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AETC’s chief learning officer visits SWTW, observes human performance training

  • Published
  • By 1st Lieutenant Xiaofan Liu
  • Special Warfare Training Wing

Members of the Special Warfare Training Wing welcome Dr. Wendy Walsh, Air Education and Training Command chief learning officer, for an immersion tour at the SWTW at Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex April 4-5, 2022.

The visit showcased how members of the SWTW leverage various learning techniques and human performance technology to ensure that operators graduating from the SWTW are prepared to solve the nation’s most complex problems under high-pressure situations in austere environments. 

“My visit to the Special Warfare Training Wing was inspiring and enlightening,” said Walsh. “The instructors have designed a learning environment to ensure the lessons taught are understood to create a strong foundation.”

The training that takes place at the SWTW is unique in that it must reflect the needs of operational job performance, which requires AFSPECWAR operators to perform under extreme physical and mental stress in dangerous environments that are often changeable. Such distinctive training dictates that AFSPECWAR training situations present more levels of ambiguity, hazards, and unpredictability than typical technical training. The success of this training is owed to SWTW instructors, many of whom have extensive combat experience from the Global War on Terror.

“SWTW instructors must be skilled in developing learners in realistic training environments, and therefore must have keen situational awareness,” said Dr. Karal Garcia, Special Warfare Training Group training advisor. “They must use that situational awareness, paired with good judgement to make appropriate instructional decisions about pedagogy and risk management within the curricular framework. Part of that good judgement is understanding how people learn and which instructional practices to use to facilitate learning.”

Walsh also participated in an interactive tour of the SWTW’s interim Human Performance Training Center, spearheaded by the Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group members. Walsh learned more about how members integrate research, technology, strength and conditioning, performance nutrition, physical and occupational therapy and psychology to allow synergy of efforts in every aspect of a student’s health, promoting a holistic well-being.

“When constructed, the Human Performance Training Center will revolutionize training for future Air Force Special Warfare operators,” said Walsh. “In the wing’s current facility, they have integrated cutting-edge technology and elite human performance professionals in one location. Having seen the training that candidates undergo and the support systems in place for them, it’s clear we are holistically developing the Airmen we need from the beginning of their careers to establish a culture of continuous learning and development.”

 Members of SWTW provide initial training for all U.S. Air Force Special Warfare training specialties, to include, combat controllers, pararescue, special reconnaissance and tactical air control party Airmen.

To learn more about SW Airmen or other U.S. Air Force Special Warfare career opportunities, go to: