"I am a tested volunteer seeking only to safeguard the honor and prestige of my country, by serving the elite Special Operations Soldiers of the United States."
160th SOAR(Abn) Application, Assessment and Selection Process
Since our inception, the 160th SOAR(Abn) has filled its ranks with "tested volunteers." This means that all Warrant Officers must apply and assess for service in the 160th. This application process begins when you submit your packet and ends when you report for duty. The following is a general overview of the process:
Complete 160th SOAR(Abn) application and attach letters of reference. This process generally takes a month to complete.
The 160th SOAR(Abn) Assessment Branch reviews all applications. Following approval, they will contact you and schedule your week-long assessment. This review and scheduling process generally takes 2-3 months.
Assessment is a week-long* TDY to Fort Campbell, KY, and consists of the following:
- Night Stalker Physical Fitness Test: Modified APFT
- MOS related testing
- IQ, personality and cultural fit testing
- Psychologist screening and interview
- Aviators will conduct a flight evaluation to include a Time-on-Target (TOT) mission
- Formal Board interview resulting in an accept or decline decision
*Duration is 2-3 days for non-aviation positions
Report to the Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion (SOATB)
Accepted Warrant Officer will:
- Return to complete current tour.
- