Jun 16, 2022
Air Force Didn’t Lower Standards For Female Special Tactics Trainee

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An Air Force inspector general investigation into alleged favoritism in the service’s special operations enterprise concluded that leaders did not bend the rules for a female trainee who pulled out of contention for an elite combat job.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall green-lit the investigation after an anonymous letter posted to social media in January alleged that service officials are turning a blind eye to the captain’s poor performance as she ventures to become the first female special tactics officer. But the four-month inquiry found that Air Force special warfare standards were not lowered specifically to benefit women.

A recent article from the Air Force Times highlighted the four-month inquiry into the Air Force’s special warfare standards towards women.

Below is an excerpt from that article.

“Facts did not support the letter’s claims of gender-based preferential treatment,” the report said. “The letter’s assertions are based mainly on … ‘cultural norms,’ knowledge of half the story and widely spread speculation fueled by special warfare students, instructor cadre and operators.”

Special tactics is the Air Force’s name for a collection of commando jobs, including combat controllers, pararescue and special reconnaissance airmen, who are all led by special tactics officers. It’s a small cohort within the far larger Air Force Special Operations Command, comprising roughly 1,000 operators, and is the service’s most decorated community since the Vietnam War.

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The female captain, called “Candidate X” in the report, is one of only a few women who have attempted to earn a commando’s beret since the Air Force opened the prestigious career fields to female airmen in 2016. None have succeeded.

“AFSOC and [Air Education and Training Command] are working together to ensure the training pipeline meets the demands of what we need for the operator of today and into the future,” the Air Force said in a statement provided to Air Force Times Tuesday. “Our commanders are meeting with their teams to ensure open communication about the investigation results and to address any questions/concerns.”

To read the full article from the Air Force Times, click here.