Lieutenant General Michael W.Wooley
Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command
Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition
September 26, 2006
"SOF Goes Mainstream"
Peterson: General Wooley, welcome. Thank you very much for being here with your team.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WOOLEY: Thank you. I'll tell you anybody who was here for General Brady's brief just previous, contrary to what he was saying, we are growing, so that's a good news story for us. And we're growing on a lot of different fronts.
The most exciting growth that we've got in the future for us is we're starting a second wing. We're engaged so heavily in this Global War on Terror. We're growing as a result of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). We're growing as a result of folks recognizing the value of Special Forces on the battlefield that we're starting a second wing.
The good news is for air commandos past, present, and future is we're standing back up the first SOW at Hurlburt Field (Florida). That renaming, reflagging ceremony got air commandos in the office that the audience that may not have heard that before.
Sixteen November is the date that we're going to reflag the 16th Special Operations Wing (SOW) to the 1st SOW. We're going to take the flag from the 16th SOW, move it out to Cannon Air Force Base (New Mexico). That is huge for us, because with Cannon Air Force Base comes Melrose Range. It will be our range. We can do air ops, ground ops, integrated ground-air ops--any kind of ops you want to do--drop zones, assault landings, and on and on and on.
So we put together exercises and not have to ask or schedule with anybody. So that's huge for us.
We have had many, many successes over the last year on the battlefield. You're going to hear a wonderful story about our ground combat force in action through Tech Sergeant Scott Innis here in just a few minutes.
But let me give you a couple of more examples of our successes on the battlefield.
You know this time last year, we did not have a Predator Squadron. Now, we have a Predator Squadron, the 3rd SOS out at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. We are flying today two orbits in support of Special Operations on the battlefield.
This time last year, we did not have a squadron that flew low signature airplanes in the form of U-28s, which is military model of the PC-12 Poladis, a single-engine turboprop airplane doing low signature in-field, ex-field on the battlefield today. We're looking for two other models of airplanes. Light turboprop twin and a larger turboprop twin JCA-size, if you will.
That squadron we stood up from a blank sheet of paper to get the money, buying the airplanes, bodying the airplanes, and getting them into Iraq in less than a year.
One of the things that is our strength in special operations anywhere, is the fact that we don't have the big bureaucracy. You know a lot of folks wonder if being the smallest major command in the Air Force bothers us. I, quite frankly, enjoy being the smallest major command in the Air Force, because we really are light, lean, and as lethal as anybody in the United States Air Force. So that's a good thing for us that not having a bureaucracy we can operate pretty much inside of anybody's decision loop, and that's the way we have been able to build that Predator Squadron and that low signature air squadron in record time.
I love what I do. I love my people--13,000 air commandos, warriors everyone--out there doing the mission, taking the fight to the enemy, so the enemy does not have a chance to attack us again on our homeland, our soil.
I'm going to introduce Tech Sergeant Scott Innis now. He's one of those battlefield airmen, one of our ground combat troops that has a very harrowing story--a couple of days that he will never forget in his life, because he was pretty doggone busy.
He'll tell you about some technology that we've got that we're very, very proud of and has enabled him to do the things that he did in Afghanistan in this little fire base that they pushed out of the desert of Afghanistan.
So without any further adieu, I'm going to bring up Tech Sergeant Scott Innis, and let him tell you a great story about some great Americans doing wonderful things as we're taking the fight to the terrorists on their turf.
TECH SERGEANT INNIS: Good morning. I'm Tech Sergeant Scott Innis. I'm a Combat Controller. I've been a Combat Controller for about 15 years. I'm currently stationed up at McCord Air Force Base, Washington.
I was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from February to July '06. I'm going to go into a couple of operations that were real significant.
Over the course of time, I was in approximately between 23 to 26 actual engagements with the enemy, whether it be indirect fire, direct fire, movement to contact, quick reaction force, or just being ambushed.
So I'm going to go over a quick area sit rep; need for the HESCOS (This is a collapsible wire mesh container with a heavy duty plastic liner. Open in up and use a front end loader to fill it with sand,dirt or gravel) and you have a protective barrier to protect personnel and equipment from enemy fire (or bombs)., and the operations of 25 March and 28 March.
I was attached to a Special Forces A-Team, which is approximately a 12-man team, with various skills-snipers, communications, engineers--different types of skills such as that.
