Fin Swimming Common Mistakes

From the PJ Pool Wizard Series, here’s a good run through of finning.  I’ve seen guys neglect this portion in the pool and they suffer for it when going to selection.  Don’t neglect the fins!  On top of strengthening your legs, you need to get your feet and ankles used to the general uncomfortable-ness you will experience from longer distance fin swims.

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108. Quicke- Moffet Recert LLs

Moffet puts on an annual PJ paramedic recertification course in Tahoe.  Here are some lessons learned (LLs) and foot stomps for Pararescue Medicine. Emphasis on care under fire and TCCC. Check with Moffet in the summer if you are interested in their course in the beautiful, mountainous woods of South Lake Tahoe. Merry Christmas- Happy… Read more
silver star

Finding the way: Special Tactics chief awarded Silver Star

HURLBURT FIELD, FL, UNITED STATES 12.15.2017 Story by Senior Airman Ryan Conroy  24th Special Operations Wing Chief Master Sgt. Michael West, a Special Tactics operator with the 720th Operations Support Squadron, utilized 58 coalition aircraft delivering 24,000 pounds of munitions, turning the tide of battle, and now he’s receiving the Silver Star Medal. During a ceremony Dec. 15, here, the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, presented the nation’s third highest medal for gallantry against an armed enemy of the U.S. in combat to West. West’s actions occurred 11 years earlier, when he was deployed with U.S. Army Special Forces teams in support of Operation MEDUSA. “This ceremony is about the Air Commando culture epitomized in Special Tactics and Special Tactics being epitomized in that chief right there,” said Webb. “It’s a culture of willingly facing seemingly insurmountable problems; it’s about courage, endurance, wisdom. It’s figuring out to solve problems and getting ‘er done. It’s about finding the way.” West was originally awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in May 2007, but due to a recent DOD-wide review, his package was resubmitted for an upgrade. “I am honored and humbled for the recognition, and I wish the [Special Forces] team guys were here to share this,” said West. “It was a great opportunity to work with a bunch of professionals, and I know that I have friends for life.” As a Special Tactics combat controller, West is a part of a highly-trained special operations force who integrates air power into the special operations’ ground scheme of maneuver. “Special Tactics is the connective tissue between the ground and air and you can ask our Army and Navy counterparts who will not leave home with Special Tactics,” said Webb. “Special Tactics exemplifies what it means in that ‘find the way’ Air Commando culture, and West epitomizes Special Tactics.” Webb said we are living in a “Golden Age” of Special Tactics, citing the 10 Air Force Crosses and this ceremony marking the 42nd Silver Star Medal awarded to a Special Tactics operator since 9/11. Operation MEDUSA On Sept. 5, 2006, then-Master Sgt. West was assigned to three different Special Forces teams alongside three platoons of Afghan National Army forces during a deployment to Panjwai Village, Afghanistan. Operation MEDUSA was a Canadian-led effort to clear a village, believed to be a Taliban safe haven of 700-1000 enemy forces. A Canadian ground force would clear the village from west to east and the Special Forces teams, alongside West, would set up a blockade position south of the village. As the Canadian-led ground force began their movement, they were met with fierce resistance, resulting in a crippling amount of casualties that forced them to disengage. In an attempt to salvage the operation, the Task Force directed the special operations teams to seize and hold elevated terrain to observe and attack enemy positions. “The first day we approached this hill, we met heavy resistance … the enemy saw us coming from the south, and we started to get shot at from tree lines on either side of us,” said West. At this time, West coordinated airpower from a B-1 Lancer bomber aircraft to drop eight bombs on the enemy and their resupply compound. This was the first time West would utilize airpower to eliminate the enemy, but it would not be his last. The next day, the teams decided to advance up the hill further to investigate and clear an old enemy compound. Due to the high probability of enemy engagement, West coordinated two A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft to watch over them. They cleared the buildings and as they began to climb higher, an ANA soldier stepped on an anti-personnel mine. “We were all blown back trying to figure out what happened and once the dust settled, we heard the screaming,” said West. “The soldier was lying there with half of his leg gone, and he was really banged up.” West and his team leader quickly assessed the man for injuries and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and decided he needed to be evacuated. As the team struggled to carry the injured ANA solider off the hill, a vehicle in the team’s convoy hit an improvised explosive device, which triggered a full-on assault from enemy forces. “As soon as the it blew, the tree lines on either side of us fully erupted with gunfire … like they were waiting for that IED to explode,” said West. “We started receiving [rocket-propelled grenade] fire and small arms fire and my team was completely exposed.” The joint special operations team began to fire back, but West did what multiple Special Tactics Airmen before and after him have done countless times, he called for airpower. “I immediately put those A-10s into action and[…]

