Posts tagged ‘Air Force’
Boots on the … Air.
Big Sky, Big Mountain.
Please click on photo to enlarge.
The flight took the crew over a variety of terrain and altitudes, from flatlands to valleys and mountains. Both Airmen are 40th Helicopter Squadron rescue pilots.
The head of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the civilian executive in charge of the command’s equipment acquisition will be among the speakers at this year’s Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition this week in Washington.
Sponsored by the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA), the gathering brings together Special Operations leaders from all the U.S. armed services and several foreign countries, as well as industry, foreign embassies and academics to discuss the role of Special Operations Forces in a rapidly changing world.
U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, SOCOM’s new commander is slated to be the keynote speaker Tuesday (January 27), the gathering’s first full day. Later Tuesday, Michael Dumont, a civilian and principal deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) will be the luncheon speaker.
On Wednesday, attendees will hear from James “Hondo” Geurts, SOCOM’s acquisition executive, who is expected to outline what products are required to meet the needs of troops involved in SO/LIC activities.
As in past gatherings, money constraints are expected to be a hot topic as SOCOM deals with terrorism in Africa and the Middle East, countering ISIS and training local defense forces in places like Latin America. Special Operations Forces number about 67,000 — one of the fastest growing segments of the military. American SOF are working as trainers and observers at any given time in 90 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, Colombia and the Philippines. Their portfolio also includes rescuing hostages or capturing leaders of violent extremist organizations .
Special Operations Forces include Army Green Berets, Rangers and Special Ops aviators, Navy SEALS and Special Warfare Combatant-craft crews, Air Force Pararescue jumpers and combat air controllers, Marine Corps Corps critical skills operators and special operations combat services specialists.
There’s a cautionary saying from the early days of aviation that “only angels have wings.” But here we have a photo of U.S. Air Force special tactics airmen demonstrating their skill with a HALO — high altitude, low opening parachute jump. The object of such a jump is to free fall from a high altitude then open the chute at a low altitude and descend without being detected from the ground.
These airmen are from the 24th Special Operations Wing, part of U.S. Special Operations Command and one of three Air Force wings dedicated to demanding and dangerous jobs like combat controllers, pararescuemen and special operations weather officers.
Combat controllers are special air traffic controllers operating from the ground in combat zones.They provide expert air support coordination and communications capabilities and often accompany Army Special Forces, Army Rangers and Navy SEALS when they deploy into hostile areas.They call in air strikes and control air traffic on and above landing strips and jump zones in hostile or austere environments. They were among the first U.S. troops on the ground during emergency relief efforts after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Pararescuemen, known as PJs, parachute over land or water to render medical assistance and rescue downed pilots and other personnel in combat or natural disaster situations. They are also lowered to ground or water level on a cable to rescue people. Among their many tasks, special operations weather officers and airmen deploy into combat and non-permissive environments (the ‘bad guys’ or ‘bad conditions’ on the ground don’t want you there) to collect and interpret meteorological data and provide ground force commanders with accurate intelligence during a special operations mission.
The HALO jump, from MC-130H Talon II special operations aircraft over Hurlburt Field, Florida, is designed to help participants maintain their qualification for special tactics airmen, trained to jump into hostile or austere environments not accessible to aircraft.
To see a photo slideshow of the pre-jump preparations and the jump itself, click here. As ever, to enlarge the image just click on the photo.
Reflecting Global Reach.
A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle jet fighter is reflected in the visor of Senior Airman Charlton Hampton during routine, but still risky mid-air refueling near Okinawa, Japan. As security threats and humanitarian crises continue to pop up around the world, mid-air refueling extends the range of Air Force aircraft and the global reach needed to respond to far-flung crises.
This is what U.S. strategy planners are talking about when they discuss projecting power.
Twenty-four big U.S. Air Force cargo airplanes prepare to take off Dec. 6, 2014, from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas in support of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School’s Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 14B. This gathering of eagle includes 11 C-130H Hercules and 13 C-130J Super Hercules heavy lift aircraft. The C-130H models are from various Air National Guard units and the C-130J models are from the 317th Airlift Group at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
In addition to the C-130s, the JFEX included approximately 20 C-17 Globemaster IIIs and various other aircraft.
An airman role-playing as a simulated vehicle accident victim speaks with a first responder during an emergency response exercise on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Between them is a less-responsive “victim,” a role being played by a medical training mannequin. Both airmen are assigned to the 18th Security Forces Squadron, part of the 18th Mission Support Group.
The exercise tested the abilities of Kadena emergency responders — from firefighters to security forces and medical personnel — to administer life-saving techniques quickly in a stressful environment.
Defense Department officials have warned that training — whether it’s landing troops on a beach, flying a plane, putting out a fire or working together with foreign military partners — is one of the essential areas facing cutbacks because of congressionally mandated and White House-approved across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.
To see more photos of the exercise, click here.