USAF dispells rumor started by Sec Def about female Airman in Spec Ops training

The US Air Force dispelled a rumor created by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who recently insinuated that a woman was training to be in USAF Special Operations.

The confusion originated earlier this week after Carter alluded in a commentary that a female airman was training to become a Tactical Air Control Party, or TACP.

“Interest in the Air Force’s battlefield airmen career fields has increased, with 18 women attempting initial training,” he wrote in an essay titled Combat Integration: The First Year of Firsts. “I am proud to say that the first woman has entered training to become a tactical air control party airman.”

However, Air Force officials pointed out that Carter had failed to realize that the one female airman had long since washed out of the program due to an injury in July.

“The individual in question entered the TACP training pipeline earlier this year, but subsequently withdrew due to medical reasons and returned to her original [Air Force Specialty Code],” Air Combat Command spokesman Major Andrew J. Schrag told “At this moment, there are no women currently enrolled.”

While officials say that efforts have and will be made to recruit women into US Air Force Special Operations, only a small handful of recruits have even considered the positions, which comes as a surprise for the US military branch with the highest percentage of women.

According to Captain Jose Davis of Air Education and Training Command, Nine civilian women began taking the Physical Ability and Stamina Test earlier this fall, but four have withdrawn and five are still trying to pass.

“When we do get the first woman in the pipeline, she’ll be in the Battlefield Airman Training Group, 37th Training Wing, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland,” Davis said in October. “After completion of training in the Battlefield Airman Training Group, Airmen are then sent to their respective AFSCs (Air Force Specialty Code commands).”

Carter has made a momentous effort to get women into combat roles, telling reporters during his military installation tour last month that “it makes sense.”

“Females are half of our population. We’re an all-volunteer force. So we recruit from the population it makes sense for us to recruit people, from as wide a population as possible,” he said.

However, Carter still believes they have to be able to qualify for such roles.

“Now they have to be qualified, but it’s a benefit to our military to be able to draw from what is a competitive [market] … to have the ability to have access to the best people we can.”

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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