38th RQS tests rescue capabilities

Pararescuemen from the 38th Rescue Squadron (RQS) propel a mannequin out of a window during a full mission profile exercise, Dec. 12, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During the training, the 38th RQS recovered victims while under enemy fire to prepare for future search and rescue missions and to assess their unit’s ability to work cohesively to accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Eugene Oliver

43 Weeks of Battlefield Airman Workout Plans

Here are 43 FREE, FOCUSED, COMPLETE & COMPREHENSIVE weekly workout plans to integrate into your preparation regimen for Battlefield Airmen selection training.  These ‘Dirty Scurve’ workouts are brought to you by the fine folks of Cone Fit.  Although the continual refreshment of workouts has ceased, their legacy now lives on here at Specialtactics.com.

A prior sneak-peak of 12 workouts was published earlier this month.  The list below is the complete, unadulterated list of workouts that were published from the Cone Fit crew from start to finish.  I would recommend you adjust the numbers to your physical abilities as many of these workouts are designed to be challenging.  The top page of each of these workouts are great- starting you off with a motivational quote and ‘Badass of the Week’ story before getting down to business with your workout plan.

Have fun with these workouts. Post your experiences and success stories in the comments.  Hooyah.


dirty scurve

All 43 Workouts (.zip): CLICK HERE

Individual Workouts (.pdf):

#1 The Dirty Scurve Mar 28 – Apr 2

#2 The Dirty Scurve Apr 4 – 9

#3 The Dirty Scurve Apr 11 – 15

#4 The Dirty Scurve Apr 18-22

#5 The Dirty Scurve Apr 25- 30

#6 The Dirty Scurve May 2 – May 7

#7 The Dirty Scurve May 9 – May 14

#8 The Dirty Scurve May 16 – 21

#9 The Dirty Scurve May 23 – 27

#10 The Dirty Scurve May 30 – June 3

#11 The Dirty Scurve June 6-10

#12 The Dirty Scurve June 13-17

#13 The Dirty Scurve June 20-24

#14 The Dirty Scurve June 27-July1

#15 The Dirty Scurve July 4-8

#16 The Dirty Scurve July 11-16

#17 The Dirty Scurve July 18 – 23

#18 The Dirty Scurve July 25 – 30

#19 The Dirty Scurve August 1 – 6

#20 The Dirty Scurve (August 8 – 13)

#21 The Dirty Scurve (August 15 – 20)

#22 The Dirty Scurve (August 22 – 27)

#23 The Dirty Scurve (Aug 29 – Sept 3)

#24 The Dirty Scurve (Sep 5 – 10)

#25 The Dirty Scurve (Sep 12 – 17)

#26 The Dirty Scurve (Sep 19 – 24)

#27 The Dirty Scurve (Sept 26 – Oct 1)

#28 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 3 – 8)

#29 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 10 – 15)

#30 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 17 – 22)

#31 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 24 – 29)

#32 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 31 – 6)

#33 1-17 The Dirty Scurve (Feb 4 – 11)

#34 2-17 The Dirty Scurve (Mar 13 – 18)

#35 3-17 The Dirty Scurve (Mar 20 – 25)

#36 4-17 The Dirty Scurve (March 27- April 1)

#37 5-17 The Dirty Scurve (April 3 – 8)

#38 6-17 The Dirty Scurve (April 10-15)

#39 7-17 The Dirty Scurve (April 17-22)

#40 8-17 The Dirty Scurve 2017 (April 24-29)

#41 9-17 The Dirty Scurve (May 8-13)

#42 10-17 The Dirty Scurve (May 15 – 20)

#43 11-17 The Dirty Scurve July 17-22

Battlefield Airmen bear the cold, increase combat capability

The 3rd ASOS recently completed some bone-chilling field training exercises up in Alaska.  Judging by the pictures, it looks like they had a kick ass time in the frozen tundra.