Here's Afghanistan. We've got Kabul right about there. I was located in the Helmin [ph.] Province, near the towns of Sangeen [ph.] and Khaligas [ph.], and this area has been over the past few years a well-known safe haven for the enemy or the anti-Coalition military ACN. A couple of Coalition forces have lost their lives there over the past few years.
We were basically tasked to go out into the middle of this province and establish a presence out there. And we built a fire base; literally, we brought it with us. Basically, we lived out of eight truck CONEX's (steel containers)for four months--real horrible living conditions, as you can see.
And basically, we established a fire base, which is nothing more than an area to stage operations out of and come back and reconstitute and continue on further operations.
Here's a picture of the helicopter landing zone. As you can see, as soon as we got out there and we set up our base, we immediately began taking fire, whether it be mortar fire, rocket fire, or small arms fire being directed at us. We had no perimeter to speak of, and it was pretty nerve wracking to say the least.
This is a picture of the helicopter landing zone. As you can see, the threat was so high, we always had to secure the helicopter landing zone. It was located directly outside of our fire base. And you can see brown out conditions were always a factor.
Here's a picture of that same helicopter. It's on the ground. You have a better idea of how much security we actually had to put out there.
One of our jobs as combat controllers is to be surveyors, and we have to have a good knowledge base of automated computer drafting. I use these skills to actually draw out our fire base, which was approximately 320 feet by 350feet. It was pretty tight living conditions. This picture is actually--this was done about mid-April, late April, after we were there awhile and actually hadn't established a fire base.
This is where I lived. Here's a picture of me. I love this picture. Any hair on me I love, so. Oops.
Right here you can see this is my HP-W computer, high-powered wave length. Basically, it's just a way to send data burst e-mails quickly over satellite communications.
Here's my living conditions. It's inside a truck CONEX. I also lived in there with two other individuals, a team sergeant as well as the senior communications sergeant, Chris Robinson.
This is a picture of the fire base when we first got out there. So it's taken from the top of my C-LAN container. This is the tower that we built, and that was where most of my operations occurred during my time out there.
If you look on the perimeter, there is no perimeter. We had wire and that was it, so it made us very susceptible to enemy fire.
But I took it upon myself to acquire HESCOs, which are nothing more than earthen barriers. They're big blocks that you fill with dirt that absorb the shocks of RPGs, rocket-propelled grenades, small arms fire, and mortar fire. They're really good for base defense, and they're used throughout the theater.
I surveyed a drop zone directly behind our fire base out in the middle of the desert, and sent back the survey, and my Special Tactics Operations Cell acquired these HESCOs from I don't know where. They just got them, but, you know, we were happy about it.
Here's a picture of what the fire base looked like without anything, any type of perimeter. You see the HESCOs laying on the ground here. And there it is afterwards. It's quite a difference.
And actually, the--right about here in this corner, later on, we were taking fire. Actually, the HESCOs saved my life and a bunch of other guys' lives by absorbing the shock of a rocket-propelled grenade that was directed at the fire base, and had those HESCOs not been there, it would have went into our ammunition holding area or our fuel depot spot.
This picture is taken from the north facing south. As you can see the only visible target from outside the fire base is my tower.
I'm going to go quick into the operations of 25 March. I'm going to go over the concept of operations, the actual mission execution, the casualty collection point, follow-on engagements and our return to base.
During this time period, the Close Air Support (CAS) assets that I had were B-52, A-10s, UH-60s, A-64 Apaches, and a couple of MH-47 helicopters.
Basically, our mission was to go north approximately 12 kilometers. Our fire base would be just about down here somewhere and then head up north. There was a high-value target in this area. We were going to be going in with a couple of other forces. Our mission initially was to secure one helicopter landing zone. As we literally were rolling out the gate, that changed to securing all four helicopter landing zones.
We were to secure the helicopter landing zones for follow-on forces. There was a main assault force coming in that were going to clear the compound, find the individual we were looking for, and take him and go.
As soon as we left the fire base and began our movement north, all around our fire base there was just enemy everywhere and those sympathetic to their cause. As soon as we left the gate, they began calling up north, letting them know where we were, how far--how many people we had, how fast we were moving and what not.
