By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — A combat controller with the 24th Special Operations Wing visited Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado to educate enlisted and officer Airmen interested in cross-training into special tactics in the First Term Airmen Classroom, May 1.
Tech. Sgt. William Johnson, combat controller in charge of cross-training noncommissioned officers with the 24th Special Operations Wing Special Tactics Training Squadron, Flight 4, presented facts on joining the elite ranks of the 24th SOW and the opportunities available to attendees.
The 24th SOW is looking for motivated Airmen who are prepared to dedicate themselves to the special tactics mission of integrating air and ground forces for mission success. The Air Force Specialties featured in the briefing were Combat Control, Tactical Air Control Party, Special Operations Weather Team, Pararescue, Special Tactics Officer and Special Operations Surgical Team.
Schriever AFB’s Career Assistance Advisor, Master Sgt. Janelle Amador with the 50th Force Support Squadron, says the briefings are important to Schriever because of the amount of talent on base.
“We have such a vast amount of expertise here, any special tactics team could definitely use our skills,” she said. “Course, Air Force wide you have so many.”
In the 1970s, Air Force special tactics started with a small number of highly skilled men were brought together to provide the U.S. military a vital air and ground integration capability. At the time the team was colloquially known as Brand X. Over the years, the team developed capabilities supporting global mission requirements in the changing world environment, becoming what we now know as Air Force Special Tactics.
Today, more than 1,500 Special Tactics Airmen enable global access, precision strike and tactical rescue and recovery operations in special operations, bringing a breadth of unique air-to-ground capabilities, while performing traditional special operation mission sets.
Johnson says there’s no minimum number or no maximum number when it comes to people, and the more Airmen who show up to the briefings the better. However, it doesn’t mean everyone gets chosen.
“We are selective. So we are going to throw that net out there and not everyone is going to get caught-not everyone is going to get the opportunity to come within the job,” he said.
The goal of sending someone such as Johnson out is to inform people about jobs and opportunities within special tactics.
“My job when I go out is to make sure Airmen know what’s out there,” he said. “For instance, the Special Operations Surgical Team, not a lot of people know SOST is a part of special tactics and a lot of support jobs fall within special tactics as well.”
Another topic addressed during the briefing was the opening of the special tactics AFSCs to female Airmen.
“All the jobs in special tactics are open to everyone,” Johnson said. “If you are a female and interested in any of these jobs, please let us know. Standards are all the same. Once you get picked up you are part of the team no matter what. You are treated as an equal.”
Johnson said Airmen often hear certain things about special tactics from various avenues, but maintains he will tell you firsthand what it’s about.
“I am a combat controller. I can tell you what being a special tactics Airmen is about,” he said. “I have worked with people in and out of special tactics, and I can tell you what their jobs are about.”
Amador says Air Force Special Operations Command and 24th SOW send a representative out at least twice a year. If you miss one of those opportunities, she is happy to help you.
“I carry their (24th SOW) pamphlets and materials in case anyone wants their services or if they have enough personnel to have a class, they will come out here TDY,” she said. “All you have to do is ask. Come see me. Even if we don’t have a class I’ll help you.”