Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

Army Master Gunners Hold Position of Trust

Saturday, May 18th, 2024

FORT CARSON, Colo. — When Jacob Seitz joined the Army in April 2019, he aspired to be a Soldier that both commanders and enlisted troops could seek for battlefield knowledge.

As a master gunner for the Stryker armored fighting vehicle, Seitz joined a career field that adapts to the Army’s changing needs.

To earn the coveted Master Gunner Identification Badge [MGIB] a Soldier must take one of eight master gunner courses, such as infantry, aviation or field artillery. Required ranks range from non-commissioned officers E5 to E7 to warrant officers in aviation.

After attending the Master Gunner training in March 2023, the Army assigned Seitz as master gunner for the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson, a position he doesn’t take lightly.

Master gunners act as tactical and technical experts for their weapons platform. They earn certifications on their assigned weapons system, ammunition and maintenance. The Army tasks master gunners with preserving the integrity of direct fire training programs.

“Everyone sees a master gunner, and they think that they can fix everything, which most of the time is true,” he said. “We do have that level of expertise. But they really look up to a master gunner to train them to a level that their squad or platoon leadership may not possess as far as knowledge or expertise to the platform.”

Seitz, a 26-year old staff sergeant, said that master gunners act as standard bearers assuring Soldiers in their platoon adhere to military doctrine. Before Soldiers can apply to attend master gunner school, they must possess intricate knowledge of their weapons system, Army range safety rules and basic weapons maintenance.

Soldiers attend the Master Gunner School at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Moore, Georgia, where they take a 20-day, four-part course known as “common core” before attending Master Gunner School. At common core, students learn how to direct fire and weapons training to raise the lethality of fires while minimizing the effects on friendly forces and bystanders. Soldiers will also learn to formulate their own mounted, machine gun unit training plan and proficiency gunnery training programs based on commanders’ intent.

Master Gunners must also consult with the S2, intelligence and security staff officer and the S3, the plans, training, and operations officer to develop battle scenarios.

“We take that information, and we do scenario development as far as collective training,” he said. “We develop scenarios based specifically on what that next fight looks like and to train our personnel on how to engage the enemy in that instance.”

Depending on the platform, some students then will attend the two-month, Master Gunner School on the tactical and technical side of their weapons platform.

“The most challenging part for the Master Gunner Course is probably the amount of memorization that you need to do on military doctrine,” Seitz said. “It’s kind of really what it’s all focused on. It’s kind of platform specific. The Stryker is arguably one of the more difficult platforms to learn.”

Seitz faced the daunting challenge of learning the Stryker’s sophisticated systems. A lighter and faster vehicle than its Bradley and tank counterparts, the Stryker has received upgrades to boost its maneuverability and lethality including variants like the Medium Caliber Weapon System.

He also took lessons on expert level doctrine of the Stryker Medium Caliber Weapon System, the anti-tank guided missile, the remote weapons station and the Javelin, a portable anti-tank weapon.

In the distinguished position, the Soldiers act as trusted counsel to commanders in battlefield scenarios.

“We serve in kind of like an advisory role, especially like in combat operations,” Seitz said. “We advise the commander based on our direct fire and indirect fire capabilities and kind of employment of our weapons systems.”

“A master gunner is a subject matter expert on their platform and the weapons system they’re in,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Sutton, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle master gunner. “Take the Bradley for example, you’re tied into [an] understanding of how the weapons systems tie into the functions of the turret; how the functions of the turret tie into the whole … as master gunners of the Bradley, we know how all this ties together.”

The Army waived a previous minimum general test score requirement for Stryker master gunners and expanded the field from cavalry scouts and infantry to include combat engineers and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists. Seitz said the service made the changes to adapt to the new Stryker variants.

The service has explored using augmented reality to enhance Soldiers training. This month the (MCoE) scheduled another Soldier touchpoint to use the Augmented Reality Maintainer-Operator Relay System or ARMORS device during master gunner training. The system uses digital work instructions and augmented reality overlays to allow students to digest lessons at a greater pace.

As the training and platform continually evolve, Seitz looks forward to using the skills he learned on the future battlefield.

“What really motivates me is my family – the Soldiers that I work with,” he said. “I leave work every day knowing that I did something to make the organization even better; a little more lethal. What I’m doing here is probably going to save lives overseas. And I know that what I do here is going to increase the number of people that come back to see their families.”

