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#60295 - Tue Feb 14 2012 14:47 PM ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT
Lt47 Offline
New Member

Registered: Mon Jan 30 2012
Posts: 7
Loc: Florida
I am wondering about the differences, subtle or otherwise, within the two special tactics 'families.'

This should not be taken as inflammatory as that is not the intent, and I don't think that anyone will take it that way. This question is for those who are intimately familiar with the PJ/CCT communities; i.e., operators only, not those who want to offer their conjecture but have no experience to support their point of view. Thank you for all informed replies.

I am curious what, if any, differences exist between the cultures of combat control and pararescue. I was told that the (paraphrased) "core differences of the mission - pararescue to save, combat control to kill - has an effect on the specific culture of both communities." I have no opinion on the matter nor am I going to get into the credentials of the person who told me this.

I assume that there are deeply rooted similarities in the attitudes and behaviors on and off duty of all special tactics operators in the Air Force. My question is meant to focus on what 'cultural' differences, if any, exist between the two communities. Maybe the answer is that the two are so homogenous that the question is irrelevant. Regardless, I am very intererested to hear your thoughts.

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#60297 - Tue Feb 14 2012 16:26 PM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Lt47]
Yukon Online
Operator

Registered: Wed Mar 14 2001
Posts: 1748
Loc: Anchorage AK, USA
Originally Posted By: Lt47
I am wondering about the differences, subtle or otherwise, within the two special tactics 'families.'

I am curious what, if any, differences exist between the cultures of combat control and pararescue. I was told that the (paraphrased) "core differences of the mission - pararescue to save, combat control to kill - has an effect on the specific culture of both communities." I have no opinion on the matter nor am I going to get into the credentials of the person who told me this.
You are missing the necessity of what Special Tactics is and Special Tactics isn’t.

Special tactics is the organizational squadron structure of capability provided by a unit controlled by Air Force Special Operations Command that itself is a subordinate joint capability under USSOCOM.

The core differences between availability of capability and utilization of capability is considerably more complicated than just “pararescue to save, combat control to kill” as this perception has no bearing or relevance.

Combat Control’s capability purpose evolution began with to provide air traffic control (ATC) and navigational assistance to fixed wing (FW) airborne and air assault operations and eventually expanded to include rotary wing (RW) air assault operations. The capability purpose is not to kill but to infiltrate areas and set up parachute drop zones and helicopter landing zones for Airborne and Air Assault missions. By necessity airlift bringing a surface capability in or out is needed for CCT to infiltrate or to be utilized.

Pararescue’s capability evolution began with combat and peace time rescue and recovery of aircrew and other distressed and isolated personnel and factors delaying rescue due to distance from help, lack of roads, and lack of someplace to air land an aircraft are mitigated by aircraft and rescue capability being parachuted in (or infiltrated in). During WWII utilization quickly expanded to include recovery of or destruction of sensitive equipment and materiel. After WWII utilization requirement quickly expanded to include doing national and International SAR of lost and injured.

A understanding of the conflict continuum of military operation from peace-to-war concurrent with the range of military operations from humanitarian/deterrence to crisis response/limited contingency operations to major operations and campaigns is needed to understand the ridiculousness of a to save to kill comparison.

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#60305 - Wed Feb 15 2012 10:08 AM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Lt47]
Lt47 Offline
New Member

Registered: Mon Jan 30 2012
Posts: 7
Loc: Florida
Yukon - thanks for the background info on the careerfields. The comment I shared does not represent any point I was making, it was something I heard and it made me think, that's all.

What it led me to wonder is what differences are there, if any, between the operators (PJ/CCT) in terms of attitude, mentality, or motivation with respect to why they do the job. Particularly wondering if there are any broad differences that you can identify between the culture of the two careerfields.

