USAFSOS brings education to Kadena

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Tait, 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
The United States Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) sent a team of faculty members to the 353rd Special Operations Group to train Air Commandos here, Dec. 5-16, 2016.

By hosting the training at Kadena, we are saving the Air Force almost $1 million, said Lt. Col. Chris Portele, commandant of USAFSOS.

“We brought an instructor cadre of 14, with five guest lecturers," he said. "This is relatively inexpensive compared to what it would have cost to bring 420 students to Hurlburt Field.”

Portele said USAFSOS teaches 18 courses aimed to transform Airmen into Air Commandos. The curriculum spans from introducing Special Operations Forces (SOF) at the most basic level to preparing future mission commanders for success.

“We are here for Air Commando development,” he said. “In addition to the requirements stated by the command, we reach out to the unit when creating our curriculum for our education team. When we pushed out those requests in February, the 353rd SOG came back with tailored needs to Pacific area of responsibility.”

USAFSOS taught Introduction to Special Operations, Intercultural Basic Course, Contemporary Irregular Warfare, SOF Air Command and Control, Pacific Theater Course and Anti-terrorism Level II.

USAFSOS’s mobile education team program is relatively new within the scope of the school.

“We’ve done it for the last three to four years,” said Portele. “The curriculum has improved quite a bit. We’ve got to the point where we can hit the salient and relative points to each of the units because we work with them more frequently.”

Portele said USAFSOS sends their team to Kadena Air Base and Royal Air Force Mildenhall once or twice a year, depending on the exercise schedule. They also travel to Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., four times a year.

“Sometimes we get really busy and education is tough to fit in,” he said. “I thought that way as well until I heard stories from some of our operators."

For example, Portele said there was a Marine special operations team that attended the AFRICOM Theater Course who found themselves in a sticky situation in Africa.

“When they came home, they called the schoolhouse and said the only reason they got out of that tough situation was because of that course," he said.

Portele said education can be expensive, but the cost-saving initiatives from USAFSOS have enabled more Air Commandos to receive the necessary training to accomplish the mission.