The female captain who is attempting to become the first female graduate of Air Force special tactics training, purportedly raised concerns about the program’s shifting standards in relation to her arrival as early as April 2021, the Air Force Times has learned.
The Air Force Times obtained multiple documents, performance forms, score charts and a report the Captain authored that show she was allowed to return to training post quitting and how physical training metrics were adjusted just prior to her arrival at a difficult schoolhouse last spring.
She wrote in her April 2021 memo to an unnamed master sergeant about her concern that the “change in standards invalidated her with a majority of her team.” Her account contradicts statements made last week by Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command. Slife had refuted the notion that the Air Force lowered standards to push the female through special tactics training and said the anonymous letter that circulated online claiming otherwise lacked context and information.
Special tactics is the Air Force’s distinction for a collection of commando jobs including combat controllers, pararescue and special reconnaissance airmen, who are all led by special tactics officers. Special tactics is a relatively small group within AFSOC and is the Air Force’s most decorated community since the Vietnam War.
Only a few women, none successful, have attempted complete special tactics training since the courses were opened to women in 2016. Self-elimination from the courses has always meant that an airman’s attempt to join special tactics is over but documents show she was encouraged to reenter.