United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance

Weathermen's brandishing their weapons
Weathermen’s brandishing their weapons

If someone ask me what is my opinion about the most capable unit in the United States military, my answer should be that United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance should be considered as one of the best. And it means when you compare them to Tier 1 units such as Delta Force or Seal Team Six. The members of United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance are providing on-the-ground weather reporting to special operations units. The unit was formerly known as formerly known as Special Operations Weather Team or just SOWTs. But, with new name comes new mission, according to the Air Force Times.

The new name comes as need to bolster the Air Force Special Tactics teams — which consist of combat control, pararescue and tactical air control party airmen — as they prepare for an era of great power competition.

What they do?

Usually, Airmen’s are meteorologists with extra training which allowing them to operate tactically while attached to other special operations units or on their own. United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance Airmen providing real-time local weather forecasting,  but they can also provide target and in-route weather information and assist in route planning for US Air Force units and other service’s assets. They are operating under the 10th Combat Weather Squadron which is stationed in Hurlburt Field and serve under the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Members of USAF SOWT expecting helicopter at LZ
Members of USAF SOWT expecting helicopter at LZ (Photo: USAF)

United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance Airmen are undergoing a unique training to operate in hostile or denied territory which often means that they are operating in most dangerous places in the world. They gather, assess, interpret environmental data and forecast operational impacts from forwarding deployed locations, they primarily work with Air Force and US Army Special Forces.

Additionally, Special Reconnaissance operators conduct environmental special reconnaissance, collect upper air data, organize, establish and maintain weather data reporting networks, determine host nation meteorological capabilities and train foreign national forces. Every Special Operations Forces mission is planned using the analyses and coordination of special operations weathermen.

Training and selection

As it is mentioned, United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance Airmen are among the most highly trained personnel in the U.S. military forces. They have and maintain the same weather weapon system qualifications as all Air Force weathermen in addition to advanced special tactics skills which provide them with skills needed to accomplish all objectives in front of them. Their 61 weeks of training and unique mission skills earn them the right to wear the gray beret.

United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance
Special Tactics airmen with the 24th Special Operations Wing perform avalanche training at Moran, Wyoming, Dec. 13, 2016. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Sandra Welch/Air Force)

They need to follow these courses:

  • United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance Course conducted at Lackland, Air Force Base, Texas
  • United States Air Force Special Reconnaissance Initial Skills Course conducted at Keesler AFB, Miss
  • U.S. Army Airborne School conducted at Fort Benning, Ga.
  • U.S. Air Force Basic Survival School conducted at Fairchild AFB, Wash.
  • U.S. Air Force Water Survival Training conducted at Fairchild AFB, Wash.
  • U.S. Air Force Underwater Egress Training conducted at Fairchild AFB, Wash.
  • Special Operations Weather Apprentice Course conducted at Pope AFB, N.C.
  • Special Tactics Advanced Skills Training conducted at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

So far, they have been part of many missions where they skills were needed and they have accomplished every task which was in front of them.

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