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#60307 - Wed Feb 15 2012 12:09 PM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Lt47]
Yukon Online
Operator

Registered: Wed Mar 14 2001
Posts: 1748
Loc: Anchorage AK, USA
Organizational culture changes from unit to unit and even over the course of time in all organizations (as the Beret turns). You are not asking about culture, you are asking about character and behaviors of the individual. The culture is what all members of the team/unit contribute to make it.

CCT, SEAL, PJ, SOW, TACP etc they be similar in that all strive to be dependable, reliable, effective, efficient doing the job and available to do it.

Actually what questions such as being asked boil down to is the security blanket of wanting be told which is the coolest job with little interest in what the job is. The paraphrase of one job to save lives and the other is to kill is less about culture and more about attitude preference to what is the coolest, to save or to kill. This is why I described more the operational environment and utilization purpose differences.

Combat Control Teams by necessity exits to save lives. Desert One (Iran, 1980) is the best example. An assault landing area, or executing phase interim forward refueling point needs somebody to manage and direct the movement of aircraft, otherwise the aircraft run into each other and burn to the ground.

The same can be said of SOW and TACP as both exist to improve survivability of Army assets executing military operations.

BTW I should add all members of these battlefield airman AFSCs are combatant, so you can say all kill too when it is a combat operational envirnonment.

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#60309 - Wed Feb 15 2012 13:19 PM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Yukon]
Lt47 Offline
New Member

Registered: Mon Jan 30 2012
Posts: 7
Loc: Florida
Correct - I am asking about the character and behaviors of the individuals. Culture is 'the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.' In this case that would be pararescue or combat control.

I just took a poll in my office and asked what stereotypes exist for various careerfields, here are a few stereotypes I heard: pilots for thinking they are 'better,' med group for 'not adhering to standards,' security forces is 'where all the low ASVAB scorers get sent,' et cetera. What is misconception and what isn't I cannot say. However, by the same vein, I can say that I have heard a lot of different people provide their own misconceptions of the pararescue and combat control careerfields. One of the many (and most recent) that I have heard you already addressed.

This is what led me to ask the question. Since there are so many opinions out there and most of the ones that I have heard have come from those not affiliated with Air Force Special Tactics in any way, I am asking the question because I want to hear from someone who has an informed opinion, someone who is a reliable source. I am not asking because I want to know which is cooler, or because I want to talk about all the stereotypes that have been ascribed to PJ and CCT. No, the objective here is to find out if there are any fundamental ideas that can be identified as distinct trends or tendencies in the behavior and worldviews of the members of each careerfield.

I just started making a list of things I have heard over the years to describe the mentality and character of certain special operators for the sake of example, but I deleted it and will not post it. Some things were complimentary, some were not. I have heard a number of things that I am 100% sure are rooted in jealousy from those who know they will never have the discipline to develop the aptitude required to make it. (‘wannabes’ is the common term I have seen used) Other things were based off of experiences that were supposedly had with special operators on a personal basis.

Ultimately, I am asking because I would be appreciative to know, as a matter of character and morality, what sort of individuals populate the ranks of the PJ and CCT careerfields; and what, if any differences exist. (I am asking on a deeper level than what you have already mentioned - reliability, discipline, expertise, attention to detail, thorough, responsible, determination - these are all required to even be a PJ or CCT. I am asking about the sort of traits that are not advertised as requirements) This may be a tender topic to dissect on a public forum, if that is the case please feel free to tell me not to ask these sorts of questions. The ROEs were unclear on this point. Maybe I should have PM’d TE or another respected member of the board to ask this, instead. Just let me know if I’m out of line as the last thing I want to do is start a useless dog fight on an internet forum.

*EDIT* After thinking about this for a minute I want to clarify that what I am NOT looking for is dirt or fishing for someone to provide frivolous criticism of your own careerfield. To reiterate, I am just focusing on ideological differences between two careerfields.

Thanks Yukon. I appreciate you taking time to respond even when it's taken a couple of tries to boil this question down.


