Remembering fallen Airmen through training

  • Published
  • By Special Warfare Training Wing Public Affairs
  • Special Warfare Training Wing

Remembering fallen operators is an integral part of training within the Special Warfare Training Wing, a wing tasked with the critical mission of assessing, selecting and developing ground combat forces that specialize in global access, precision strike and personnel recovery, all crucial mission sets in the age of strategic competition.

“Honoring our fallen is essential to the upbringing of each generation of trainee who comes through our doors,” said Col Nathan Colunga, Special Warfare Training Wing commander. “Our graduates will enter a consequential business, so we must instill early on a respect for those who came before and paved the way.”

Remembering and honoring the fallen is expected of every Special Warfare Training Wing trainee from the moment he or she enters the pipeline to the day they earn their beret, a journey which can take over two years for some.

On the day of combat control, special reconnaissance and special tactics officer Class 23-001’s graduation, members of the class stood in formation in front of family and friends as they recited the name of every fallen Airman from their lineage since World War II before performing a set of memorial push-ups, a time-honored tradition to remember the fallen in the AFSPECWAR community.

“For our CCT, SR and STO candidates, honoring and remembering the fallen is built into their lesson plans from an early stage,” said Maj. Rylan Tanner, 352nd Special Warfare Training Squadron director of operations. “Respect for those who came before and made the ultimate sacrifice instills a heightened sense of realism into their training, reminding them that in war, consequences can be forever.”

Since the start of the Global War on Terror after September 11, 2001, the AFSPECWAR community has suffered some of the heaviest losses in the entire Air Force, in both combat and training. For the AFSPECWAR community, the cost of doing business can be measured by the names and faces that adorn the facilities where SWTW trainees conduct their daily exercises.

“The wing was built on the foundation and legacy of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Colunga said. “We must continue saying their names and telling their stories, so our future operators understand the scope of sacrifice required to sustain the freedoms we hold so dear.”

To read three stories of AFSPECWAR heroes, visit our heritage page.

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