By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service

US Army Eliminates Distributed Learning Courses

Thursday, May 16th, 2024

Effective Immediately: To meet the CSA’s intent of eliminating training which is redundant, antiquated, or doesn’t support warfighting and lethality, the US Army has determined it will eliminate approximately 346 hours of Distributed Learning Courses for Officers and NCOs.

An analysis determined these courses were redundant and/or antiquated when assessed against current training requirements and needs.

Enlisted courses being eliminated are Distributed Learning Courses (DLC) I–VI (formerly known as Structured Self Development (SSD) I–VI), they account for 253 hours or 31 days.

Officer courses being eliminated are the Distance Learning Prerequisite for Commanders Career Course and the Distance Learning Prerequisite for Commanding General Staff Officers Course (P920), these account for 93 hours or 12 days.

164 hours of prerequisite Distance Learning Courses remain and are currently under analysis for potential elimination in the future.

An ALARACT message will publish later today detailing full information on this change.

This We’ll Defend!

-SMA Michael Weimer

DAF Looks to Strengthen CATM Career Field, Deliver Better Training

Sunday, May 5th, 2024


Air Force Security Forces is looking to strengthen the combat arms training and maintenance community while also delivering better training opportunities for Airmen and Guardians.     

The Combat Arms Working Group, a joint effort between the Air Force Security Forces Center, Headquarters Air Force Security Forces and major command representatives, is focused on evolving CATM for the first time since a Security Forces merger in 1997, said Chief Master Sgt. Donald Gallagher, SF career field manager.  

At that time, law enforcement and security specialists were combined and the military working dog and combat arms disciplines were not individual specialties. With those things in mind, more than 50 CATM professionals met recently in San Antonio to establish a concept of action for the manpower agency to use to create the first ever CATM Air Force job qualification standard.    

“The current standard is the most complicated formula in the Air Force and uses outdated methods and statistics to establish CATM manpower,” said Jason Seibel, Air Force Combat Arms Program chief at AFSFC.     

“It is imperative we have a full team of CATM professionals at every installation across the enterprise to provide first-class weapons training to our warfighting Airmen and Guardians,” he said. “With Air Force Force Generation, Ready Airman Training and Multi-Capable Airmen, the demand is only going to increase, and we need to get this right, right now.”   

The Air Force Job Qualification Standard is key to the success of the career field. Together with the career field education and training plan approved earlier this year, CATM instructors will now have a training roadmap from the moment they enter the career field as junior Airmen until they’re master sergeants, Seibel said.    

“This comprehensive change has never been attempted before, so the working group broke some serious glass in creating an AFJQS with over 320 training objectives,” he said. “This will all culminate over the next 12 months as current CATM members with a special experience identifier 312 will be converted to a seven level in the career field.”   

Establishing the working group is key to molding CATM for the future.   

“It provides an immense step forward by bringing professionals together who have long-time working knowledge in the field and allows in-depth collaboration,” said Senior Master Sgt. William Johnson, Air Force Reserve Command CATM Functional Manager.   

Together, they are building an in-depth training track for the new era of CATM instructors “to ensure they have the knowledge and understanding of how a professional Air Force CATM section should operate with a sense of integrity to the profession,” he said.    

Building a truly balanced and in-depth training program is expected to give current and new instructors a deep understanding of what it actually takes to operate a CATM section.    

“It will also give those in the career field an overall sense of pride for their profession and military career,” Johnson said.   

The benefits also filter down to those who cycle through CATM for their weapons training needs, often right before important deployments.   

“Airmen and Guardians will see professional instructors with a passion for weapons, safety and teaching … being comfortable handling something that may make them not so comfortable,” Johnson said. “It will allow students to have a more enjoyable experience doing things outside of their comfort zones and to me, this is the most important accomplishment for CATM instructors to accomplish their mission.”   

Each working group season also allows everyone’s voice to be heard and considered.    

“Having ideas from across the enterprise regardless of whether you’re from regular Air Force, Reserves or National Guard … every idea could be the one that is the missing link to provide the correct path for the career field. It’s truly a pleasure to be a part of the group and assist with the forward movement of the career field,” Johnson said.