They called up to hear that this area known as Joselay [ph.], and let them know we were coming, which gave them plenty of time to pull in more forces and set up ambush areas.
We basically had about 30 vehicles, mostly for the U.S. we were all in HUMVEEs. I was in the lead vehicle, with the command element. We had a bunch of Afghan National Army that were attached with us, and they were all driving in Toyota Hi-Lux Trucks.
We began our movement up north on this main road right here. It's known as Highway 611. It runs right past our fire base down here.
As soon as we began our movement up north, we turned off--just to give you an idea of what the terrain looked like. The road was as wide as the truck tire, the HUMVEEs tires with--and it had three-foot walls on either side that were waterway systems going through for the Poppy fields, which were extremely rutted, and we couldn't go off road, because it would high center the HUMVEE, and we wouldn't get--be able to get any traction.
As soon as we turned off the road, there was a vehicle trying to escape, and being--as I was in the lead vehicle, the team sergeant advised me to try and contain the vehicle, to stop it moving, and I sat up with M-4, fired a few rounds in front of the vehicle to try and stop him. He didn't stop, and he told me to engage him, and I shot directly at the driver's windshield. At that point, I drove past an eight--a compound wall, which was eight to ten feet high. It was very canalizing when you got inside the compound areas. It was really tight. We actually had to turn the turrets of the guns to get past and make our way through.
Also at this time I would later find out that I didn't have any communications with the aircraft that were pre-planned for this mission as of this time, and I would later find out that over the SAT-Net, we were requested to push the mission 2 minutes, which it was too late. We were already engaging.
We continued our movement inside the target area, and as soon as I began firing, they started firing right back at us. We began taking fire from three directions, from straight in front of us, and either side, and it was a lot of small arms fire--AK-47, 762 type rounds, as well as PKM, which is a crude [inaudible] weapon. It's a heavier machine gun.
And there was sporadic rocket propelled grenades at this point. Not very accurate, though.
We got to a point right about here--I don't know if you guys can see that--but it was our release point. We were to go to all our separate helicopter landing zones.
My command--the vehicle, I was in the command vehicle, as well as another HUMVEE, continued our movement up to the northeast here; went over a small bridge that we were very concerned about holding the weight of the HUMVEEs, and it barely made it over. The other vehicle followed us. We turned, and we went into a dead end. It was ten-foot walls on either side. We had a really tough time. I was convinced I was going to die at this point, and I just pulled a grenade out of my pouch and said I'm taking somebody with me--kind of my attitude.
Luckily, there was an opening in one of the walls, which we kind of made wider with the HUMVEEs, and went into a courtyard, and we were able to back both HUMVEEs in, turn it around, and make our way back up out to link back up with the main convoy.
During our movement back towards the convoy, we were taking a lot of fire, from all directions. We were taking a lot of fire, but there was one individual that I spotted doing one of these numbers--shooting and then looking, shooting and looking. I waited for him to pop up. He shot at me, and I shot three times, shooting him directly in the face.
We linked back up with the convoy. I still had absolutely no communications with the aircraft at this point. I went to my secondary back up. I called in a troops-in-contact situation. Immediately, I was sent a--the original B-52 that I was supposed to have showed up directly overhead within seconds.
At this point, the RPG, as well as all the other fire was getting so intense, I advised the team leader that it was too hot for me to bring in the helicopters safely without them actually shooting down the helicopters. So the team leader at that point decided to abort the mission, and he wanted to find an area where we could turn around. And being as how tight this road was, the only way out was the same way we came in.
So we basically had to find an area big enough to get all the vehicles in, able to turn them all around, and get back out. And we found one right about up in this area.
Basically, we all pulled up into this big, wide-open area; started pulling up security positions. At this point, the team sergeant, who was in a vehicle that I was facing--I was in the rear of the HUMVEE, talking to the B-52--the team sergeant who was in the top turret of the HUMVEE he was in got shot directly in the shoulder, and he was bleeding profusely from his shoulder, as well as almost instantaneously Sergeant 1st Class Chris Robinson got shot underneath his body armor. He was in the rear gun of the HUMVEE. He got shot underneath his body armor, and it threw him out of the back gun of the HUMVEE.
The two individuals that we were driving jumped out, picked up Chris, grabbed him, put him back inside the passenger seat of the HUMVEE. One of those guys jumped back on the gun, and started laying waste to the enemy, and we continued our movement back.
