How To Join AFSPECWAR – AF Special Warfare
Air Force Special Warfare flashes


Below we cover how to join Air Force Special Warfare career fields. These jobs include: Combat Control, Pararescue, TACP, Special Reconnaissance, Combat Rescue Officer, Special Tactics Officer and TACP Officer.  We cover:

  • Active Duty Enlistment for Non Prior Service and Prior Service
  • Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve enlistment
  • Crosstraining/Retraining for current Active Duty Airmen
  • Officer Assessments for CRO, STO and TACPO

Active Duty Non Prior Service and Prior Service (Enlisted)

Non-Prior Service = Never been in the military before
Prior Service = Been in the military before but not the Air Force

To become an Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR) active duty operator, you need to contact a recruiter to begin the process (ASVAB, screening, medical tests, enlist, etc).  Enlisted Special Warfare jobs include Combat Control, Pararescue, Special Reconnaissance and Tactical Air Control Party. 
Prior and non-prior service applicants may not sign up for an individual job in Special Warfare. Instead, you may sign up for Special Warfare Operator Enlistment (aka SWOE) and may compete for the specific job that you desire. Find out more about SWOE; HERE.

On the active duty side there are differences between a regular Air Force recruiter and an AFSPECWAR recruiter- ensure whoever you are speaking to is the right one.  AFSPECWAR recruiters are trained to ensure you receive the right info and are prepped appropriately before BMT.  If by chance you contact a regular AF recruiter and need the AFSPECWAR flavor, the regular AF recruiter should be able to put you in contact with an AFSPECWAR recruiter. 
ANG and AF Reserve recruiters work differently and will put you in touch with the teams directly to try out.  

Ways to Find an Active Duty Enlisted Recruiter

  • Stop by your community’s local Air Force recruiting office
  •  Click the application tool on the Air Force recruiting website, provided on our Links page.

After making contact, the recruiter will refer you to a Special Warfare developer that will help you train before basic training starts.  This mentor is an ex-operator that will ensure your PAST test numbers are where they need to be prior to shipping out.

ANG or Air Force Reserve Recruiters

Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve units work with potential candidates directly prior to BMT to assess whether they are a good fit for that unit.  To start the process, check out the AFSPECWAR Overview page to find a specific unit or location you have interest in.  Then head over to the Links page and check out the ANG or Reserve recruiting websites to find a local recruiter for that base/area.  If you are having difficulty finding a good contact, drop a request in the AFSPECWAR Forums and we will find you someone.

Entry Requirements

  • Successful completion of the Physical ability and stamina test (PAST)
  • ASVAB Score: General – 49
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Possess a High School Diploma or GED
  • PULHES Medical Profile Score of 111111. 
  • Physical qualification for aircrew, parachute, and marine diving duty according to AFI 48-123, Medical Examinations and Standards.  (For more information, visit our Medical Eligibility Page.)
    • Vision: 20/200, correctable to 20/20
    • Note: Some medical conditions may be waiverable depending on severity and mission impact.
  • Meet general Air Force enlistment requirements, outlined in Air Force Manual 36-2032

Enlisted Crosstrainees

For current Active Duty Airmen that want to switch career fields.  Refer to our AFSPECWAR retraining page for specific guidance.

Officer Candidates

Follow the procedures in the attached Assessment Program Guides (pdf):

  • For Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) / Special Tactics Officer (STO) assessment, click HERE (FY 20/21)
  • For Tactical Air Control Party Officer (TACPO) assessment, click HERE

For additional questions or concerns, visit the AFSPECWAR community forums to collaborate with current, future and prior operators.

18 thoughts on “How To Join AFSPECWAR”

  1. Antonio Jamelle McGee

    SURVIVAL, EVASION, RESISTANCE AND ESCAPE (SERE) SPECIALIST. I am already enlisted and want to change over.

  2. (2/1/2023) Hello, I heard online that colorblindness was waiverable due to critical manning. Is there any guidance on this I can look in to? Currently I would consider switching over Pararescue but I’m partially colorblind I’m not sure if I would get canned for it while in the long pipeline.

    1. I believe you go in as AF Spec War GENERAL, meaning you learn about all the occupations and the instructors will guide you to the one that is best fit for you.

  3. If i am looking at retraining but am married mil to mil with a dependent how would the process go with going to multiple different locations. I know we will be separated for good amounts of time but just wanting little overview of what that looks like.

  4. Greetings,

    What is the likelihood of becoming a TACP battle airman with current active mild asthma?

    My recruiters don’t know if it will disqualify me and the doctors have the say in that so I called MEPs and they said my recruiter would know so I’m stuck in a rut.

    I’m currently doing self preparation, swimming x3 a week, running x3 a week, calisthenics + lifting 6 times a week. If it’s most likely going to be a no then I don’t want to out all of the work in to be denied.

    Like realistically even being this active, is it going to give me a chance to do TACP?

    Thank you for your time!

    Best regards,


  5. I’m highly interested in AFSPECWAR and am currently working with a recruiter to look at my options. My question is do you see many if any 38-42 year olds that join and complete pipeline. I’m currently 38yo and train in Krav Maga, stay active and i in pretty good shape

    1. Staying active and in pretty good shape is not nearly enough. You should be gunning for 70+ Pushups, 70+ Situps, 15+ Pullups, <9:30 Run, <10:00 Swim. Your age is close to the limit but not yet there. You will likely be physically behind other candidates, but if your mental strength is there, you will succeed.

      1. I can do all those things with no problem. My age is 41. What is the age limit for AFSPECWAR and are there waivers for fit gentlemen?

  6. How does the TACP force reduction over the next few years affect new recruits? What is the Air Force’s reason for doing this – will TACP and CCT merge?

  7. To whom it may concern,
    Hello I was reaching out wondering who the Air Force special Ware fare recruiters are here in Mississippi!


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