by U.S. Army Sgt. Tanisha Karn
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
February 7, 2019
Junior and senior cadets of the United States Air Force Academy visited the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) compound in November 2018 on Fort Carson, Co.
The visit was a part of their Military Strategic Studies class and allowed them to gain a superior understanding of the Special Forces community and how to better operate in the joint service environment.
The interaction served as an ideal way to glimpse into the Special Operations community. The cadets learned the importance of working with Special Forces in Joint Operations by learning the local operational dialect and seeing how they operate, said Air Force Lt. Col. Joel Higley, the instructor for the course.
"We are sitting in a classroom at the Air Force Academy," Higley said. "We can talk doctrine all day, but it's kind of nice to get them down here and see some folks actually doing it. It's one thing to say special operators have a different mindset, and another one to actually talk to an actual special operator and realize 'Holy cow! They think differently, don't they?' and to get a briefing on real world situations."
Col. Lawrence G. Ferguson, the 10th SFG(A) Commander and Air Force Academy graduate, greeted the cadets that morning and gave a special briefing about 10th Group operations.
"It was an honor to host Lt. Col. Higley's group of USAFA Cadets here at 10th Special Forces Group," Ferguson said. "As an alumnus who is also now a career Army Special Operations Officer, it's vitally important to me to demonstrate to our young, future leaders what capabilities exist outside their parent service. We fight and win as a joint force, and the more our future leaders know about that the better off we will be as we continue to challenge our adversaries globally"
After the brief, the cadets talked with Green Berets about their various missions, equipment and capabilities. This was an opportunity for the cadets to see firsthand how special operations meet and overcome a diverse and unique set of real-world challenges whether it be in the mountains, water or the sky.
The cadets then went to the THOR3 (Tactical Human Optimization Rapid Recover Rehabilitation) facility where they received a portion of the physical training that is given to special operators which included stress shooting and mental puzzles while conducting a functional movement work out.
"What I took away the most was the capabilities," said Cadet 2nd Class Austin Jacobs, a cadet with the Air Force Academy.
He went on to say he didn't realize how capable Special Forces are until he learned about the mountain units, dive capabilities and many other ways they can reach the objective. He found that just as impressive as how they fight in combat.
Jacobs said he was learning firsthand how the Air Force and the Army effectively combine assets to deliver a more lethal force to the fight in joint operations and is invaluable to not only him as a fellow future officer but his classmates as well.