At this point, the team sergeant, by the way, got shot, stumbled a bit, got back on that gun, and he was just rocking away. Bravest man I've ever met.
We turned back around. We got the convoy moving back towards the south. At this point, I had put down my weapon and began using my laser range finder, my Mark-7, lasing ranging targets in that area.
As soon as the last vehicle from our convoy--I had them advise me when he was past this point, which would have made it safe enough for me to engage with three 2,000-pound JDAM bombs from the B-52.
I had the B-52 drop the JDAMs, and it actually lifted the back of the HUMVEEs. It was pretty impressive if you've never seen one go off, never mind three of them. And it completely shut down any fires that were coming from that area.
We were, however, still taking fire from all directions. We were inside that area fairly deep.
As we continued our movement down to the--back to the main road on our way out, the ANA at this point, the Afghan National Army, were--abandoned their vehicles, and were laying in the ditches on the ground, dropping their weapons, or walking away from the fight. It was pretty frustrating.
In order for us to continue, the Afghan National Army guys that left their vehicle blocked our only route out. We had to get out of our vehicles, go over, and actually roll their Hi-Lux truck out of the way in order to continue our movement.
At that point, I ranged a couple of more targets, passed the coordinates to the B-52, and had them engage with the additional three sets of 2,000-pound JDAMs. And it just--it was doing a lot of good for us, because we ceased to take fire. As we were passing, we ceased to take fire from those areas.
Once we got out onto the main road here, we got accountability of all vehicles and all personnel. And I had locked in a coordinate, because we were still taking fire, believe it or not, from the further out areas. There were people that were lucky he made it through those bomb blasts. We were still taking pretty good fire and RPG fire from that target area. I locked in a grid coordinate as I passed through, and asked the B-52 to drop his remaining six JDAMs 500 meters either direction from the center.
We continued our movement down through the desert to break enemy contact inside a little valley pass right here, where we set up a casualty collection point. Immediately, they began working on the team sergeant and Sergeant Robinson. Sergeant Robinson had died at this point.
I had to get eyes back on this target area, and there was a little knoll right here that overlooked the target area, and I asked them to move back--move the HUMVEE back up there so I could see. As soon as I got on top of the hill, all the other aircraft that were supposed to be part of this mission showed up, and they were right over where I had just asked the B-52 to drop his JDAMs. This is when my air traffic control kicked in.
I immediately aborted the B-52, and I began separating by altitude and location all the other aircraft. I moved the CH-47s off to the west, the one with the 60s, UH-60s. I moved the A-10s to the south, and I kept the H-64s directly over my head.
As soon as everybody was at a safe distance, I cleared the B-52 hot to drop his remaining JDAMs.
All of his JDAMs were released except for one that malfunctioned. It didn't accept the coordinates or something, so he checked off with no more bombs basically.
As soon as the last JDAM bomb impacted, I had the A-64s roll in over the target area with guns and rockets and continue to fire while the enemy still had their heads down. And he hit with his rockets what I believe was a cache, a weapons cache, due to the size and amount of secondary explosions and the color of the smoke. It was just huge.
As he was--as the 64s were rolling in over the target area, one of the enemy popped up and shot a rocket-propelled grenade straight up at the AH-64, and RPGs will self detonate somewhere 700 to a thousand meters, and it self-detonated in the air.
At the same time, I had moved the--used the CH-47s to come in and medivac out our wounded and KIA.
As soon as the air burst occurred, I pulled the AH-64s off, and I had the A-10s roll in. I had the A-10s roll in and mark where I thought the round was shot from; had them bracket the target; and then come back in with a 500-pound air burst bomb. An air burst bomb will explode up in the air, crushing everything, throwing up a much wider fragmentation pattern, and just destroying everything underneath it.
As soon as he rolled in and dropped that, you could have heard crickets chirping. There was nothing coming out of there. All fire ceased. Nothing more was going on.
At this point, we moved our HUMVEE back down to the rest of the convoy at the casualty collection point, and I used the A-10s and the AH-64s and the 60s to guide us, escort us, the rest of the way back through the desert, back to the fire base itself.
