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AFSOC proudly bestows the title of Air


Commando to its members, but what does it mean to be an Air Commando? How are we “made,” and what makes us so special? The last two Quadrennial Defense Reviews’ (QDRs) have emphasized growing SOF-like capabili- ties in the general purpose forces (GPF). Plus an increasing percentage of AFSOC accessions come straight from the Air Force’s initial entry pipeline. Therefore, these questions are draw- ing considerably more attention in recent years. While the SOF Truths remind us that we can- not mass produce special operations forces1


,


AFSOC is in the process of absorbing 60% growth since 20052


. With these factors pulling


on the command’s core identity, we must iden- tify and, more importantly, instill the essence of being an Air Commando into the next genera- tion to assume that mantle. In 2006, AFSOC published the 13 Critical


Attributes to capture some keys to SOF success3


.


While these characteristics are useful traits to encourage, they don’t quite sum up the nature of SOF that sets us apart from the GPF. Others point to specialized tools and training that make the difference. Again, I would argue these are critical foundations but only the beginning of building an effective Air Commando. Through numerous discussions with AFSOC squadron commanders and other SOF leaders, I would emphasize a couple significant distinctions: atti- tude and inherent joint mindedness4


. The attitude to which I refer is one of con-


fidence and dedication to the mission. It has nothing to do with career field and everything to do with getting the job done, no matter what it takes. Rather than look at a difficult mission task and list reasons why it cannot be accom- plished, an Air Commando will seek out ways in which it can.


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