As reported in the Air Force Times on 18 November 2019, the Air Force confirmed on 14 October 2019 that the first female airman was in the training pipeline to become a combat controller.
The enlisted combat control candidate began the eight-week special warfare preparatory course on 14 October 2019 and, if she graduates, she will move on to the assessment and selection course.
A female candidate intended to enter special warfare training earlier in 2019 to become a combat controller, but she was reclassified into a different career field shortly before she was to begin the prep course, and never entered the training wing’s pipeline.
There was also another female airman who was seeking to become a pararescueman, but was not in training at the time of reporting in November 2019. She is the second woman to attempt to enter pararescue.
Common reasons for someone not being in training include:
- A medical hold;
- An administrative hold; or
- Waiting for a training class to begin.
The US Air Force states there is no specific timeline as to when they will see their first woman serving as a special warfare airman in one of the seven combat-related career fields opened for women in 2016, as from start to finish, it may take up to two years for a woman to join an operational unit because of the Air Force’s natural timeline to recruit, access, select and train.
As of November 2019, eleven (11) enlisted women have so far attempted special warfare training, but none have made it through.
Seven of those candidates sought to become tactical air control party (TACP) airmen. The last female TACP candidate who was the ninth enlisted candidate overall entered the special warfare prep course 18 March 2019.
Another enlisted woman the eighth candidate overall, earlier in 2019 became the first to try to become a special operations weather airman (now special reconnaissance) and completed the special warfare prep course.
Unfortunately, both of those recent candidates where reclassified into other Air Force positions.
Losey, S. (2019) First Female Airman Enters the Training Pipeline to be a Combat Controller. Air Force Times. 18 November 2019, p.9.