USAFSOS celebrates 40 years educating Air Commandos

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
  • 1st SOW Public Affairs
This week the U. S. Air Force Special Operations School celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The school started as a part of the 834th Tactical Composite Wing. As the designation of the wing changed from the 834 TCOMPWG to the 1st Special Operations Wing, to the 16th SOW and back to the 1st SOW, the mission of USAFSOS remained the same.

"Our mission is to indoctrinate Airmen and turn them into Air Commandos," said Col. John Jogerst, USAFSOS commandant.

"After Vietnam and the draw down in the '80s, the warrior mentality wasn't really emphasized," said Ned Calvert, deputy chief, special operations division. "After the Goldwater-Nichols Act, Air Force Special Operations Command was established and the school grew to meet the needs of special operations forces."

In the beginning, the school offered only four courses. Today the school offers more than 30 courses for Air Commandos. The course offerings continue to expand as the AFSOC mission broadens to cover the world. A few of the courses include counterinsurgency, revolutionary warfare, dynamics of international terrorism, introduction to information operations and the Middle East orientation courses.

"Now our courses are more regionally and culturally sensitive as we try to help other countries help themselves," said Lt. Col. Susan Alaniz, chief, regional affairs division.

USAFSOS has had some high profile students come through its doors. The current commander of the Air Force Coalition Team in Iraq is a USAFSOS graduate. U.S. Central Command Air Forces requires its commanders deploying to support Operation Iraqi Freedom to attend the Middle Eastern Orientation and Dynamics of International Terrorism courses before going into the theater.

"Educating our special operations forces allows Air Commandos to have an impact on the minds and attitudes of people," said Dr. Stephen Harris, USAFSOS director of curriculum.

"The school's main focus is AFSOC, but we support others on a space-available basis," Colonel Jogerst said.

The school hosts students from various branches of the U.S. military as well as military and civilian officials from other nations.

The school offers a two-week course three times a year for foreign military and civilian officials to help them understand U. S. military civil affairs.

The courses at USAFSOS are not geared toward only one segment of AFSOC. Any Airman who wishes to can attend classes at USAFSOS.

"Everyone needs to know information operations," said Maj. Eric Larson, course director of Asia-Pacific Orientation Course and Cross-Cultural Communications Course.

"We are all ambassadors for the Air Force, and we need to know how other countries do business."

Civilians and spouses are welcomed and encouraged to attend classes as well.
For more information on course offerings, visit