ST surveys airfields to gain operational advantage

  • Published
  • By Maj. Tony Mayne
  • NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan

Special Tactics Airmen with the 24th Special Operations Wing conducted multiple airfield surveys with their Afghan Air Force counterparts in Faryab province this week. Special Tactics teams have the ability to assess, open and control major airfields to clandestine dirt strips in either permissive or hostile locations providing strategic access for follow-on forces.

Airfield surveys are required prior to the arrival or special operations and conventional aircraft to traditional airfields and field landing strips.

"Our work is critical to extending the access and reach to fight our adversaries in their safe havens," said a Special Tactics Airman. “Planning, leading and executing global access missions is a core task that we provide to the joint (special operation forces) effort.”

During the operations, Afghan Army and Air Force representatives met with Special Tactics Airmen to discuss how to increase airpower at Faryab province airfields. Based on the team’s findings, multiple airfields in Faryab province meet the specified needs of the NATO Resolute Support mission. The locations have the potential to support Afghan and coalition reconnaissance, troop delivery and strategic air support operations.

"This is my fifth deployment as a Special Tactics Airman conducting precision strike, global access and personnel recovery missions," another Special Tactics Airman said. “You can feel the difference this year, a new commitment to extending the fight to the heart of the enemy."

Special Tactics is the Air Force’s tactical air and ground integration element that enables global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations. Special Tactics Airmen are experts in the conduct of airfield reconnaissance, assessment and control, personnel recovery, joint terminal attack control and environmental reconnaissance.