Edited by Lt47 (Wed Feb 15 2012 13:51 PM)

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#60314 - Wed Feb 15 2012 20:09 PM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Lt47]
Yukon Online
Operator

Registered: Wed Mar 14 2001
Posts: 1748
Loc: Anchorage AK, USA
Originally Posted By: Lt47
Correct - I am asking about the character and behaviors of the individuals. Culture is 'the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.' In this case that would be pararescue or combat control.
I used organizational culture for a reason. You are not addressing the influences of each member of an organization within an organization or the attitude and motivation similarity of each member of a career field (occupation). The career fields are not composed of clones and each member has their own free-will self made destiny contribution to making the organizational culture inplace at any location in the present time.

What you polled around the office water cooler or among the gossips of your office is stereotyping. This is similar to going up to every female that you can find and ask them who they would like to have sex with for purpose of bearing children. Or if they do become a mother of a son or sons would they be more proud if the son(s) grow-up to PJs or CCT.

A member of any culture (French, English, Chinese, Russian, and even homosexual which can be considered a culture) is not changed by becoming a PJ, CCT, SEAL or etc. This is because how an individual applies personal decisions or makes decisions within the organizational and operational environment are influenced by how the individual developed character and grit from infancy that is locked in as personality before becoming a young adult.

It is task and purpose being there differences that influences attitudes for preferring one AFSC over another. It’s an individual emotional rather than cultural group attraction that influences the organizational culture.

There is no universal good design of culture to become a successful contributing task performer. There are profiles of task dimensions differences such as: degree of physical exertion, degree of physical unpleasantness, inside or outside work, one work place, hours, degree of specialization, degree of autonomy, degree of risk-taking, and degree of responsibility. This influences the organizational culture only as a result of personality traits of the individual that gets through the training.

It is not the total influence as there is organizational factors influencing organizational function such as UCMJ, Standard Operating procedures, EPRs, career advancement, etc. The way a piss and vinegar young adult conducts and behaves generally changes as they mature. The same can be said of the change from rookie to one of experience as the participation in mission and mission readiness training happens day after day and year after year.

There is as I stated very little organizational difference as both jobs attract people wanting to be associated with being cool, but both jobs end up getting the individual with the grit to be there with expectation there will be a high degree of physical exertion and physical unpleasantness. However reality demonstrates this isn’t universal as members of the career field have preferences for unit of assignment or geographical assignments for many differing reasons. Thus this and other factors also influence organizational culture existing in the specific team or unit. For example Guard members are members of a guard team for a 20-30 career and active duty move from unit to unit during a career.

Originally Posted By: Lt47
…the objective here is to find out if there are any fundamental ideas that can be identified as distinct trends or tendencies in the behavior and worldviews of the members of each careerfield.
Yes there is. This is why the EQi test (SEALs call it--Computerized-Special Operations Resilience Test, C-SORT) is administered. This begs the question of perhaps the cheat sheet for this test is being looked for? The answer is-"Maybe the answer is that the two are so homogenous that the question is irrelevant."

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#60327 - Thu Feb 16 2012 16:04 PM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Yukon]
Lt47 Offline
New Member

Registered: Mon Jan 30 2012
Posts: 7
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Yukon
Originally Posted By: Lt47
…the objective here is to find out if there are any fundamental ideas that can be identified as distinct trends or tendencies in the behavior and worldviews of the members of each careerfield.
Yes there is. This is why the EQi test (SEALs call it--Computerized-Special Operations Resilience Test, C-SORT) is administered. This begs the question of perhaps the cheat sheet for this test is being looked for? The answer is-"Maybe the answer is that the two are so homogenous that the question is irrelevant."


Yukon,

H.U.A. Thanks for the reply. No cheat sheet required - I've never heard of the EQi. Besides, I'll take my chances. smile


Edited by Lt47 (Thu Feb 16 2012 16:07 PM)

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#60329 - Thu Feb 16 2012 17:09 PM Re: ST Community Question, PJ vs. CCT [Re: Lt47]
Yukon Online
Operator

Registered: Wed Mar 14 2001
Posts: 1748
Loc: Anchorage AK, USA
The reasoning for the topic being discussed simplifies down to image of the job and image of members doing the job to gain insight to what kind of person does the Air Force employs to perform certain duties (CCT vs PJ in this specific case) and how does the Air Force recruit, screen, and select the personalities best suited to perform such duties. A conforming behavioral model rather than a performance model is being sought.

