Special Tactics Question

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by usafacademy4, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    I am a Falcon Foundation recipient that attends Marion Military Institute as my prep school. Being at a Army-oriented school has changed my perspective on which branch of military I want to commission in. Also, after trying out for the club Swamp Fox, which is a small, Army Ranger-like club that tests you physically and mentally, and teaches you small group battle drills and other Army things, I have changed my mind in wanting to attend the Air Force Academy to wanting to attend West Point. I like the satisfaction that comes with working with fellow soldiers more than I would like working with machines and computers. I want to be a leader of men, and I know that by going to Air Force Academy, I will not have many chances to work with soldiers like I would if I went to West Point.
    Before I ask questions about West Point, I have a few questions regarding the Air Force Academy:
    1: How many cadets at the Air Force Academy want to join Air Force Special Tactics, such as combat controller and Air Force pararescuemen?
    2: How many spots are there available to become a Special Tactics officer?

    Now, for West Point:
    1: Being a Falcon Scholar, does that make it very hard for me to receive an appointment to West Point?
    2: For any former Falcon Scholars, has there ever been a Falcon Scholar that ends up changing his mind about going to the Air Force Academy? If so, did he or she receive an appointment to any other Service Academy?

    Now, don't get me wrong, if I receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy and not to West Point, I will definitely accept that appointment. My final goal is to still become an officer in the U.S. military. I would much rather become an Army officer that leads soldiers on the ground than a pilot or a communications officer in the Air Force. But, I will take what is given to me.

    Any suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    It just makes me warm and fuzzy inside to be told there is no real leadership in the AF and all we do is work on computers and "machines."

    PJs are enlisted only. Their officer is CRO. Special Tactics are STOs. Very difficult to get out of USAFA and requires a lot of time and commitment. From my class I believe there was less than 10 slots for both combined.
     
  3. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    Ok,again, don't get me wrong. Personally, I like the way Army leadership is. A military officer graduating from any of the Academies is going to be a great officer. But, they lead in different ways. For me, I like the way an Army officer is with his soldiers. on the ground, completing objectives as a team. There is nothing wrong with Air Force officers. So, sorry if I worded that wrong, but it is just what I want to do as an officer.
     
  4. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    Also, I read somewhere that the Air Force is allowing PJ officers now.
     
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    No, PJs are enlisted, CROs are officers--similar but different.

    USAFA usually has 4-8 slots for STO/CRO, per year. I would guess that they usually have 10-20 serious competitors for those slots. I can ask a guy going through STO training now, if you have any specific questions.
     
  6. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    ok, that is probably what I read.

    and YES!! if you could definitely ask him about his training, that would be awesome! Did he graduate from the Academy? I would love to try and pursue a CRO/STO slot when I graduate from the Academy.:thumb:
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Like raimius, I have (2) friends going through the training now. Maybe one of them is the same friend.

    I knew at USAFA their training was secretive, but knew enough that it took big chunks out of the schedule and was EXHAUSTING. In training after, it's much tougher than you can honestly imagine. They are going to break all your limits in every way imaginable. If you are not comfortable in the water, that is one area you better start changing.
     
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    I will let others on the forum address this statement.

    However, as a Falcon I foresee at least two hurdles to obtaining an appointment to WP. First, as a Falcon Scholar, you a legally obligated to pay back the Falcon scholarship if you decide not to attend USAFA. I believe that Falcons also receive a scholarship from Marion as well. I do not know if there is any obligation associated with that scholarship. Second, is it even possible for you to apply for a WP nomination at this late date? Most MOC's application dates have passed.
     
  9. goldenlion

    goldenlion Member

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    Cross commissioning

    You could attend USAFA and then commission into the Army. I believe that is still an option, at least it was 20 years ago.
     
  10. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    Did those two friends graduate from the Academy??

    and I know that the training is very hard. I plan on getting extremely prepared for the training before I even think about going out for it. But, then again, I do like challenges! haha:thumb:
     
  11. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    I do know that I will have to pay back that scholarship that the Falcon Foundation gave me. There is another fellow Falcon scholar here at Marion with me that wants to go to West Point, and we both know the problem of paying back the scholarship. Secondly, I already applied for nomination for both Air Force Academy and West Point, but I have not heard back from the nomination sources yet.

    I heard that cross commissioning was very hard to do this day and age. I know it is possible to do so, but it is very hard.
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Yes, both my friends were classmates of mine at USAFA.

    OK, so, I say this but no one believes these things until they experience them. Saying an Academy is much harder than most imagine is true and no one quite grasps that until they are there and go, "holy crap." Now, CRO/STO QUALIFYING training at USAFA takes that to the 10th level.

    But if your heart is set, go jump in the pool and swim laps for an hour a day (hard), practice holding your breath for as long as possible, then keep going (have a buddy please), practice ruck running, etc. I only know a small part of what they did, it was very secretive.
     