Story By Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen with Detachment 1, 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, hike through the snow during their winter field training exercise Nov. 29, 2017, at the Husky drop zone in Interior Alaska. Airmen spent multiple days outside with minimal time away from the cold to enhance their ability to operate in an arctic environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson)
A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to Detachment 1, 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, checks a map during a winter field training exercise Nov. 30, 2017, at the Husky drop zone in Interior Alaska. During this portion of the exercise, Airmen were split into teams and spent hours navigating through the frozen forest to reach their target location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson)


Working outside when it’s negative 15 degrees, which is cold enough for your eyelashes to frost over, isn’t the ideal environment for most; but for Airmen with Detachment 1, 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, it’s just another day.

Last week, Det. 1, 3 ASOS completed their winter functional training exercise, where they endured the bone-chilling cold and increased their overall lethality.

“Being able to operate in arctic conditions is a lot different than operating in ideal conditions,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy Cuoto, the Det. 1, 3 ASOS unit training manager. “When it gets that cold equipment and people can break, but you have to push forward.”

With interior Alaska being an extremely harsh and unforgiving environment, it makes for the perfect place to help prepare and hone the capabilities of the Air Force’s elite operators also known as Tactical Air Control Party.

“We went over some different things that some of our guys haven’t seen yet,” said Staff Sgt. Philip Henderson, the Det. 1, 3 ASOS operational training manager. “We were able to cover tactical ground movements, classroom material, familiarization training and some other essentials.”

Commonly embedded with Marine and Army units, TACP Airmen play an important role in ensuring ground and air forces are on the same page.

“This is as close as it gets,” said Henderson. “Right now these Airmen are learning things they’ll need when they’re deployed.”

Guardian Angels ride in style

One of the primary modes of transportation for Guardian Angel (PJ/CROs) is the Air Force HH-60 Pavehawk.  Essentially, the Pavehawk is an Army Blackhawk helicopter outfitted with advanced avionics and a refueling probe.  Below is an inside story as to what makes the HH-60 tick.

HH-60G Pave Hawks from the 56th Rescue Squadron prepare to lift-off at Royal Air Force Valley, Wales, Nov. 20, 2017. The aircraft has proven itself in combat search and rescue missions since Operation Desert Storm and continues the CSAR mission to this day.



Story by Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield 

48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 

The Pave Hawk is a versatile, maneuverable, combat search and rescue aircraft designed to conduct day or night personnel recovery operations in hostile environments, as well as, civil search and rescue, medical evacuation and disaster response. This makes it the aircraft of choice for the 56th Rescue Squadron.

“Our primary mission is to provide Combat Search and Rescue capes and personnel recovery to any asset that needs our support,” said a 56th RQS flight commander “This also gets expanded to civilian search and rescue operations, as well as humanitarian needs operations.”

To ensure the success of the CSAR mission, Army Black Hawks were modified with special equipment, such as a retractable in-flight refueling probe, internal auxiliary fuel tanks and a modular rescue hoist designed for a multitude of environments, thus turning the Black Hawk in to the Pave Hawk we know today.

“We have asked a bunch of these airframes, from the fine-grit sand storms of Iraq to the rugged mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush” said a 56th RQS gunner. “When we’ve needed them to perform, they’ve answered the call.”

The Pave Hawk has been in service for almost three decades, and continues to excel in the field of rescue operations. The 56th RQS’s aircrews spend approximately 350 hours a year training, including the ground training and studying required to safely conduct missions.

“The uniqueness about the Pave Hawk is that we launch in a formation that has 14 crew members involved,” the flight commander said. “[The crew] on both aircraft have a specific function or duty in order to ensure mission success, and the Guardian Angel team provides the unique medical capability to give any survivor we pick up a fighting chance at life.”

The 56th RQS is set to move to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in 2018, where they will continue their CSAR mission for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.