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38th RQS tests rescue capabilities

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA, UNITED STATES 12.15.2017 Story by Airman Eugene Oliver  Moody Air Force Base Pararescuemen from the 38th Rescue Squadron conducted a full mission profile exercise, Dec. 12, 14-15, here. 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. “It’s ultimately up to us to make sure that everyone gets out safe and quickly,” said Senior Airman Ryan, 38th RQS Pararescueman. “It’s key that we get as much practice as possible and work out any mistakes we have now, so when we get called for a real emergency we’re ready to execute. “When we enter a situation we know everyone’s counting on one another and we need to work as a team and trust each other to ensure the mission’s a success.” While focusing on sharpness and building confidence, the pararescuemen were gauged on their ability to adapt to new roles. “Our main point of focus during these exercises is to make sure everyone knows their role and worries about completing their part of the mission and not someone else’s,” said Tech Sgt. Seth , 38th RQS Weapons and Tactics NCO in charge. “Usually when a guy’s always a team leader and now we’ve got him assigned to a lesser role, when they notice something wrong they want to step up and take control and that causes a great deal of chaos. “We need all of our troops to be on the same page and to trust each other in order for us to get the job done.” While focusing on good communication and teamwork, staying alert and keeping safety in mind is imperative to a successful mission. “Speed and safety are key during our operations and we want to make sure everyone is safe and our unit works as a team proficiently,” said Barta. “This was an opportunity for them to work together to overcome some of the problems that will be thrown at them while deployed.” Conducting rescue missions are the core of their mission, and ensuring practice missions are completed with minimal mistakes helps reassure confidence. Overall, the pararescuemen were responsible for locating and communicating with injured victims, assigning responsibilities, deciding the best extraction plan and defending the victims against enemy attack. “Our job has a lot responsibilities and we need to make sure each are completed quickly and adequately,” said Ryan. “We need to get to the injured victim, asses and communicate their overall health to the rest of our team so we can decide how were going to get them to safety” To help make the scenario as realistic as possible, the 38th RQS not only utilized mannequins, but Airmen volunteers used as rescue subjects. “I wanted to be a volunteer so I could see a different aspect of the job beside my own,” said Staff Sgt Lyndsay Gebhart, 23d Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. “I thought it was very beneficial to see the capabilities of the 38th RQS and what they offer to the military. “I didn’t know they were so highly trained in the medical portion and that they needed to be in such physical shape to move an individual by themselves.” While working together to move people out of danger there are times that the 38th RQS must use unconventional methods to get injured victims to safety. “I wanted to be a volunteer because the 38th RQS saves lives but I never knew how creative they could get when it comes to saving someone,” said Airman Jesse Lowe, 23d SFS fire team member. “I never knew that they could propel someone out of a building. “It felt enlightening when they wrapped me up and placed me out of the window to be propelled down to safety, I never knew that they could do that.”

