovery Efforts Ongoing

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – The Special Tactics Airman who had an unplanned parachute departure from a C-130 aircraft, November 5, 2019, over the Gulf of Mexico, south of Hurlburt Field, has been identified. 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was a Special Tactics combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command.

“Cole was a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family. He was a devoted family man within our squadron, focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, commander of the 23rd STS. “This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time.”

The Dallas, Texas native was a graduate of Sachse High School. He attended Utah Valley University and later served a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane, Washington. Condiff then enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2012 and immediately entered the two-year combat control training program. Upon completion of the pipeline, he was assigned to the 23rd STS at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

            Condiff was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, and a joint terminal attack controller. As a Special Tactics combat controller, Condiff was specially trained and equipped for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.

            Condiff completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan in support of national security objectives.  His awards and decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device.                                                                         

Recovery efforts by a combined U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy team are ongoing. The Air Force is actively investigating the incident. To preserve the integrity of the investigation, no additional details will be released until further notice.

Condiff is survived by his wife and their two daughters as well as by his parents, sister and two brothers.  The 24th SOW would like to emphasize the family’s request for privacy.

Statement provided by the Condiff family:

“Cole loved his country and was honored to serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy.

Cole had a deep faith in God. Although we mourn, it is through our faith that we take comfort in knowing we will be with him again.

He loved his family. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother and friend. He will be greatly missed by all.

We would like to express our deepest and unending gratitude to those that have searched so diligently.

We would also like to thank those who have been and continue to stand at the ready to help serve the family in this time of crisis.

We ask for continued prayers as his wife and daughters move forward without their beloved husband and daddy.

Please pray for all of our military men, women, and families.”

24th SOW Update: Recovery Efforts Begin For Special Tactics Airman

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – As of 6 p.m. Friday, the U.S. Air Force has taken the lead role as the search transitions to a recovery effort for the Special Tactics Airman who had an unplanned parachute departure from a C-130 aircraft November 5, 2019, over the Gulf of Mexico, south of Hurlburt Field.

              The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended their search efforts at this time.

              “We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the federal, state and local units that have aided in the search for our Airman, especially the U.S. Coast Guard,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Matt Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing. “We will continue our recovery effort as long as circumstances and resources allow to bring our Airman home.”

              Recovery teams are currently refining and adjusting the search area as efforts continue.

              To respect the privacy of the family and teammates of the individual, we will be releasing the name of the Airman following next of kin notification. 

              The Air Force is actively investigating the incident. To preserve the integrity of the investigation, no additional details will be released until further notice. 

Search Ongoing for Special Tactics Airman After Training Jump

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, a search remains underway for an Airman who exited a C-130 aircraft November 5, 2019 over the Gulf of Mexico approximately 4 miles south of Hurlburt Field. The incident is ongoing and under investigation.

Search and recovery crews were immediately called to aid in locating the Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Units participating in the efforts include:

– 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base

– 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base

– Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew

– Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew

– Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew

– Two Coast Guard Station Destin 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crews

– 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base

– U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, Duke Field

– Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office

– Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Meanwhile, In Special Tactics News

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

The Office of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OSEAC) announced today the following assignment:

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, currently assigned as the command senior enlisted leader of U.S. Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany, has been selected to replace Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell as the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, District of Columbia.

“The Last Full Measure” – Coming This October

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

“The Last Full Measure” is the story of Pararescueman William Pitsenbarger who was the first enlisted member of the Air Force to be awarded the Air Force Cross for actions on April 11, 1966 at Can My, Republic of Vietnam.

‘Pitz’as he was known, had joined the Air Force right out of High School and volunteered for Pararescue during Basic Training. A1C Pitsenbarger had flown over 300 combat rescue missions when he succumbed to wounds during that battle, having remained on the ground with the Army unit he had been dispatched to help rescue.

On December 8th, 2000, his Air Force Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He was also posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

His Medal of Honor citation reads:

Airman First Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on April 11, 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an on-going firefight between elements of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division and a sizable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to ride a hoist more than one hundred feet through the jungle, to the ground. On the ground, he organized and coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, prepared casualties for evacuation, and insured that the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Through his personal efforts, the evacuation of the wounded was greatly expedited. As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day were recovered, Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get one more wounded soldier to safety. After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind, on the ground, to perform medical duties. Shortly thereafter, the area came under sniper and mortar fire. During a subsequent attempt to evacuate the site, American forces came under heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. When the enemy launched the assault, the evacuation was called off and Airman Pitsenbarger took up arms with the besieged infantrymen. He courageously resisted the enemy, braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to American defenders. As the battle raged on, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded, pull them out of the line of fire, and return fire whenever he could, during which time, he was wounded three times. Despite his wounds, he valiantly fought on, simultaneously treating as many wounded as possible. In the vicious fighting which followed, the American forces suffered 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached, and airman Pitsenbarger was finally fatally wounded. Airman Pitsenbarger exposed himself to almost certain death by staying on the ground, and perished while saving the lives of wounded infantrymen. His bravery and determination exemplify the highest professional standards and traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Air Force.

Look for “The Last Full Measure” in select theaters on October 25th, 2019.

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