CASPER: Ghosting the competition

U.S. Air Force Col. Sean Finnan, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot, performs low-altitude maneuvers over the coastlines of Greece, May 8. The low-altitude training in Greece was part of the Stolen Cerberus X joint training exercise and provided the 37th AS the opportunity to fly much lower than they are allowed to in Germany, allowing CASPER Airmen to further train their skillsets. These new training opportunities paired with strengthening ties with the Hellenic armed forces makes Stolen Cerberus a crucial annual learning experience for its participants. Photos by Senior Airman Andrew Bertain

In a world where flexibility and adaptability are paramount to the success of the mission, the Cross Functional Airlift Support Personnel program introduces an elite team of Airmen to get the job done.

The CASPER program builds on the Agile Combat Employment and Multi-Capable Airmen concepts, ensuring any wing mission can still deploy successfully with minimal personnel and resources.

Airmen selected for CASPER undergo a six-month, self-paced training course covering various Air Force Specialty Codes such as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, aeromedical evacuation basics, loadmaster basics, drop zone certification, port operations, and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft egress. After completing their training, the Airmen are evaluated to become CASPER certified.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Emile Giguere, a member of the Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel program from Ramstein Air Base, communicates with aircraft via radio at the Megara Drop Zone, Greece, May 9, as part of the Stolen Cerberus X joint training exercise. The exercise simulated emergency water and land air drops and gave the CASPER Airmen opportunities to exercise skillsets outside their career fields during the joint training with Hellenic forces. 

CASPER primarily collaborates with the 37th Airlift Squadron, 86th Operations Support Squadron, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, and 1st Combat Communications Squadron to ensure mission success.

“We primarily work with these groups to support contingency locations and airlift operations,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Emile Giguere, the Ramstein ACE-MCA program manager. “ACE combines proactive and reactive maneuver strategies to increase survivability and combat effectiveness while maintaining a small logistical footprint.”

While CASPER Airmen are trained on these special tasks that may be beyond their normal primary duties, they are still expected to perform their job.

“CASPER is not full time, your primary job comes first,” said Giguere. “At least 30 days out of a year you’re going to be dealing with training or missions.”

CASPER is only open to Airmen in the ranks of E-5 through E-8 and O-1 through O-3, and they must score 90 or above on their physical fitness test.

“We need continuously ready Airmen,” said Giguere. “In the event of a real-world threat, it is essential to have Airmen who have multi-capable abilities and can support smaller contingency locations. CASPER ensures they are capable of executing a proper response, including the potential of securing airlift operations with limited manpower and equipment.”

The CASPER program has only 20 members right now, but the program managers’ goal is for a team of 50 active members.

For additional information about joining the program, please contact the ACE-MCA office at +49 6371-47-1247 or at DSN 314-480-1247.