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Air Force activates Special Warfare Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio

Battlefield Airmen Preparatory Course candidates participate in pool exercises in April at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

ISMAEL ORTEGA/U.S. AIR FORCE

By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 15, 2018

The Air Force has established a new headquarters organization aimed at meeting combatant commanders’ growing needs for special operations airmen, Col. James Hughes, the wing’s commander, told Stars and Stripes in a telephone interview Friday.

The Special Warfare Training Wing was activated Wednesday at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, according to an Air Force statement issued Wednesday. Composed of approximately 135 airmen, the wing has assumed command of the Battlefield Airman Training Group, which was activated in June 2016 and recently re-designated as the Special Warfare Training Group.

The new wing’s primary mission is to free training group personnel from higher-level administrative tasks, so they can focus on preparing the next generation of special ops airmen, Hughes said.

Strategic planning, personnel management and communication with higher headquarters are ways the wing can take the burden off the instructor cadre, who need to focus on attention to detail and their own training requirements to ensure a safe and effective training environment, he added.

There are seven special forces career fields in the Air Force: pararescue, combat rescue officer, combat control, special tactics officer, special operations weather team, tactical air control party, and non-rated air liaison officer.

The SWTW also assumed control of the BATG’s umbrella mission of ensuring future battlefield airmen have a guiding hand that stretches from recruitment to their arrival in the operational Air Force, Special Warfare Recruiting Squadron commander Maj. Heath Kerns said in a telephone interview Friday.

“For all intents and purposes, we are tied [to new recruits] at the hip,” Hughes said. “It ensures we are getting the right type of folks in the door and getting them to their unit.”

bolinger.james@stripes.com
Twitter: @bolingerj2004

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