By Debbie Aragon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

Black Powder Red Earth 28mm Game to Present at Connections Wargaming Conference

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

We are pleased to announce that Echelon – Design Team Ember has been selected to present Black Powder Red Earth 28mm at the Connections Wargaming Conference hosted by the U.S. Army War College, at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA, on June 27, 2024.

Our presentation, The Fundamentals of Close Combat Abstraction, details the process and considerations that drove the design of the game. The presentation will be followed by a short question + answer session as well as game demos and an open social to talk with designers Jon Chang, and Michael Durao.

Learn more and register to attend at the Connections website.

USAF Accepting Applications for Cyber Warrant Officers

Friday, April 26th, 2024


The Air Force is now accepting applications, from April 25 to May 31, for Airmen aspiring to become the inaugural cohort of warrant officers in the information technology and cyber career fields.

Plans to re-introduce warrant officers to the Air Force was announced by Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall at the Air and Space Forces Association’s 2024 Warfare Symposium in conjunction with the Department’s plan to Reoptimize for Great Power Competition.

“We need operational units with all the capabilities they need to deter and compete with our pacing challenges and ready to enter a conflict on short or no notice,” Kendall said. “In those units we need the right mix of skills necessary for high end combat and to ensure technological superiority, particularly in information technology and cyber.”

This announcement marks a significant milestone for the initiative and presents an opportunity for up to 60 selected candidates, who will play a crucial role in addressing the multifaceted challenges of today’s dynamic security landscape. This decision signifies a pivotal moment in Air Force history, representing a strategic shift towards bolstering technical proficiency and operational effectiveness.”

This announcement marks a significant milestone for the initiative and presents an opportunity for up to 60 selected candidates, who will play a crucial role in addressing the multifaceted challenges of today’s dynamic security landscape. This decision signifies a pivotal moment in Air Force history, representing a strategic shift towards bolstering technical proficiency and operational effectiveness.

“The reintroduction of the warrant officer career path reflects the Air Force’s commitment to expanding and retaining technical excellence, essential for maintaining a strategic advantage in an era defined by Great Power Competition,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin. “By investing in talent management programs that preserve proficiency and competence in our perishable and highly technical skills, the Air Force aims to ensure its readiness to stay ahead of rapidly advancing threats and safeguard national security interests effectively.”

The history and role of warrant officers
The Air Force dissolved its Warrant Officer Corps in 1958 following the creation of the senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant ranks, who took on warrant officer responsibilities. These SNCOs took on specific technical duties, but were never relieved of their institutional requirements.

The reintroduction of the Warrant Officer Corps career path in the Air Force aims to address critical operational needs, while maintaining highly perishable skills, and leverage the unique expertise and capabilities of warrant officers. They will serve as technical experts, functional leaders, advisors, professionals, and risk managers, contributing to the overall proficiency of their organizations.

Application Requirements

This first cohort of active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve candidates must hold the rank of at least staff sergeant and have one year of active federal service. Notably, applicants must meet specific experience and proficiency requirements outlined for each warrant officer specialty, ensuring a highly skilled and capable cohort.

The Air Force created two new Air Force specialty codes for warrant officers, reflecting the critical role these officers will play in the realm of cyber and information technology. The first AFSC, 17W – Warfighter Communications & IT Systems Operations, designates individuals as subject matter experts and trusted advisors on the planning, deployment, employment, and securing of enterprise and warfighter communication systems.

These warrant officers will provide technical guidance to commanders and staff, ensuring the efficient operation and management of communication assets at all echelons. Additionally, they will play a pivotal role in mentoring and developing cyberspace personnel, contributing to the overall cybersecurity posture of the Air Force.

The second AFSC, 17Y – Cyber Effects & Warfare Operations, designates individuals as subject matter experts and trusted advisors on offensive and defensive cyber operations assets and personnel. These warrant officers will be responsible for orchestrating, managing, and integrating cyberspace technical capabilities, delivering critical technical recommendations across various military and inter-agency platforms. Their expertise will extend to integrating cyberspace capabilities into warfighting functions to enhance combat effectiveness and maneuvering strategically in the cyber domain.

Although Airmen in any AFSC can apply, they must meet specific functional technical experience to ensure these individuals possess the requisite skills and experience to excel in their duties, contributing significantly to the Air Force’s technical readiness and operational effectiveness in cyberspace operations.

