Reading the Sayeret Shaldag/IAF airstrike thread on here and happening to have come across a video of USAF 'PJ' indoctrination last night got me thinking of various nations SOFs air component and the specialist units various Airforces maintain, and how they might be deployed.
Many threads and much thought and interest seems to be dedicated to unconventional warfare in the Army or Naval fields but there is little insight into Airforce special operations.
I'd always thought that Airforce special operations were confined to air transport of other SOF - such as modified C130/helicopter squadrons with the equipment and training to penetrate enemy air defences to insert and extract SOF teams in the enemy's rear echelons. In this way, Air Force Special Operations seemed to be open only to aircrew and I'd imagined that if any airman wished to serve in Special Operations 'on foot' and not as an insertion/extraction hercybird/helo crewman, he would have to apply to be released to Army SOF for a term, seeing as 'Air Forces don't have ground units'.
Doing a bit of research however, in the American model it seems there is a career field known as 'Special Tactics' comprising Combat Controllers and Pararescue Jumpers. The roles here being to sieze and operate enemy airfields, and to carry out combat search & rescue of downed aircrew or other lost personnel. Would this be an accurate description or is there something I have missed?
If we could have discussion on the nature of air force special operations and the forces that undertake them, rather than 'my special operations unit could beat up your special operations unit anyday', that'd also be appreciated... ;)