Special Recon page

Yukon

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The suggestion of Bryan Carnes’ history paper: Dawn of SOWT- OSS Weathermen in the Balkans being an in-depth history of the origins of SOWT is inaccurate. While being correct in identifying WWII Special Operations weather or Special Warfare weather operations being under the auspice of OSS (not the Army or Amy Air Forces) is correct the focus on operations in the Balkans completely ignores the CBI theater. The history also terminates with the end of WWII. The focus on the Balkans is interesting considering origin of weather unit lineage connected to Hurlburt and AFSOC includes the CBI Theater during WWII with the capability being utilization reintroduced in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand during the SEA conflicts.

It also intermingles the demarcation between strategic weather observation and forecasting (weeks and months in the future) with tactical weather observation and forecasting concerned with what is happening now in the zone or area of operations and expected to happen during the next 24-48 hours. Basically the window of opportunity for imminent CAS, airdrop resupply, CASEVAC and other sudden we need it now requirements.

Weather Forecasting in the Balkans and south eastern Europe (primarily the French and Italian Alps) during WWII was driven by a desperate lack of vital topographical, weather pattern and climatic knowledge of these areas compared to Western Europe. The same desperate lack existed in the CBI theater. Getting such weather observations from the area or zone of operations required use of continuous wave HF radio transmitters/receivers (Morse code). Thus the OSS teams always included radio operators and maintainers.

The demise of the OSS combined with the (1) global gathering of vital topographical, weather pattern and climatic knowledge and (2) new technology developed during and since WWII essentially made the WWII OSS special warfare weather capability a relic of a begone age of global warfare.

Special Warfare or Special Operations Weather is reintroduces as an experimental program during 1963 at Detachment 75, 2nd Weather Group (Hurlburt) to support Jungle Jim Operations (Air Advisors and trainers of 1st Air Commando Wing, Hurlburt) in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. The historical record is quite clear in identifying the Air Weather Service and the 1st Special Operations Wing (Hurlburt) allowing the SOWT capability to atrophy to the point of being almost non-functional by 1980.

The reengineering or transforming of SOWT to Special Reconnaissance is more extensive than the reengineering of the Radio Operator, Maintenance and Driver (ROMAD) Specialty (est. 1997) into TACP during the 1980s. SOWT is essentially by expanding its utilization purpose is becoming a new not previously existing enlisted specialty. See attachment 07 document.
 

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admin

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Great points. Updated.
I'm counting on some inputs from SOWT-JR to really bolster this page as well.

SW
 

Yukon

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The only info I can currently find is:

SOWTs are special operators with advanced meteorological and oceanographic skill sets. They are Air Force Special Tactics members assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, 320th Special Tactics Squadron, and 321st Special Tactics Squadron – all units under Air Force Special Operations Command. Reference Special Operations Weather Team
 
The only info I can currently find is:

SOWTs are special operators with advanced meteorological and oceanographic skill sets. They are Air Force Special Tactics members assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, 320th Special Tactics Squadron, and 321st Special Tactics Squadron – all units under Air Force Special Operations Command. Reference Special Operations Weather Team
Thanks Yukon for the reply.
 

Yukon

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It may or may not be. Much of the forecasting and current observation data pertinent to the ocean or maritime environment is obtained by weather buoys, satellites, and ships at sea, and tide and current charts compiled during the past 100 decades or more. Not much need for special operations weather/special reconnaissance to swim with Shamu, Willy, Flipper or frolic with the little mermaid to gather current observations and make forecasts of sea states, tides, and other ocean conditions.

National Data Buoy Center

Tsunami Observations & Data

Lake Mead installs new weather-monitoring buoys
 
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That's what was going through my mind, these guys being out in sea collecting data. But thanks for the info!
 

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SRs (formerly sowt) will be stationed at every STS and eventually every RQS location. Changes will come gradually for this over the next 2-3 yrs.
 
SRs (formerly sowt) will be stationed at every STS and eventually every RQS location. Changes will come gradually for this over the next 2-3 yrs.
Awesome! So far everything I've read/heard for SR sounds amazing. Also I heard from a CCT that SR may be going to sniper school. Don't know if anyone can speak to that.
 

