A CRO Phase 2 instructor once told me a story of a CRO-wannabe going through Phase 2 selection. We’ll call the trainee Evan. Evan was a physical stud. He could run, swim, ruck and knock out calisthenics. He was equally adept under the water- performing underwaters, drownproofing, tieing knots and buddy breathing with relative ease. All these skills he had learned online and mastered prior to attending the course and was he was impressing the instructors. Combined with good leadership attributes, Evan was well on his way to being selected to continue on the CRO pipeline.
Until… the instructors did something at the Phase 2 they had never done before. The instructors placed weight belts on the candidates and told them to fin swim. Evan had never seen or prepared for weight belt swimming. While most of the class adapted and pushed on, Evan faltered. He was pushed out of his comfort zone, failed to adapt and ultimately failed CRO Phase 2 based off that single event.
Elite Airmen must be able to adapt, especially amid uncertainty. Pararescue Indoc is no longer, Combat Control and SOWT selection is gone and numeric graduation standards are of the past. A new structure has come to how the Air Force assesses battlefield operators. Welcome the next generation of training lite Airmen: AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection. There are more questions than answers regarding the new selection standards for Pararescue, Combat Control and others. The Air Force has found a new way to select their elite operators via A&S and with it will come new challenges for it’s applicants.
Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR) is not looking for guys like Evan. They are interested in men and women who can operate in any environment and adapt to conditions. The changing times presented at the Air Force’s Special Warfare Training Wing is the perfect example of these conditions.
Physically preparing for AFSPECWAR A&S (and associated Phase 2 courses) is only part of the prep work. To be successful, you gotta be mentally strong and expect the unexpected. Challenges must be met with an attacking attitude while continually adjusting when things abruptly change.