Because Chris was killed in action, we renamed our fire base from Wolf to Fire Base Robinson. Three days later, in reprisal for the 25 March operations, the enemy staged an attack against our fire base. I'm going to go into that right now.
During this time frame, this is going to cover over a 24-hour period that I was consistently on the mike calling in close air support.
During this time frame, I had multiple of everything pretty much. I had multiple GR7s, which are just British Harriers, a picture of them right here; multiple A-10s; multiple B-52s. I had one Predator the entire time. He stayed with me the whole time--and multiple AH-64s.
They basically started--it was my turn to hold tower watch. Obviously, we had to have 24-hour watch over our fire base, so we all just took turns cycling through.
I was on guard duty up in the tower. I got a call over the radio that there was an embedded training team, which is Army, Navy, Air Force types that just go to Afghanistan and teach the Afghan National Army guys basic soldiering.
There was an embedded training team convoy 80 vehicles long, which equates to about three kilometers in Afghanistan, stretched out, making their way north on Highway 611 towards our fire base, and they were being pinned down by enemy fire approximately seven to eight kilometers south of our position.
I was sent two GR-7s, two Harriers, to come over--I was advised over the radio what the situation was, and to compound problems I didn't have direct communications with the convoy. The convoy was relaying to the embedded training team's camp, which was located about 200 meters north of my position, and they were relaying to me, and I was relaying to the pilot. And I pulled out my Falcon View program, and made sure I had the right site picture that the convoy was telling me; relayed it to the fighters, made sure that they had the same sight picture, and I'd use marking round rockets from the GR-7s before I would engaged with 500-pound and 1,000-pound bombs.
I had the aircraft roll in multiple times, because the convoy didn't--we were unable to break contact. This is an actual photo of one of the bombs hitting us. It's taken from the convoy, and I basically cleaned off both GR-7s during this time frame, trying to break contact for the convoy. I have a video of one of the bombs impacting right here.
Once the contact was broken with the enemy, the convoy moved about 200 meters and they hit a double stacked anti-tank mine in the road, which was definitely laid out for the Special Forces team and myself. It blew up, killing instantly 12 Afghan National Army guys, leaving a gigantic hole in the earth. They actually had to off load a bulldozer that they had in the convoy to fill in the hole so they continued their movement north to our fire base.
The first vehicle made it inside of our compound wire about 17:30 local. The last vehicle made it inside our compound around 01:00 in the morning. It was that long of a convoy.
During that time, the GR-7s had checked off station, because they were out of bombs, and I had A-10s coming in for two-hour time frames apiece and I had a Predator overhead at this point, as well as AH-64s were escorting. I was using them to do low approaches, popping flares to spook off any enemy. The enemy is not stupid. Whenever they hear planes, they don't move. They don't come out of hiding. They stay hidden.
Once the last vehicle made it inside the compound wire, I asked the A-10s--I had two A-10s overhead and the Predator--I asked them to go back up north to take a look on the ground and see what they could see where Chris was killed, and I also told them that I'd step off the tower; I'd be back on the mike in about five minutes. I wanted to get off the tower to go send back a situation report to the rear.
I stepped off the tower, leaving my body armor and my radio, to go down into my CONEX to send back a situation report. While I was typing on my computer, all hell broke loose. The sky opened up, and they began firing at us. We had RPGs being fired; PKM, just that heavy machine gun; mortar fire rockets. It was insane, and it was all being directed at the tower being as how that was the only visible target from there.
Oh, you know what? I'm sorry. I just skipped over something.
During the convoy's movement, we had a Canadian QRF Force show up at our fire base. It was--yeah, that's why. We had a Canadian QRF. About four CH-47s showed up landing, and we had a bunch of Canadians show up there, and began to take security positions throughout the fire base. I found out that we were supposed to be attacked, and I was thinking well, big deal. We get attacked every night, and it was different obviously.
So basically, we were inside--here's a fire base right here. We were being attacked, being shot at, from this direction from the north; from across the river, we were taking mortar fire, and it was intense. People were being killed. We had multiple wounded inside.
I had got on the--I ran to the base of the tower and I ran--climbed back up the tower. I was convinced I was going to die climbing that ladder back up towards that tower, and got as low as I could. We had two sandbags high around the top of the tower, and I got as flat as I could, and grabbed my radio, threw it on, and advised the aircraft that we were now troops in contact situation, at which time the two A-10s advised me that they were out of gas. But much to their credit, they stuck around.