For the Warfighting Communications & IT Systems Operations (17W) AFSC, applicants must possess a minimum of 24 months of documented operational experience with enterprise IT or warfighter communications systems in areas such as voice and data internetworking, local and wide area networks, including terrestrial, satellite, and aerial systems, as well as network planning. Additionally, all applicants much hold a minimum Department of Defense approved industry certification commensurate with the requirements for the Information Assurance Technical Level II certification or higher.

Similarly, candidates for the Cyber Effects & Warfare Operations (17Y) AFSC must hold senior level proficiency in one or more U.S. Cyber Command work roles as defined in the Commands Job Qualification System, or National Security Agency equivalent. Additionally, for those specifically interested in a Cyber Capability Developer work role, must be a certified U.S. Cyber Command Senior Cyberspace Capability Developer or a Computer Network Operations Development Program graduate or have three years of experience in system level programming, i.e. C, Assembly.

Members are encouraged to read the Personnel Service Delivery Memorandum in its entirety to ensure they qualify to apply.

After Applying

The selection board process, scheduled for June 24-28, will identify top candidates poised to assume critical roles as technical experts, functional leaders, and advisors within their specialized domains. Those selected for the first cohort will be notified in late July.

Candidates will undergo comprehensive training at the Warrant Officer Training School starting in the fall of 2024 or early 2025, which will be located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and will focus on equipping them with the necessary skills to excel in their new roles.

Upon graduation from WOTS, candidates will be warrant officers and will be reassigned to operational units across the Air Force. Their assignments will align with operational requirements and member preferences to maximize their effectiveness in enhancing technical readiness and operational effectiveness.

“These are highly in-demand, and also extremely perishable, skills in today’s rapidly-evolving landscape,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force David A. Flosi. “As we navigate the complexities of Great Power Competition, our ability to adapt and innovate hinges on the expertise of our Airmen. Using our Airmen’s full potential is not just a strategic advantage; it’s a necessity for our Air Force’s readiness and effectiveness in the face of a challenging strategic environment.”

For additional information on the requirements of becoming a warrant officer, click here.

Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Political Activity Dos and Don’ts for Airmen, Guardians, DoD Employees

Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


In our democracy, elections are quite common, and with a presidential election this year, we can expect many opportunities for citizens to participate in the democratic process. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of specific guidelines that apply to service members and federal employees on acceptable behavior. 

Military personnel and civilian employees are encouraged to carry out their obligations of citizenship, which include the right to participate personally in the political process. These rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution that all military members have taken an oath to support and defend.

Because of that oath, service members and civilian employees also have a duty to ensure that their personal activities do not imply official endorsement by the Department of Defense or Department of the Air Force. As individuals, we do not have to be politically neutral, but the Air Force and Space Force do. These rules help to ensure the DoD does not influence or appear to be partisan in our nation’s electoral process. 

Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, and individual service regulations outline permitted and prohibited political activities by active duty, Reserve component and retired service members. These rules regulate how and when service members are able to participate in the political process. Service members who violate these directives could face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and/or other criminal or administrative penalties. The Hatch Act of 1939 (5 U.S.C. 7321-7326) applies to civilian employees and similarly regulates how and when individuals can conduct personal political activities.  

Service members and federal employees are encouraged to participate in the political process, but they must be careful about not engaging in political activities in the workplace and not using their official positions to advocate for or against political issues. With the directives set forth in DoDD 1344.10 and other regulations in mind, service members should be aware of what they can and cannot do regarding political activities. The below do’s/don’ts are not exhaustive, and service members and employees should consult with their servicing legal office with any questions regarding their personal political activities.

Active duty service members CAN: 

· Register to vote, vote and encourage others to vote. 

· Express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues. 

· Write a letter in a newspaper, blog or social media expressing personal political views. However, if you identify yourself as a service member (for example, if you have a photo on your social media of yourself in uniform) you must include a statement that your views do not represent those of the Department of Defense or Department of the Air Force. 

· Attend partisan or non-partisan political rallies and clubs as a spectator during off-duty hours. However, service members (including retirees) may not be in uniform. 

· Serve as a non-partisan election official while off-duty and not in uniform. However, this requires Department Secretary (e.g., Secretary of the Air Force) approval. Contact your servicing Legal Office for more information. 

