US Air Force Special Warfare Program leaders in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, are working hard to attract a group of candidates who are broad, diverse and committed. The capabilities that Special Warfare graduates provide are as needed today as ever before.
“For members of the Special Warfare Training Wing, 2022 was a historic year and I’m incredibly proud,” Col. Nathan Colunga, Special Warfare Training Wing commander, said. “Our training wing is postured to train all Americans and will ensure any candidate who comes through our doors, are offered the same opportunities to succeed and will be treated with dignity and respect.”
In 2015, the U.S. Air Force began integrating women into six Special Warfare specialty areas, which were previously closed to women. Since then, a total of eight female Special Warfare Airmen have graduated from various training pathways.
The gain of the three women into the Special Warfare community within a calendar year is an unprecedented success for the Air Force. “It is a strategic imperative that Americans know Special Warfare training is accessible to anyone who can meet the standards,” said Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson, 2nd Air Force commander. “Of all the Air Force’s training programs, Special Warfare training has the highest attrition rate due to extremely high-performance standards.”
“The future fight is going to be different from the past, requiring us to leverage the entire talent pool of skilled, qualified and diverse individuals our nation offers in order to assemble the teams America needs to meet future mission requirements,” she said.
To ensure Americans are aware of Special Warfare training programs, Air Force Recruiting Service (AFRS) made significant changes in the past two years. The agency invested in future Special Warfare trainees as early as possible to ensure no segment of the population is excluded from this opportunity.
AFRS activated the 330th Recruiting Squadron, a one-of-its-kind Air Force squadron, that recruits solely for Special Warfare career fields. Additionally, the Special Warfare Development program was established, which better prepares prospective candidates physically and mentally for the rigors of the training ahead. The program pairs candidates with current, former and retired Special Warfare Airmen known as "developers" for mentorship and guidance. This program is open to any aspiring candidate who can meet the standards set forth by the Special Warfare community, is cleared medically, and can attain the required security clearances.
Efforts do not stop at recruitment, once candidates arrive at the Special Warfare Training Wing, each member is developed physically, mentally and spiritually to meet the rigors of the training ahead. Using a holistic approach, the training utilizes embedded human-performance professionals, special warfare instructors, and support staff to optimize every moment of the specific training pathway, with each individual candidate.
“We welcome and encourage diversity of background, experiences and thought for our forces because this is what our nation needs to meet the demands of the future mission construct and necessary force employment,” said Colunga. “We want every candidate who comes through our doors to succeed because we need every one of them. Once you arrive at the Special Warfare Training Wing, we will provide the tools and resources for success. But it is up to you to rise to the challenge.”