The simple answer is individuals wanting to there to be 'cool,' and for other selfish reasons get into any military or civilian job, but especially military jobs because it is ability to perform that trumps personality traits. Hopefully those that get through training to be cool mature out of this attitude or move on to another career path, but if they don’t what will be will be as it is productive contributing performance that gets evaluated and documented on performance reports and upgrade recommendations to jumpmaster, dive supervisor, team leader, annual PAST and etc.

A previous posted comment put forth reasoning of trying to find out if there are any personality differences influencing differing conforming behaviors and worldviews of members of CCT and PJ career fields. The short-simple answer is the desire to know this is irrelevant.

Why it’s irrelevant is the knowing a behavioral model to be conformed to will not improve any applicant’s or candidate’s success in training to become the image of self they are seeking to be. If for example the level of courage or bravery could be identified as a specific requirement it is useless without defining a level of temperance which allows for the steady and calm emotional state necessary for sound judgment.

Consequently image to be (such as being cool) is not ability and capability. Ability and capability is always observable performance, image is often just an imagined want or a desire goal or objective that has influence only if the ability and capability to perform in the operational environment is possessed (ie., PULHES, Class II flight physical exam standards, passing PAST, training and qualifications).

A person acts in response to her or his internal inclinations and choices and environment influences. The behavior function of each person is unique in having weaknesses and strengths. Personality traits are not identified as requirements other than the observable behaviors needed to obtain security clearances (trustworthiness/loyalty) and personal reliability program (dependability/reliability) certifications. Most are past background factors and incidence determinants predicting temptation probability potential rather than with the adapting to and survivability of doing something in the operational environment. Possessing sufficient adapting to the operational environment and determining survivability in the operational environment can all be assessed and determined by performing tasks to a pass/fail standard in a training environment having a high degree of physical exertion with concurrent degree of physical unpleasantness.

Consequently it is impossible to assemble an adaptability and survivability personality cheat sheet. You either perform to pass standard of all performance observable training objectives or you fail.

I’m pursuing further discussion concerning “culture” or “personality” or “behavior model” with presumption such questions are most often asked on why a person choose to sign-up for one job or another in the military.

The reasons are diverse but the influences are always the nature of the work and image of the name of the work accurately reflecting utilization to do the nature of the work or duties. Among image influences is pay, power, career opportunities, opportunities for travel, degree of physical exertion, degree of physical unpleasantness, etc. For instance many join the Air Forces as it’s a service that offers the least risk of being a ground combatant in an infantry unit or having a better quality of day-to-day living than being in the Army or Navy.

Such questions are asked either: (1) to validate a choice as being the best or better choice; (2) to reduce fear of behavioral expectations (interpersonal relationships, communicating, adaptability, dependability, reliability); and/or, (3) to gain success advantage.

Unfortunately answers to all three build expectancy reason for question fail to reinforce or improve performance. The pass-fail demonstrate performance requires confidence in-self and conviction to competent self-determining. All the possible combination of strong/weak traits cannot be put forth into a single behaviors model. Even if such behaviors model could be collected and described changing one’s developed personality traits to conform to the model is beyond the individual’s self-will and self determination to make happen.

Why applicants seek out behavior models is because acceptance to prestige’s universities such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton and etc have a behavior profile looked for in selecting and accepting incoming Freshman such as community/civic involvement, GPA, High School Class standing, family status, student leadership involvement, club participation, volunteerism, and etc. They get conforming to the expected pedigree confused with demonstrate performance to pass standard.


EQi testing is discussed in EQi Testing for all Battlefield Airman

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