· Sign petitions for legislative action or to place a candidate’s name on the ballot, if done as a private citizen and not as a representative of the armed forces. 

· Donate money to a political party, candidate, organization or committee. 

· Display one non-offensive bumper sticker on your personally owned vehicles. 

· Wear political t-shirts or buttons when not in uniform, performing military duties or when it could give the appearance of DoD or DAF endorsement. 

Active duty service members CANNOT: 

 · Attend a political event (meeting, rally, fundraiser, debate, convention) in uniform, whether it is partisan or nonpartisan. 

· Express personal opinions as if they are service branch or DoD policy. 

· Make derogatory statements about elected officials and DoD/DAF leadership – a potential UCMJ violation. 

· Organize, lead, sponsor or speak at partisan political events. 

· Engage in partisan political fundraising activities – except as a donor. 

· Place large political signs on your vehicle (bigger than a bumper sticker). 

· Display any type of political sign, banner, poster or similar device in your office, work area or on-base residence (including privatized housing). 

· Engage in the public or organized recruitment of others to run for political office. 

· Run for political office without Secretary of the Air Force approval. 

· Attempt to influence the view, position or vote of any subordinate.

The Hatch Act governs political activities by DoD and other federal civilian employees. The Hatch Act provides restrictions that are similar, but not identical, to those imposed on active duty service members, and restrictions on civilian employees are broken down into “Further Restricted” and “Less Restricted” categories. Most DAF employees will be “Less Restricted,” meaning, GS-15 and below, and Schedule C employees. Federal civilian employees who violate these rules and restrictions are at risk of disciplinary actions, including reprimand, suspension, removal, debarment from federal employment for up to 5 years, and a $1,000 fine.

All federal civilian employees CAN: 

 · Register to vote, vote and encourage others to vote. 

· Express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues. 

· Write a letter in a newspaper, blog or social media expressing personal political views.  

· Attend political fundraising functions, rallies and clubs during off-duty hours. 

· Serve as a non-partisan election official. 

· Sign petitions for legislative action or to place a candidate’s name on the ballot, if done as a private citizen. 

· Donate money to a political party, organization or committee. 

· Display one non-offensive bumper sticker on your personally owned vehicles. 

· Be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections in accordance with Office of Personnel Management requirements. 

· Display or wear political signs, stickers, t-shirts or buttons when not on-duty, in a government building or using a government vehicle.

All Federal Civilian Employees CANNOT: 

 · Use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect an election. 

· Solicit, accept or receive political contributions. 

· Use an official title while participating in political activities. 

· Engage in political activity while: on duty, in a government building or vehicle or wearing an official uniform. 

· Become a candidate in a partisan election. 

· Host or sponsor a political fundraiser (though merely attending one is permitted).

Less Restricted Civilians CAN: 

· Volunteer to work for partisan political campaigns 

· Attend and be active (including speaking) at political rallies and meetings 

· Join and hold office in a political party or organization 

· Work the polls on election day for a candidate for partisan political office 

· Assist in partisan voter registration drives (but not in the workplace). 

· Organize and speak at a political fundraiser (but cannot solicit or receive funds).

Service members are encouraged to review DoDD 1344.10 and Department of the Air Force Instruction 51-508, Political Activities, Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly to understand permissible political activity.  

DoD civilian employees are encouraged to visit for more information on the Hatch Act.  

All members are encouraged to review the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s 15 February 2024 memorandum on Political activities, available at:

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. For further assistance or if you have questions or concerns, please contact your installation legal office. 

USSOCOM Inducts 18 New Members into Commando Hall of Honor

Sunday, April 21st, 2024

U.S. Special Operations Command inducted 18 former special operators to include 9 Medal of Honor recipients into the USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor located at the USSOCOM headquarters, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, April 17, 2024. More than 100 people attended the ceremony and watched as each inductee received a medal from U.S. Army Gen. Bryan P. Fenton, USSOCOM commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Shane Shorter, USSOCOM command senior enlisted leader.

The Commando Hall of Honor was established in 2010 by former USSOCOM Commander Admiral Eric T. Olson and the award recognizes individuals who have served with distinction within the special operations forces community. The inductees join the storied ranks of those who preceded them.

