LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
The 19th Airlift Wing showcased Air Mobility Command capabilities to the total force at Sontay drop zone, Florida, April 27 to May 1, 2020, in order to help certify Air Force Special Operations Command Special Tactics operators.
The 41st Airlift Squadron and 19th Operations Support Squadron Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape program out of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, assisted eight Special Tactics operators in regaining currency on static-line and military free fall jumps.
Jumpers have to be certified in both static-line and military free fall independently to maintain currencies every 180 days.
“The 19th AW has a dynamic capability to provide airlift and jumpmaster support that not many wings can provide,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ed Dawejko, 19th OSS SERE specialist. “Little Rock jumpmasters run a robust program supporting AMC, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Education and Training Command and some Air Combat Command jumpers for currencies.”
This total-service combined effort allows for AFSOC to carry out their mission to provide our Nation’s specialized airpower capability across the spectrum of conflict.
“The more every unit in the Air Force can get on the same page, the better jump programs overall will work,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Nathaniel Pepin, 628th Operations Medical Readiness Squadron High Altitude Airdrop Mission Support physiology technician. “Every unit has different standard operating procedures, and seeing how everyone does slightly different will make the overall product better.”
Dawejko was the primary jumpmaster and mission planner coordinating with AFSOC jumpmaster counterparts ensuring mission success and safety of all jumpers and jumpmasters.
“It’s absolutely essential to stay current on training,” Dawejko said. “Jumping is a very perishable skill and inherently dangerous -- the more current and qualified our operators are, the more proficient we can be.”
Dawejko, a SERE specialist for more than 21 years and a jumpmaster for 12 years, has completed over 700 static-line and military free fall jumps combined.
“Jumpmasters are 100 percent responsible for the safety of all jumpers,” Dawejko said. “Knowing the lives of Airmen are in our hands is not taken lightly. Even after all these years, I still get nervous knowing there are families waiting at home for my jumpers when they land.”
Upon completion of the weeklong training on static-line and military free fall, all participants will be considered current on essential mission qualifications. This total force effort allows for the Special Tactics Airmen to maintain currencies internally.
“When you’re talking about a unit delivering the fight, such as AFSOC, you can learn a lot from them and they can learn a lot from external individuals as well,” Pepin said. “It’s that well-rounded continuity and sharing of knowledge that keeps the U.S. Air Force on top.”