SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE (SR)

Special Reconnaissance Airmen are highly trained commandos with unique training to conduct multi-domain reconnaissance and surveillance across the spectrum of conflict with a focus on lethal and non-lethal air-to-ground integration of air power. They deploy rapidly and undetected by any means (land, sea, air), anytime and anywhere to prepare the environment for future operations and obtain, transmit, and action strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence information. USAF SR deploys as elements of Special Tactics teams to prepare the environment, ensure global battle space awareness, enable Global Access, and effect air, space, cyberspace, and information superiority for the successful execution of joint force objectives.

Special Reconnaissance Airman

HISTORY

The U.S. Army Weather Service originated in 1917 to provide the American Expeditionary Forces with "all the meteorological information needed, and to undertake special investigations in military meteorology and related problems". They first took part in World War I combat operations in France in 1918, within the Army’s Signal Corps.
During World War II, especially trained weather observers, sometimes referred to as guerrilla weathermen, infiltrated behind enemy lines to provide intelligence in support of airstrikes, airlifts, and airdrops. In every conflict since Vietnam, special operations weathermen have participated in the majority of special operations missions, conducting austere environmental reconnaissance operations, and setting conditions critical to the success of follow-on forces.
On May 5, 2008, the Air Force approved to establish a new Air Force Specialty Code for Special Operations Weather Teams (SOWT), formally recognizing the need for a special reconnaissance capability, uniquely trained to conduct weather operations and to collect and analyze environmental reconnaissance. These operators have since been an integral part of Special Tactics able to conduct multi-domain reconnaissance and surveillance across the spectrum of conflict and crisis.
Beginning in 2016, Headquarters Air Force and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) recognized the need to look critically at the entire formation. Recognition of the Air Force’s challenges in an era of great power competition drove the evolution of Special Tactics teams.
On April 30, 2019, SOWT transitioned to Special Reconnaissance, expanding the capabilities and lethality of Air Force Special Tactics. SR will continue to maintain their application of lethal and non-lethal air-to-ground integration of airpower. Additionally, they will focus their primary skillset on reconnaissance – long cultivated within their community – into a multi-domain, tactical capability able to provide battlespace awareness, and generate effects of strategic and operational significance.

HOW DO I BECOME A SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE AIRMAN?

The SR career field is small and selective and is only in Special Tactics. To become a SR Airman, you will go through approximately two years of special operations and reconnaissance training, learning to operate at the highest level. Visit AirForce.com/SpecialWarfare to learn more, get connected with a Special Warfare recruiter, and start the application process.

Special Reconnaissance Airmen on a plane

PHYSICAL AND STAMINA TEST

8 pull-ups under 2 minutes
50 sit-ups under 2 minutes
40 push-ups under 2 minutes
1.5 mile run under 10 min 20 sec
2x25 Underwater Swim (pass/fail)
500m Surface Swim under 12 min 30 sec

SR taking aim during training

HIGHLY TRAINED COMMANDOS

Special Reconnaissance operators are among the most highly trained personnel in the U.S. military. They receive training in surveillance and reconnaissance, multi-domain electronic warfare (EW), long-range precision engagement and target interdiction, small unmanned aircraft systems, preparation of the environment, and advanced Special Tactics skills.

SPECIAL WARFARE PREPARATORY COURSE (SW PREP)

Candidates undergo intense strength training by running, rucking, and swimming extensively. They'll also learn about the rich history of Special Warfare, Esprit De Corps and ultimately take the Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST) to see if they'll move on to tech training.

SPECIAL WARFARE ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION COURSE

This course assesses candidates based on several factors, and selects them if found suitable for SR. Only the most dedicated, team-oriented candidates will be selected.

SPECIAL WARFARE PRE-DIVE COURSE

This course prepares candidates physically and mentally for the rigors of the Special Warfare Combat Dive Course. It consists of intense calisthenics, middle and long-distance running, swimming, and water confidence training.

SPECIAL WARFARE COMBAT DIVE COURSE

This course graduate's expert divers. SR Airmen undergo extensive combat dive training, including training on a number of diving systems.

AIRBORNE SCHOOL

This course teaches basic parachuting skills required to infiltrate an objective area by static line airdrop.

MILITARY FREE-FALL COURSE

This course graduates advanced military skydivers.

SERE TRAINING

This course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas. Instruction includes principles, procedures, equipment, and techniques, which enable individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or environment, and return home.

SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE COURSE

The primary responsibility of a SR is clandestine infiltration and environmental reconnaissance. In addition to continuing the rigorous fitness training, they also learn how to collect any and all data that could affect the battlespace.

SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE APPRENTICE COURSE

SR's provide more than environmental reconnaissance, they're battlefield Airmen usually operating in the middle of a war zone. This is where they learn to apply their training under pressure while obtaining fundamental combat skills utilizing a range of weapons and strategies.

SPECIAL TACTICS TRAINING

The longest segment of the pipeline is also the most comprehensive with advanced weapons and demolition training, all-terrain vehicle operation and core skills instruction, all culminating in a five-level upgrade on completion.

ADDITIONAL TRAINING

Multiple additional courses exist which continue the advanced development of SR Airmen. This includes, but is not limited to; Special Operations Sniper training, Airborne jump-master training, Dive supervisor training, Advanced Free-Fall training, Advanced Multi-Domain EW training, Advanced Surveillance training, Advanced Preparation of the Environment training, Advanced Personnel Recovery training, and Joint/Combined Special Operations training.

Air National Guard common assignments include Louisville, KY, and Portland, OR

SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE FUNDAMENTALS