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107. Psych skills 2

In part 2 of this discussion regarding the value of psychological skills training, we continue the discussion of BTSF, Beat The Stress Fool.  We discuss the process and evidence supporting self Talk (instructional and motivational), visualization (See), and the use of a Focus word ( a go word, or trigger). Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah… Read more

The Battlefield Airman Library

My recommended list of books, focused on Battlefield Airmen lives, careers and missions.  “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Find this list and more recommended items on the Specialtactics.com Resources Page. Guardian Angel Guardian Angel provides a rare glimpse at a PJ’s mind-blowing adventures. You follow Sgt. Sine’s trek across exotic lands and share his encounters with mysterious cultures. Learn what it takes to lower from a helicopter onto the slippery decks of storm-tossed ships to rescue dying sailors. Feel what it’s like to be caught in the middle of a bomb blast so powerful that it tears high-rise buildings in half, and flattens armored vehicles hundreds of yards away. Soar high above towering jungle trees and experience the danger of swinging on a slim cable below a helicopter while performing a mid-air rescue of a pilot, dangling from his chute a hundred feet above a mountain slope. Go to war in Afghanistan and parachute onto a nocturnal battlefield surrounded by land mines to help a mortally wounded soldier. This is a deadly serious business: when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong. Aircraft crash into mountainsides, killing all onboard, while some PJs live through horrendous helicopter crashes only to struggle with freezing temperatures, snapped limbs and torn flesh in a desperate fight for survival. This book presents true stories of uncommon courage told from the perspective of the actual men in the arena.   None Braver From award-winning journalist and combat veteran Michael Hirsh comes the thrilling inside story of the Air Force’s pararescue operations in Afghanistan. The first journalist to be embedded with an Air Force combat unit in the War on Terrorism, Hirsh flew from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, with the 71st Rescue Squadron to their expeditionary headquarters at a secret location in Central Asia. Unparalleled access to the PJs, as well as to the courageous men and women who fly them where they have to go, often under enemy fire, allowed Hirsh to uncover incredible stories of courage.   My Brother in Arms; The Exceptional Life of Mark Andrew Forester, USAF CCT On September 29, 2010 Mark Forester was killed in action while fighting terrorists in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. His heroic legacy of being shot down while preparing to rescue a fallen teammate began long before this tragic day. An Apache aviator said of Mark’s final battle: …”I have never witnessed such an act of heroism in my three years of fighting in combat. I have over 2,700 hours total time with 1,500 hours of combat time in both Iraq and Afghanistan…JAG 28 continued to advance on the enemy while taking intense enemy fire, and continuously fired his weapon in an attempt to get to his fallen teammate and destroy the enemy.”… Since Mark’s death, his family’s eyes and hearts have been opened to multiple examples of selflessness and patriotism by meeting his teammates and leaders in the military. The family has witnessed first-hand the ability for them to turn off their stern, professional personae and turn on compassion, love, support and acceptance. The author feels a strong desire to Honor our Heroes. This book highlights one hero, SrA Mark A. Forester, and also helps recognize many other men and women who volunteer to fight for our freedom.   Never Quit Never Quit is the true story of how Jimmy Settle, an Alaskan shoe store clerk, became a Special Forces Operator and war hero. After being shot in the head during a dangerous high mountain operation in the rugged Watapur Valley in Afghanistan, Jimmy returns to battle with his teammates for a heroic rescue, the bullet fragments stitched over and still in his skull. In a cross between a suicide rescue mission and an against-all-odds mountain battle, his team of PJs risk their lives again in an epic firefight. When his helicopter is hit and begins leaking fuel, Jimmy finds himself in the worst possible position as a rescue specialist―forced to leave members from his own team behind. Jimmy will have to risk everything to get back into the battle and bring back his brothers.   Pararescue: The True Story of an Incredible Rescue at Sea and the Heroes Who Pulled It Off This is the gripping and unforgettable true adventure of an astonishing rescue at sea — a tale of the unparalleled courage and skill of men who endured a record-breaking fifteen-hour, nonstop helicopter ride through bone-jarring turbulence to carry out a mission on the ragged edge of impossibility. It is the story of a unit of the New York Air National Guard, the 106th Rescue Wing, which includes the famed PJs, the Pararescuemen, whose training is so rigorous and standards so high that only a dedicated handful qualify to join;[…]

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cone fit

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. These workouts were made for cones, by cones.  If you are looking for a professional training program for little cost that will keep you healthy, strong and leave you ultimately the best prepared, check out Team ST 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

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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 EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — 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.”

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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. UNITED KINGDOM 12.07.2017 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.

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