Guide to Special Operations-related
July 1999 - The
Rescuers - If a pilot goes down during Operation
Southern Watch, Moody AFB will ride to the rescue.
Two squadrons from south Georgia are on permanent
deployment to Southwest Asia.
May 1999 - The
Storm Troopers - Air Force
weather units at Fort Bragg do more than predict rain.
The airborne “grey berets” tell the Army’s elite forces
how best to combat the fog in war.
April 1999 - Airborne
Spirit - Those people, mostly with Air Combat
Command’s 18th Air Support Operations Group and Air
Force Special Operations Command units, have specialized
missions that support the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division
and other special forces at adjoining Fort Bragg.
They work in a world of air assaults and infiltration
— a hybrid world on the fringe of the Air Force. Their
life of overnight field exercises and intense physical
training, getting to work via parachute, is beyond
the grasp of the typical bluesuiter.
April 1999 - A
Hard Road - Combat Control School - In
the early chill of a North Carolina morning, hardened
warriors file down the stone path to a black marble
headstone. They touch it reverently, one by one, sometimes
pausing as lips form voiceless words. It’s a silent
ritual, watched solemnly each day by a dozen others.
Those watchers are not worthy to tread the path, but
the sweat and mud dripping from them represent their
dreams of doing so.
December 1998 - The
Devil and the Deep Blue - Battered by a howling
gale, the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter shuddered and
shimmied while it skimmed over a swirling sea that
boiled like a witch’s cauldron. Inside the chopper,
pararescueman Tech. Sgt. John “Mickey” Spillane stared
at the bubbling broth and thought, I’m sure glad I’m
up here and not down there.
November 1998 - STAR
Burst - In the event of war with North Korea,
Osan Air Base, South Korea, officials worry most about
enemy special forces taking out the base, and preventing
an allied counterattack. They figure guarding the
base’s six miles of interior perimeter will take about
1,000 troops. But they have only 400 cops.
August 1998 - No
Wimps Allowed - Popovich
recently took part in one of the most physically demanding
courses in the military – a 10-week Pararescue and
Combat Control Indoctrination course at Lackland Air
Force Base, Texas. The task described above, called
drown-proofing, is designed to increase confidence
in water and teach students to react calmly and rationally
in high-stress situations.