WR

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I'm unsure on if Sniper School will actually be a requirement, but I can tell you that we have sent CCT guys through Sniper School recently.
 
Can anyone better describe the difference between the new SR and CCT/SERE?

I interpret them as if there's overlapping roles based on the initial description with both CCT and SERE considered. Are CCTs not trained on explosives, cyber, space, intel, etc.? Does SERE not already utilize geospatial or environmental intelligence when briefing for personnel recovery missions?

Seems like instead of weather forecasting for a singular environmental intelligence role, they've basically said - You're going to acquire intelligence from every realm of the environment including: space/cyber, weather, terrain/drone, people/enemy recon, etc. -- With demolitions coming out of nowhere and the airfield/strip acquisition overlapping CCT/Phoenix.

Is there any discussion regarding a new officer equivalent or will it continue to be STO/CROs in charge of the STS/RQS?
 

Yukon

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Doubtful there will be a specific SR officer position to replace the discontinued SOWT officer position. Despite the new job description the same gainfully employed utilization problems exist of officer to enlisted ratio at the line unit level. Also as observed there is a lot of overlap where the being there on the ground is unlikely due to technology and reluctance to expose service members to such risks of capture and mission failure.

Anything that has a frequent and regular radio transmission signal is difficult to conceal these days. The US service member presences both language and culturally is also difficult to blend in with local populations. Such blending in was only successful during WWII in the European-Mediterranean region.

The blending in ethnically and culturally is of such significance that the Lodge Act was used to get defectors, refugees, escapees and others into US Military Service for that reason. Which was something the OSS relied upon to some extent during WWII too. Short term clandestine or covert operations of in and out are bit more successful pertinent to concealment than long term operations. There is significant history of partisan and guerrilla forces ether being infiltrated by spies or unexpectedly changing allergenics.

The Lodge Act Soldier

ARC Identifier 2569554 / Local Identifier 111-TV-284. Produced and filmed almost entirely on the sound stages of the Signal Corps Pictorial Center, Long Island City, "The Lodge Act Soldier" brings to the television screen soldiers who have escaped from the Communist into the Free World. These same men who once trained in armies behind the Iron Curtain are today showing American soldiers what life in a Communist army is like, and thereby developing a greater appreciation among all Americans for the democratic way of life. Setting the pace for this most unusual film, M/Sgt Stuart Queen, host-narrator, points up the importance of understanding the Communist enemy. In 1950, to help further this end, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge sponsored the Alien Enlistee Program, now generally called "The Lodge Act." Under the provisions of this legislation, political refugees from any country behind the Iron Curtain were given the opportunity to enlist in the United States Army for a period of five years. At the end of this time, if their record was honorable they would become American citizens. In addition to the first-hand accounts by Lodge Act soldiers, this BIG PICTURE program will include Communist training and newsreel films. In 28 minutes, television audiences will be given one of the clearest pictures about the "soldier behind the Iron Curtain" ever to be released. They will learn from men who served in Communist armies and whose first-hand knowledge of communism is an invaluable asset to our Army.
 
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Yukon

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After some consideration the better question is what will happen to the beret and Special Operations Weather Team beret crest? Will it just be a simple change of specialty identification from 'Special Operations Weather' to 'USAF Special Reconnaissance or will it be more substantive?

1. Color gray was approved for all Air Weather Service parachutists regardless of unit assigned or mission supported.

2. SOWT's specialized beret badge (emblem, crest, flash) was approved effective 8 July 1986 based on the specialty being weather observers and forecasters on jump status. The actual SOW specialty distinctive beret badge, crest wasn't approved until 1 Oct 2008 when it became a specialty in the weather careeerfield.

As I at times have a wickedly dark sense of humor, I'm amusing myself with exceptionally dark evil sinister possibilities for SR new beret color or colors and specialty specific beret flash/crest/badge possibilities. PS, I haven't even started dinking any booze yet, but me, myself, and I are having an interesting conversation about the potential possibilities. But perhaps we can draw out some current SOWTs to chime in with their speculations.
 
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Is there any information regarding what the SR Apprentice course would consist of training-wise, and how long the pipeline is? I’d imagine it’d be nearly identical to the Pararescue pipeline.
 

Yukon

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Pipeline appears to parallel the pararescue pipeline. I have no info on the apprentice course.
 
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