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Air Force Special Warfare Airmen, the Secret Ingredient

A Tactical Control Party Airmen and qualified Joint Terminal Aircraft Controller assigned to the 9th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Hood, Texas, directs an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft during a close-air-support exercise at Fort Hood, Texas Oct. 30, 2020. The 330th Recruiting Squadron used this exercise, along with the 2020 Lightning Challenge to publicize the capabilities of Special Warfare Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

A Tactical Control Party Airmen and qualified Joint Terminal Aircraft Controller assigned to the 9th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Hood, Texas, directs an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft during a close-air-support exercise at Fort Hood, Texas Oct. 30, 2020. The 330th Recruiting Squadron used this exercise, along with the 2020 Lightning Challenge to publicize the capabilities of Special Warfare Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

Zena Vandervort, a marketing specialist with the 330th Recruiting Squadron, looks on during a close-air-support demonstration that displayed A-10 Thunderbolt II and Tactical Control Party Airmen interoperability at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 28, 2020. TACPs are an elite group who can be qualified as Joint Terminal Aircraft Controllers, who direct the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position. Vandervort and the 330th RCS used the opportunity to capture imagery for potential recruits to illustrate what TACP has to offer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

Zena Vandervort, a marketing specialist with the 330th Recruiting Squadron, looks on during a close-air-support demonstration that displayed A-10 Thunderbolt II and Tactical Control Party Airmen interoperability at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 28, 2020. TACPs are an elite group who can be qualified as Joint Terminal Aircraft Controllers, who direct the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position. Vandervort and the 330th RCS used the opportunity to capture imagery for potential recruits to illustrate what TACP has to offer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

Master Sgts. Christopher Beversdorf and Derek Guerin, both 330th Recruiting Squadron special warfare recruiters, ran the obstacle course in chilling temperatures during the 2020 Lightning Challenge at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 26, 2020. Lightning Challenge was a service-wide competition where teams of two Tactical Control Party Airmen specialists competed against each other to be named the best in the Air Force. Beversdorf, a TACP by trade uses his operational knowledge of the career-field to ensure recruits have the best information possible when making decisions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

Master Sgts. Christopher Beversdorf and Derek Guerin, both 330th Recruiting Squadron special warfare recruiters, ran the obstacle course in chilling temperatures during the 2020 Lightning Challenge at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 26, 2020. Lightning Challenge was a service-wide competition where teams of two Tactical Control Party Airmen specialists competed against each other to be named the best in the Air Force. Beversdorf, a TACP by trade uses his operational knowledge of the career-field to ensure recruits have the best information possible when making decisions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

Master Sgt. Christopher Beversdorf, 330th Recruiting Squadron special warfare recruiter, ran the obstacle course in chilling temperatures during the 2020 Lightning Challenge at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 26, 2020. Lightning Challenge was a service-wide competition where teams of two Tactical Control Party Airmen specialists competed against each other to be named the best in the Air Force. Beversdorf, a TACP by trade uses his operational knowledge of the career-field to ensure recruits have the best information possible to make sound decision. 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

Master Sgt. Christopher Beversdorf, 330th Recruiting Squadron special warfare recruiter, ran the obstacle course in chilling temperatures during the 2020 Lightning Challenge at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 26, 2020. Lightning Challenge was a service-wide competition where teams of two Tactical Control Party Airmen specialists competed against each other to be named the best in the Air Force. Beversdorf, a TACP by trade uses his operational knowledge of the career-field to ensure recruits have the best information possible to make sound decision. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS, -- Whether you realize it or not, Air Force Recruiting Service is the first step for most in the Air Force. That step starts with meeting a recruiter across the various landscapes in America. Recruiters are entrusted with providing the best and brightest men and women who are capable of executing the ever-changing needs of the Air Force.

AFRS luckily has a secret weapon in the 330th Recruiting Squadron. The 330th RCS is the Air Force’s sole organization responsible for recruiting Combat Controllers, Pararescue, Tactical Control Party Airmen, Special Reconnaissance, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, along with Combat Rescue Officers, Special Tactics Officers and TACP officers.

The respective Airmen fall underneath the umbrella of Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR), previously referred to as Battlefield Airmen.  Make no mistake about it, different name with the same lethality. Truly the best of the best who relish the opportunity to send rounds down target to decimate an adversary or looming threat.

We already know how impressive members have to be to undergo such adversity, but recruiters, with the help of contract developers, are charged with getting them to that point. Somehow their work gets lost in translation, even though they dedicate their minds, hearts and souls to this monumental task.

“As a Special Warfare Recruiter, you gain a greater sense of the Air Force mission and you’re granted the amazing opportunity to look behind the curtain and witness how these elite Airmen train and operate,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Moreno III, a special warfare recruiter with the 330th RCS.

In order to give sound advice and help these Special Warfare recruiters in selling these careers to potential candidates, it takes a diverse team of various specialties. Zena Vandervort, a marketing specialist with the 330th RCS has helped communicate that message through various avenues, to include the Hollywood-style Air Force Special Warfare commercial. This was not by accident, Vandervort and the team know what they’re talking about and what needs to be communicated. Factors such as these has afforded them street credibility to work seamlessly in the Special Warfare and combat support communities. Some would say they’re bilingual, able to speak fluent operations and support speak.

“As a marketing specialist, one of my duties is to help our recruiters who are not in the operator community understand a little piece of what we recruit every day,” Vandervort said. “For this exercise, I was able to nationally display what TACP has to offer on and off the battlefield. Ultimately it’s our job to communicate what they bring to the fight, to inspire the next generation.”

They talk the talk, but also walk the walk—and that was clearly apparent during the 2020 TACP Lightning Challenge at Fort Hood, Texas Oct 26-30.

TACP Airmen from squadrons across the Air Force competed in a series of physical, technical and military challenges.  Unbeknownst to many, Special Warfare Recruiters played a pivotal role generating civilian media buzz such as Coffee or Die, Chive and Men’s Health that featured TACPs in print stories, social media pieces and videos.

Not to be outdone by the competitors, they even managed to sneak in a run at one of the events on the schedule after all participants had been through. During the obstacle course at the Lightning Challenge, Master Sgts. Derek Guerin and Christopher Beversdorf, TACP by trade, ran the course in chilling temperatures and misting rain. Without blinking an eye, both recruiters were off and crossed the finish line to cheering and laughter from the TACP cadre and other event goers. 

The comradery and commonplace exhibited was nothing short of amazing. Integration is one small piece that has made AFRS successful, but having fun is the catalyst to attract scout, recruit, and develop future Special Warfare and Combat Support Airmen to their combat calling.

“These careers sound tremendously exciting and exhilarating on paper, but they’re not for everyone. It’s not a spectator's sport and it’s extremely challenging, but the reward of calling yourself a SPECWAR or Combat Support Airmen is unrivalled, “said Moreno.

“The confidence you will gain will give you the mental fortitude and physical ability to tackle any obstacles that life throws your way,” said Moreno.
 

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