I sat back up and waited to see--we were taking--most of our casualties were due to the mortar fire I believe. So I sat up and I waited to see the splash from the firing of the mortar from across the river. As soon as I saw it, I would laze it with my laser range finder, lay back down, and get a coordinate for it through my GPS; pass that to the A-10s, and I had them roll in with a 500-pound air burst again.
That didn't stop the firing, so I had them come back in on an immediate re-attack with their guns. As soon as they laid their guns down, everything stopped. There was no more firing.
After that occurred, I got a good idea of how many casualties we had, as well as the killed in action. I sent back the medivac-9 line, and I had helicopters come in and we evacuated out our wounded.
Also during this time frame, I had--the two A-10s had checked off as soon as that was done. They were out of gas. They really needed to go, and a B-52 had come back on station. I still had the Predator.
While I was doing all that, I had the Predator keeping an eye out on our perimeter. I knew that there was a set of ruins right here that they were firing the small arms fire at us from. And sure enough, he followed 12 to 14 individuals--enemy--making their way back to the only crossing point I know on the Helman [ph.] River, which is right here. It's the ferry crossing point.
We followed them across. A vehicle came up and met them, and they talked for a little bit, and the vehicle left and went south. As soon as the vehicle was gone, I had the Predator engage them with a Hell Fire, and it was pretty impressive. I got a video of it here.
I'm going to turn this on. It almost goes immediately to it. You'll see a bunch of black dots right about here, and that's all 12 to 14 individuals.
After the Hell Fire strike, about an hour later, that vehicle made its way back up north, and picked up all the body parts and pieces, the heads and what not, and threw in the back of the vehicle to get them in the ground, you know, due to their religion, to get them in the ground before the sun came up. It's real early in the morning now. It's probably about four or five.
The vehicle makes its way back down to a compound area, and over the radio I'm told that this is where two medium value targets were located at, and there would be an assault force going into the compound to grab them or kill them. And there would be a helicopter assault coming in, and they wanted me to secure the area using the A-10s, to keep it as pristine as possible. They were going to fire a Hell Fire into the--near the compound area, and they wanted me to get any--we call them squirters--anybody going in or out of the compound.
About ten--now, the sun is back up. It's about 10:00 o'clock in the morning, the Hell Fire strike goes into the compound. As soon as that happens, there's people running all over the place, all bad guys, enemy, moving all throughout. I was using the A-10s to secure the area. Multiple gun runs and rockets just hosing those guys.
And after a little while, I saw the helicopter assault force coming in with the other Special Forces team. The helicopters land, go through the building, clear the building of any enemy personnel, and they found a weapons cache of RP--rocket-propelled grenades, tactical gear, as well as approximately a thousand pounds of ammonium nitrate, used to make improvised explosive devices.
The team pulled off station. They had enough demolitions on them to take care of the rocket-propelled grenades, but they didn't have enough to take care of the thousand pounds of ammonium nitrate, so they asked me to take care of that with the A-10s, using their 500-pound bombs.
As soon as the team was at a safe distance, I had the A-10s roll in on the compound itself with a 500-pound bomb. It hit the compound right dead on, but it didn't hit the exact point where the ammonium nitrate was, so I gave the pilot a better talk onto the actual area inside the compound.
They came rolling back in with another 500-pound bomb and hit it smack dab in the center, right where it needed to go, and it was a dud.
I asked the A-10s to come back in on a re-attack and try and nudge the bomb with some rockets, and just to--maybe if you wink at it, it will explode. And I was stepped on by higher, much to my dismay, saying that, you know, we're not allowed to do that.
So at this point, the A-10s checked off. It's about 14:30 in the afternoon the following day, and I finally stepped off the tower after working about 24 hours straight CAS, and during that time, I dropped somewhere--between the two days, I dropped about 40,000 pounds of munitions. I've had somewhere between 112 to 130 killed in action, enemy killed in action. And, of course, we paid quite a price for this, though.
I have some video of the compound assault itself. I think the first video I'm going to show you is the Hell Fire strike near the compound.
TECH SERGEANT INNIS: You see all those guys that made it through that.
The next video is the A-10s doing their strafing runs on and near the compound using their guns and rockets
TECH SERGEANT INNIS: And this one is of a 500-pound bomb actually impacting the compound itself.