  13. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    I mean I am very determined to try and make this my future career path. I know it will be hard, I know i will be pushed far beyond my limit, but I am totally willing to give it a try, and definitely try my best!! Fortunately for me, I was actually on swim team for a good part of my life, and am pretty confident in the water. Even though water and swimming are the great neutralizer among everyone, I will practice the things you said that they do in the water.
    Thank you for the information!:thumb::thumb: I will PM you if I have any other questions!
     
  14. Romad

    Romad Member

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    STS Squadrons were formed as a hybrid of CCT, C-Weather, and PJ units as the USAF/ AMC combined functions from MAC, Air Weather, and ARRS during the grand reorganization that did away with TAC, SAC, and MAC etc. it wasn't a happy fit in the beginning - still isn't in some ways. Nowadays the AFSOC STS squadrons also include JTACs (TACP) guys who were the TAC rivals of the MAC CCT's - similar missions, different commands, etc.

    Most of the personnel are enlisted and they are led by a small group of officers - mostly CCT qualified ATC guys in my day (some weather guys too). Nowadays that includes some ALOs (Air Liaison) officers as well. They all used to be fighter qualified guys - now ALO slots are open to TACP enlisted as Officer Track positions - with the proper education.

    All enlisted folk in those career fields begin at the OL-J screening course at Lackland to qualify them physical for these positions - I'm an ex-JTAC we then go to Hurlburt Field for our selection and tech training and then on to different qualification schools. The process is similar for the other career fields. I've been retired for awhile so I don't have the latest info but the officer's assigned to these specialties were those who possessed the stem officer career field specialties such as weather, ATC, and pilot/WSO AFSC's etc.

    They then were sent to qual training in those special duty assignments. If you want to be a CCT STS guy you will have to be Airborne (HALO), Scuba, and ATC (ground) specialty qualified as a minimum and yes, as several posters have noted - you had BETTER be able to swim and handle drowning a few times - especially if you go to the Army Combat Dive School at Key West (some go to the Navy Sharkman Course). Jump School is a breeze nowadays, but the different qual courses are pretty intense.

    Also all STS's are not the same, the SOF STS's who work w Delta, SEALs, and JSOC are the best of the best and the quals needed to get into them are reminiscent of SAS training - read up on it - Just getting your foot in the career field door isn't the toughest thing in the world but serving in the A Team units is beyond tough and a real honor.

    Good Luck -my son's been accepted to the SAP program there at MMI if he doesn't get an Academy slot this year.

    Best

    Romad
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  15. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    If you have seen the "Surviving the Cut" episode on PJs, that will give you an idea.

    I know of one CRO who is currently an AOC at the academy who has an underwater swim distance of something like 125m...
     
  16. Romad

    Romad Member

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    It's a real pain to pass Dive and get your bubble - EVERYONE drowns a couple of times - you have to be prepared to get pumped out and thrown back in - NO EXCUSES... ( practice your flutter kicks too - 1000 at time - I kid thee not...)

    :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  17. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    My firstie year, my squad's 2nd BCT cadre decided to do 3000 flutter kicks one day. They completed them.
    (Which made me glad I wasn't 2nd BCT cadre!)
     
  18. usafacademy4

    usafacademy4 Member

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    Despite the many acronyms, this was very helpful information! Thank you for it.

    And good luck to your son if you comes to Marion. It is not a bad program. Had some good times here.
     
  19. Romad

    Romad Member

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    Sorry about the acronyms!

    ARRS - Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service

    CCT - Combat Control Team

    PJ - Pararescue

    C- Weather - Combat Weather

    JTAC - Joint Terminal Attack Controller

    SAS - British Special Air Service (their Delta)

    SBS - Royal Marine Special Boat Unit (their SEALS)

    TACP - Tactical Air Control Party

    JSOC - Joint Special Operations Command

    Bubble - Scuba Qualification Badge

    HALO - High Altitude Low Opening Parachute Insertion

    HAHO - High Altitude High Opening - Think human glider

    OL- J - Operating Detachment Juliet

    SOF - Special Operations Forces

    Navy Sharkmen - Navy Dive Course Grads

    ATC - Air Traffic Control

    WSO - Weapons Systems Operator

    Hope that clears up some of the "What the H*lls" :shake: If he goes to MMI SAP at least he's 30 min from home! He met w Col Lewis last month and is going to Knight Fox in Feb, however, He's really hoping for a direct appointment.

    Best
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  20. Romad

    Romad Member

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    My abs are STILL in good shape thanks to about 15 bizzillion Flutters over the years. The first time our training cadre yelled "Gimme a thousand" at the first day of selection I thought they were kidding (nope)! But they did prep us well for all the Q training we went to after getting our berets - not one of us dropped out of anything - and those Army and Navy cadre really TRIED!

    Best :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011

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