320th STS supports a rescue in Nepal

Photo By Capt. Jessica Tait | U.S. Air Force 320th Special Tactics Squadron operators take a group photo with Mr. Frank Fiorillo and his wife Nonie following his recovery Oct. 10, 2017, in Gorak Shep, Nepal. The operators demonstrated their ability to rapidly respond to a crisis and work together as a team during a real-world rescue of a man hiking Mount Everest.

Several members of the team arrived in Nepal on leave status before an exchange with the Nepalese Mahabir Rangers and planned to hike Mount Everest Base Camp as a morale event prior to the military exercise.

“No one went on the trek expecting to apply their specialized skill-sets,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Dunn, 320th STS special tactics officer. “We quickly found ourselves transitioning to work-mode when we came across a gentleman who was clearly in trouble.”

Mr. Frank Fiorillo, a 60-year-old man from Perth, Australia was descending from the Mount Everest Base Camp when he collapsed due to a form of altitude sickness.

“Staff Sgt. Zaioun, our team’s pararescueman (PJ), immediately recognized that Frank was suffering from acute mountain sickness and needed to get to a lower elevation or his condition would continue to deteriorate,” said Dunn. “We briefly considered trying to coordinate for a helicopter medical evacuation, but quickly concluded that there was no viable landing zone with the ongoing snowstorm.”

Special Tactics operators can rapidly infiltrate into austere or hostile areas to enable airpower success in support of contingency operations. The PJ and combat controllers (CCTs) on the team utilized their training and knowledge to access the situation and provide rescue options.

“It was incredible to see how we my team worked together on the trail that day to respond to a crisis,” said Dunn. “Zaioun’s ability to make a quick and accurate medical assessment was the crucial catalyst. He administered medication to help with the symptoms before he began directing Frank’s movement. Everybody then worked to support Frank as they moved him down the mountain. Several guys moved ahead of Frank to clear the path of other hikers while another group stayed back to carry him over the more difficult parts and ensure he didn’t slip or fall.”

Within two hours, the team descended over 1,000 feet and safely transported Mr. Fiorillo to the next village, where they stayed with him until the team’s PJ was comfortable that his condition was stable.

“I’m proud of my team’s ability to respond rapidly to the situation and work together to save a man’s life,” said Dunn. “I’m confident in their ability to tackle any of the Special Tactics mission sets.”

The 320th STS trains in complex, multinational environments in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, infiltration and control of the airspace inside a complex environment, personnel recovery and close-air-support operations with a fire control center.



Story by Capt. Jessica Tait 

353rd Special Operations Group 

Special Tactics Airmen survey airfields to gain an operational advantage

U.S. Airmen with the Air Force Special Operations Command discuss results of an airfield survey during operations in Faryab province, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2017. The Special Tactics Airmen ensure access to traditional airfields and landing strips to increase the operational reach of coalition and Afghan aircraft for reconnaissance, troop delivery and strategic air support operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Doug Ellis)

FARYAB PROVINCE, Afghanistan (AFNS) — Special Tactics Airmen from Air Force Special Operations Command conducted multiple airfield surveys with their Afghan Air Force counterparts in Faryab province this week. Airfield surveys are executed prior to the arrival of special operations and conventional aircraft to traditional airfields and field landing strips.

“Our work is critical to extending the access and reach to fight our adversaries in their safe havens,” said a Special Tactics Airman. “Planning, leading and executing global access missions is a core task that we provide to the joint (special operation forces) effort.”

During the operations, Afghan Army and Air Force representatives meet with the Special Tactics Airmen to discuss how to increase airpower at Faryab province airfields. Based on the team’s findings, multiple airfields in Faryab province meet the specified needs of the NATO Resolute Support mission. The locations have the potential to support Afghan and coalition reconnaissance, troop delivery and strategic air support operations.

“This is my fifth deployment as a Special Tactics Airman conducting precision strike, global access and personnel recovery missions,” another Special Tactics Airman said. “You can feel the difference this year, a new commitment to extending the fight to the heart of the enemy.”