Have any questions? Thanks for your time.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WOOLEY: Let me add a postscript--hang on, Scott. Let me add a postscript to Sergeant Innis' presentation.
You can see why I love these folks so much. They are true warriors. They're heroes in every sense of the word.
Scott was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for this action, and he's also been submitted by his Army ODA team for the Silver Star, and I think that it will be awarded when it's all said and done.
I'm very proud of Scott. I'm very proud of the 13,000 men and women who do things equally, as gallantly every day in Air Force Specials Operations Command.
We've got a minute or two, Pete, I don't know how long you want to take, but if anybody has got a burning question for me or Sergeant Innis, we'll hang around as long as you all want to hang around, before they kick us out of here.
Peterson: We got about 10 minutes. If you got some questions, please come forward to the microphone.
Question: We all love the fire power that the [inaudible] brings to the fight. You alluded to a little bit of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) that we're starting to step up our role and bring to the fight for SOCOM. Can you elaborate a little bit more?
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WOOLEY: As much as I can. You know, one of the things that is so effective about special operators operating Predator, the SOF mindset. Not that there's anything wrong with anybody else's mindset, but you know when you're trained and you know the faces. You know the voices. You know the Rules Of Engagement (ROE). You know the TTP. You know the pilot flying this thing comes out of gun ships, MC-130s; HC-130s, MH-53s. We're also bringing in sensor operator out of the gun ships. We've also got Intelligence folks that are, you know, running really fast to keep up with the sensor operators. There's a huge exchange of information--the air sense that folks that we're the AFSOC patch are bringing to the ISR role.
It has proved very, very successful for us, and when you talk to the other SOF operators on the battlefield, the requirement is somewhere between 25 and 30 orbits, if you will, to be as effective as we can supporting all of those deployed operators on the battlefield.
Right now, we have on the books a requirement to go to six orbits, and we're running as fast as we can.
Thanks for that question.
I might also add that we've stood up the 25th or the 11th Intel Squadron, which is an AFSOC Intel Squadron that's doing DGS operations. We have a fledgling DGS being stood up at Hurlburt Field. We also have the SOF operators that are exploiting these ISR products, the ones that we generate and the ones that other folks generate as well, and when you look at the predictive ability after you build up a database, you know, following these folks around for literally thousands of hours, there's a lot of predictability in there. And when you work the ground team and the ISR assets and the folks that are exploiting that with the same mindset, it's paying big dividends.
Peterson: You mentioned the move out to Cannon. Could you give us an idea of kind of the timing on that? Do you have a feel for it?
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WOOLEY: You bet. You know one of the things that has come out of the recent events is the fact that we are growing. We're at a Schlitz at Hurlburt. We need to move somewhere. When the chief told us to go look at a couple of bases west of the Mississippi, we had always had it in our plan to go out there. With all of this growth, it's a marriage made in heaven.
We will have an equal capability at Cannon, as we do at Hurlburt when it is all said and done. We'll have gun ships, talons, helicopter refuelers, CV-22s, an ST squadron, a foreign internal defense squadron and, by the way, if anybody is-the foreign internal defense mission piques your interest, if you have an area of the world that you're interested in, you want to improve your language skills, you want to still fly airplanes or maintain airplanes, we've got just the squadron standing up for you, because we're doubling our capability in foreign internal defense. And I don't think we're going to stop there.
The need for that type of individual in today's Air Force is going to continue to grow. You heard the Secretary and the Chief talk about irregular warfare. The irregular warfare center that stood up out at Nellis, the commander of that is one of our SOF guys, Colonel Pugmeyer, who is just coming off of a DAO tour down in Colombia--the right guy to stand that up.
So if anybody is interested and wants to become part of that team, please let us know, because we've got about 170 slots that we're looking for folks with language skills and aviation skills and maintenance skills to round out that unit.
Peterson: Thank you very much, Sergeant Innis. That was an outstanding briefing, but more importantly, the courage and valor that you and the rest of the team displayed makes us all very proud. And thank you for you leadership, General Wooley.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WOOLEY: Thanks, and thanks for what the Air Force Association does for us every day. This forum is just awesome, and we congratulate you for that, and thanks for what you do. Thanks, folks.
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