by Airman 1st Class Jessica Hines
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — It’s a typical scene at The Stripes Pub on Peterson Air Force Base: a crowded room of servicemembers off duty waiting for the match, where the majority of the lights reflect from the large television screens overhead.
Except this time, there is one difference. One man, sitting amongst the crowded room, has never jumped out of an airplane, never applied self aid buddy care to a fellow Airman, or returned enemy fire, but he is key to one Air Force recruiter’s pursuit to reach out to a particular demographic.
Cameron Dollar, a mixed martial artist and former UFC fighter, is teaming with Staff Sgt. O.J. Toller, with the 367th Recruiting Squadron in Colorado Springs, to shine light on the Air Force Special Forces’ programs.
Both Sgt. Toller and Mr. Dollar, along with Lt. Col. Larry Norman, 367 RCS commander, and Staff Sgt. Jake Brandis, 367 RCS non-commissioned officer in charge, came to Peterson Air Force Base to meet servicemembers at the Stripes Pub.
Mr. Dollar’s visit was unannounced, but he wanted to meet the fans of mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He talked with Airmen and posed for pictures as they settled into the Stripes Pub for UFC Match 123 on Nov. 20.
“I wanted to come, it’s the least I could do,” Mr. Dollar said. “I thought it would be awesome to give back, to represent.”
Sergeant Toller sought out Mr. Dollar, he said.
“I’m a trainer and a recruiter for the 367th Recruiting Squadron, I push our Special Forces program specifically,” Sergeant Toller said. “I also fought, so I’ve worked with a lot of people throughout my career, like Cameron, who understand what it takes.”
In the Special Forces field, “what it takes” is more than just basic physical training. A total body and mind dedication is what sets these warrior Airmen apart.
“I work as a Special Forces liaison and help build a Special Forces program for pararescue, combat control; we’re looking to put kids in jobs where you’ve got to jump out of an airplane or HALO and save a downed pilot,” Sergeant Toller said.
Because of the demands of the Special Forces field, the 367 RCS is looking to reach out to the mixed martial arts community, which also requires a similar commitment to mental and physical conditioning.
“The dedication it takes to train for a fight, a 12-week training program, where you have to watch what you eat, you’ve got to do cardio that you might hate, and then three days out from a fight start cutting weight,” Sergeant Toller said. “They’re the type of people we’re looking for, we want those types of people to come in and fill those spots.”
Often times, a fighter’s career is short lived. With a chance to join Air Force Special Forces, mixed martial artist can receive training beyond the cage.
“We can give them training that will directly transition into the civilian world, like a combat controller, they’re certified as an air traffic controller, except in a combat zone,” Sergeant Toller said. “So they could leave the Air Force and go to, say Atlanta, one of the busiest airports in the world, and work in a high stress job as an air traffic controller, and that stress isn’t going to affect them because they could do that job in combat zones.”
Mr. Dollar said his advice to young athletes is to pursue their dreams.
“Anything is possible, it’s a very good way to get education, prepares you for the outside world … prepares you for life,” he said.
Colonel Norman hopes that with the Air Force presence and logo seen in the mixed martial arts community, people will see the opportunities in the Air Force and be inspired to take their abilities to the next level and train with Air Force Special Forces.
“Look at Cameron, he so calm, he’s not a hot tempered kind of guy, we want the people who are cool headed, think on their feet and are physically fit for these hard-to-fill jobs that we have,” Colonel Norman said.
“A true sportsman,” he added.