AFSOC Special Tactics force is the Air Force’s tactical air and ground integration element that enables global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations. The Special Tactics Airmen are experts in the conduct of airfield reconnaissance, assessment and control, personnel recovery, joint terminal attack control and environmental reconnaissance.


Story courtesy of AF.mil.  Click here for the original story with additional pictures.

4 breath hold exercises to boost your underwater time

Just like hitting the gym is a cornerstone to improving your muscular capacity, the same can be applied to underwater confidence.  Training your body to endure the rigors of oxygen deprivation and Co2 tolerance is just as important as other forms of training while prepping for selection.  And just like utilizing different exercises to train the same muscle groups, there is more than one way to train for underwater exercises.  We don’t need to limit ourselves to doing endless 25m underwaters to improve our capacity– in fact I would disapprove of this method.
There are two physiological factors at play when attempting to increase your breath hold capability: O2 deprivation and Co2 tolerance.  Your urgency to pop during underwater activities is largely attributed to the buildup of Co2 in your body- not the lack of oxygen (although lack of O2 is still a factor- just not the primary one).  That’s why I suggest you apply more focus to the Co2 tolerance tables below rather than the O2.

-Static Tables are breathing exercises meant to be done while sitting still; in a rest position.  What’s great about these is you can do them almost anywhere.  (DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE TABLES WHILE DRIVING!)
-Dynamic Tables are while you are in motion.  This could be while doing underwaters, walking, sprinting or performing any other motion that depletes your breath hold capacity quicker than while at rest.

The tables below can be modified!  Adjust the times up or down to meet your performance level.  You can also mix it up by attempting 100m breath hold sprints on a track, etc.  The purpose is to have fun with these while increasing your breath hold capacity. These should be challenging, so push yourself and you will get better overnight.  Do not expect overnight results.  This, along with any other exercise program, takes time to see results.

Static Co2 Tolerance Table (3-4x per week):
Above water, not moving breath holds (ie: sitting in a chair or lying down)

Breathe           Hold
2:30                  1:00
2:15                  1:00
2:00                  1:00
1:45                  1:00
1:30                  1:00
1:15                  1:00
1:00                  1:00
1:00                  1:00
1:00                  1:00


Static O2 Deprivation Table (1-2x per week):
Above water, not moving breath holds (ie: sitting in a chair or lying down)

Breathe           Hold
2:00                  :40
2:00                  :50
2:00                  1:00
2:00                  1:10
2:00                  1:20
2:00                  1:30
2:00                  1:40
2:00                  1:50
2:00                  2:00

Dynamic Co2 Deprivation Table:

-Perform 25m underwater with no fins and rest on the opposite side (do not freestyle back to the starting point).  This  table can also be accomplished on land by walking 30 seconds instead of the underwater.

25m underwater      1:30 rest
25m underwater      1:20 rest
25m underwater      1:10 rest
25m underwater      1:00 rest
25m underwater        :50 rest
25m underwater        :40 rest
25m underwater        :30 rest
25m underwater

Static Single Breath Hold Repetitions:
This Co2 tolerance exercise is a substitute for the co2 table above if you are short on time.

-Take one exhalation/inhalation every :45 seconds for 6:00.
(Example: Inhale and breath hold, start the clock.  At :45 exhale your breath, take one inhale and continue to hold.  Repeat at 1:30, 2:15, 2:30, etc)

Doctor, doctor: Give me the news

Specialtactics.com Note: Although not an operator story, here’s a rarely highlighted side story of the job of Battlefield Airmen- focusing on the operator’s core support network that are essential in ensuring we are ready to do our jobs.

RQS Flight Surgeon Garst



Story by Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin 

18th Wing Public Affairs 

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — From the silver screen, and television alike, the public has a stereotype for what they expect out of a doctor. Examples such as Dr. Hawkeye Pierce, Doogie Howser, M.D., Dr. J.D. Dorian, Dr. Greg House, and “America’s favorite” Dr. Derek Shepherd have set the bar for what you think of when you think of doctors.

