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NEWS | Dec. 17, 2014

AFSOC looks for in-service candidates

By Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

An Air Force Special Operations Command in-service  recruiter visited Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Dec. 9, to meet and talk to potential special operations candidates.

Technical Sgt. Ismael Villegas, a combat controller who is a two-time Silver Star recipient, answered questions to more than 20 JB Charleston Airmen and Cadets from the Citadel, all interested in becoming combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weather specialists or special tactics officers. 

"My purpose for today's visit is to put a face to the career field," Villegas said. "I'm here to answer any questions or concerns about the career these Airmen are interested in to include what the job entails, the journey to become one of these special operations Airmen, and about family life."

Some of the Airmen and Cadets who attended the meeting participated in a practice Physical Ability and Stamina Test, a required physical performance evaluation necessary to get into the special operations selection schools.

The PAST includes a 500-meter swim, a mile and a half run, pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups.

"Form is an important aspect of our selection process and we want to set up Airmen for success," Villegas said. "I show Airmen the proper way to perform each exercise, and then I coach their form."

Staff Sgt. Robert Gallagher, a 560th Red Horse Squadron reservist, said having a Combat Controller answer his questions and give him advice was a real advantage eye opener.

"I am currently in the process to become a Combat Controller and having Tech. Sgt. Villegas here was a true honor," Gallagher said. "He is a tremendous leader who I look up to and have learned from." 

According to Villegas, being part of the AFSOC is a humbling experience.

"My shelf life is expiring," Villegas said. "I'm getting too old and I have to find Airmen who will someday fill my shoes.

"The Air Force has done a fine job grooming and molding Airmen to become great leaders so we look for people amongst our service to join Air Force Special Operations Command."