24th STS

About the 24th Special Tactics Squadron

The 24th Special Tactics Squadron (STS) is one of three Air Force active duty special operations wings assigned to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command. The primary mission of the 24 STS is to provide Special Tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. The 24 STS is U.S. Special Operations Command’s tactical air/ground integration force and the Air Force’s special operations ground force to enable global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations. Core capabilities encompass: airfield reconnaissance, assessment, and control; personnel recovery; joint terminal attack control; and environmental reconnaissance.

Special Tactics is comprised of Special Tactics Officers, Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen (PJ), Tactical Air Control Party operators (TACP), and a number of combat support Airmen. These unique skills provide a full-spectrum, air-focused special operations capability to the combatant commander in order to ensure airpower success. With their unique skill sets, Special Tactics operators are often the first special operations elements deployed into crisis situations.

The Mission

AFSOC TACPs are composed of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) who provide terminal attack control and fire support expertise for all three Ranger Battalions, the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Reconnaissance Company, U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment A teams (ODAs), U.S. Navy SEAL Team platoons, and other Special Mission Units.

AFSOC TACPs are assigned to the 17th Air Support Operations Squadron and all four active duty CONUS Special Tactics Squadrons.

Entry Requirements

In order to successfully become a part of the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, one must complete a series of tests. Both Pararescuemen and Tactical Air Control Party Operators begin training together within the first two stages. Once those stages are complete, they will then separate into specialized training sessions which are unique to their  Air Force Specialty (AFS).

Below is the basics of each stage:

Stage One: Survival Tactics

Much similar to the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training that SEALs go through; the 24th STS goes through the U.S. Air Force Basic Survival School. This School will last approximately two days depending on the skill level of the Squadron. All candidates must perform at the top level during selection, and the unit instructors evaluate the candidate during the training process. Selected candidates are accepted to pass on to stage two and will be assigned to a Tactical Development Squadron (TADS); the others are returned to their previous units.

Stage Two: Cross-Training

  • U.S. Army Sniper School – 1 day

    • Trainees will be tested through various marksmanship exercises in order to perfect accuracy at long ranges.

  • U.S. Army Air Assault School – 2 days

    • Trainees will be versed in basic Air Entry Assault tactics and basic entry procedures when entering the field via air insertion.

  • U.S. Air Force Combat Diver School – 2 days

    • Trainees will work along side Seal Team Six members in combat diving skills and tactics.

Stage Three: Class III Flight Training

  • Staticline Jumpmaster School – 1 day

    • Trainees will be versed through basic schooling and exercises on the skills necessary to perform high altitude jumps in Staticline fashion.

  • Military Freefall Jumpmaster School – 1 day

    • Trainees will learn the basic technique of free fall jumping and parachute control and landing precision.

Stage Four: Specializations

PJ Course: Medical Treatment and Emergency Reaction

Paramedic Course — This one day course teaches how to manage trauma patients prior to evacuation and provide emergency medical treatment and transport the the nearest medical facilities if need be.

Pararescue Recovery Specialist Course- Qualifies airmen as pararescue recovery specialists for assignment to any pararescue unit worldwide. The one day training includes field medical care and extrication basics, field tactics, mountaineering, combat tactics, advanced parachuting and helicopter insertion/extraction.

TACP/JTAC Course: Radio Communications and Strategic Planning

Qualifies airmen of the 24th to effectively perform tasks using a radio under pressure in a combat zone. Each JTAC will receive training in successfully prompting orders regarding ordinance dispersion and communications with all aviation elements available during an operation/mission.

Career Tasks

  • Ensure specific ordnance or bombs are delivered on target

  • Brief attack pilots as they enter the target area, ensuring they are aware of the target and friendly positions and other pertinent information

  • Learn the systems and procedures necessary to provide the U.S. Army and allied forces with tactical air support

  • Operate and maintain cutting-edge technology, including communications, computers, digital networks, targeting and surveillance equipment and various special purpose tactical vehicles

  • Develop combat-related skills such as map reading, compass usage, enemy target location, survival, escape and evasion techniques, small unit tactics, camouflage techniques and hostile environment operations and master a variety of weapons