Being a doctor may seem glamorous from movies and television, but as U.S. Air Force Maj. Geoffrey Garst, 31st Rescue Squadron flight surgeon, can attest, it is not what it may seem.

It’s much different than people may picture, Garst said. It is a lot of trauma, lots of sick people, and a lot of complicated patients.

Like many young children, Garst grew up wanting to explore the skies and rise above the clouds. He wanted to be a pilot and join the Air Force.

However, his dream shifted around 8th grade when he took up a love for the medical field. Knowing that the best path to being in the Air Force would be via medical school, he joined the Air Force while in medical school, on the Health Professions Scholarship Program, instead of taking a more traditional enlistment out of high school.

Garst, a Colorado native, attended the University of Colorado-Boulder for his bachelor’s degree, then completed a master’s degree in public health at Columbia University in New York. For medical school, Garst returned to Colorado, this time at the University of Colorado-Denver for medical school. After finishing his degrees, he attended a residency to get his license to be a surgeon.

“Combat search and rescue was on my radar early in the Air Force, since learning about it in officer training,” Garst said. “During medical school, I had considered whether to do a tour as a flight surgeon, but chose to go straight residency without delay because of the extensive training ahead of me — five years of general surgery, plus two more of fellowship in trauma and acute care surgery.”

Garst did his residency training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. In the middle of training (roughly 2.5 years), Garst said multiple events happened outside of his control in his personal life, including major illnesses and death in his family. These events, along with his questioning if surgery was the right career for him, led to the decision to take a step back and leave residency.

“I figured I could struggle through, maybe get through it, and be a mediocre surgeon,” Garst said. “But I don’t do mediocre anything.”

Garst’s journey to becoming a flight doctor didn’t end there. Once Garst left his residency, he was assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, working in family medicine. He was unable to get a role as a flight surgeon immediately, so the stop at Wright-Patterson gave him a chance to expand his abilities as a doctor.

“I liked the versatility of family medicine, but I still enjoyed trauma and taking care of sick people,” Garst said.

Wright-Patterson was just a stepping stone. Garst had his eye on an overseas assignment, and with his love of travel and wanting to see more of the world, the stars aligned to give him an opportunity to do what he does best.

After two years he was accepted into the flight surgeon position, and was assigned as the flight doctor here at Kadena Air Base with the 31st RQS.

“When I got this assignment, I was beyond stoked,” Garst said. “It was like everything that I had done up to that point was preparing me for this assignment.”

As flight surgeon, Garst is a man of many hats for the 31st RQS, and is responsible for a multitude of items for his Airmen. Most importantly, Garst is responsible for making sure they are fit to fly.

“I’m responsible for their medical care, their medical readiness, and making sure they’re ready to get out the door,” Garst said. “As the squadron medical director, it is my responsibility to provide continuing medical education and optimize their training as military medics.”

Garst is constantly working with his Airmen and putting efforts toward improving their abilities.

“I work with part of a team to deliver medical care, maximize medical training and human performance,” Garst said. “I cannot accomplish my mission without my team.”

Garst has set many goals for his Airmen, including trying to help them get more hands-on patient care at the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the Pararescueman Special Operations Trauma Training Skills program. This training program is used by many pararescue squadrons to help hone skills that are needed to save lives and complete the mission safely, which are top priorities to Garst.

With vigilance and honor, as stated on the patches the members proudly wear, the pararescue Airmen from the 31st RQS are prepared and ready to defend Team Kadena, all of Okinawa, and their partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region at a moment’s notice.

When asked how he plans on leaving a mark on the Air Force, Garst had a very straight-forward response that should put anyone at ease who encounters any of the Airmen from the 31st RQS.

“I want to get these guys to be the best medics in the Air Force.”


Story courtesy of DVIDS