This year’s Medal of Honor inductees were Vice Adm. John Duncan Bulkeley, Lt. j.g.  (SEAL) Joseph R. Kerrey, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor, LT. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, Lt. (SEAL) Thomas R. Norris, Seaman David G. Ouellet, Lt. Cdr. Arthur M. Preston, Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Britt Kelly Slabinski, and Lt. (SEAL) Michael E. Thornton.

The special operators inductees were Air Force Col.. Stephen L. Baker, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lewis H. Burruss, U.S. Army Col. Jerry M. King, U.S. Marine Corps Col. Craig S. Kozeniesky, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Wesley H. Rice, U.S. Navy Capt. William M. Shepherd, U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Peter Stalik, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William P. Tangney, and U.S. Air Force Lt Gen. Marshall B. Webb.

“Today for us is historic. This ceremony is about our people and really reflects our first SOF truth that humans are more important than hardware,” Fenton said. “Today we will reach 8 decades inducting 18 heroes into the Hall of Honor who took on some of the toughest missions in special operations.”

Buruss is a Vietnam veteran who conducted frequent cross border operations against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army and was also heavily involved in sensitive activities. For his numerous valorous acts and courage under fire, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with valor, the Air Medal and three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry.

“It’s just a real honor to be inducted to the Commando Hall of Honor,” Buruss said. “I know there are so many more deserving, but I am still honored and proud.”

Webb had a myriad of assignments over his 38 years of dedicated service to special operations. He participated in the search and recovery effort of United States Commerce Secretary Ron Brown who was on an official trade mission in Bosnia, when the Air Force CT-43 he was traveling in crashed into a mountainside near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Immediately following that mission, Webb participated in Operation Assured Response, the noncombatant evacuation operation of the United States Embassy located at Monrovia, Liberia. During both events, in recognition of his extreme fortitude, airmanship, and devotion to the humanitarian effort, he earned the 1996 Cheney Award. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he commanded a contingent of three Pave Low helicopters, crews, and support personnel to assist with recovery, search and rescue, and provided critical assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he led a flight of seven Pave Low helicopters that inserted several teams of United States SEAL teams and British Royal Marines in the al Faw area to safeguard oil platforms to prevent an ecological disaster. During the operation to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, he coordinated and facilitated the real-time video feed in the White House Situation Room as the United States President, Vice President, and members of the national security team looked on.

“This induction ceremony is so unique to SOCOM because it reached back 8 generations inducting people from World War II. You could see pride in the face of the families seeing their relatives inducted into the hall,” Webb said. “For me personally, it is an honor to be in the company of these heroes.”

The newest members will join other recognized warriors in the Commando Hall of Honor, which includes such legendary names as Aaron Bank, Charles Beckwith, Ted Lunger, Sidney Shacknow, William Darby and Army Col. Ralph Puckett, Jr.. Their contributions and legacies to the special operations community and this country have been unquestionably influential and are truly inspirational.

By: Michael Bottoms

USSOCOM Public Affairs

Blast From The Past – Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

This is a repost of a story from a few years ago. I was reminded of it based in a TTP you’ll see later today.

When I joined the Army in 1985, most of my senior NCO leadership had served in Vietnam. They were men who had seen combat and we hung on their every word as we trained.

In the late 80s, I served in a LRSD in Germany. We turned to photocopies of a document produced by the Vietnam-era Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group’s Det B-52 aka Project Delta called ‘Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade.’


We poured over its 32 pages which were gold to us, offering guidance on how to configure equipment and conduct ourselves on patrols. Some of the information was outdated due to equipment changes, other data was not applicable because we faced a different foe, on different terrain. However, the basics remained the same.

Around the same time, 1st Bn, 7th SFG(A) were gathering their own lessons learned from operations in Central America which would not be released formally until the mid-90s. This update was entitled “Combat Recon Manual: Tips of the Trade” but is often referred to as the “ODB-720 Tips.” Unfortunately, it was much more difficult to share information pre-internet and I never saw a copy until I was about to leave a 3rd Group SOT-A for the Air Force.

The original B-52 Manual is available on the web from Chapter 31 of the Special Forces Association at Whether you’re reading from a historical perspective or a professional one, there are still a few gems in there. You can find the ODB-720 Tips here.