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Air Force Featured Stories

Special operations: getting technical

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Haux
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information
As the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference Technology Exposition continued Sept. 15, senior leaders from around the Air Force discussed the topics that mean the most to them.

Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, the Air Force Special Operations Command commander, talked about what technology means to the AFSOC world and how it transforms the way they train.

“You come to Hurlburt Field, (Florida) and you get indoctrinated (with) three weeks of what’s it’s like to be an air commando,” Heithold said . “Two weeks of that is in the field, one in the classroom. You are going to learn how to shoot, communicate and move. You are going to learn defensive driving skills … and how to take care of your battle buddies.”

At the very beginning of the three-week training, Airmen get tablets and are hooked up to the cloud, which has access to instructors and tutorials at any time.

“I can imagine these 3D programs … where you can walk through an airplane virtually,” Heithold said. “You can do this in your living room. The crew chief or the flight engineer can take an engine and tear it apart three-dimensionally and (it tells) them everything about that engine. These tools are what I need, rather than having a stack of books like all of us were handed back in the day. (All of this can be on the cloud) and (we can) push it to our students so they can learn.”

Heithold wants special forces Airmen to be as well-known as the Navy SEALs and Army Night Stalkers.

“You know what you get when you get a Navy SEAL. You get somebody special; you probably get the most highly trained killer on the planet,” Heithhold said. “If you stood next to them, a Night Stalker from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the world’s greatest helicopter pilot, you know what you get. You get someone who is going to get you there no matter what. When you stand an Airman up there, I want you to have that same sense that you are getting the world’s greatest Airman to get you where you need to be and provide what you need, on time, on target, any time, any place.”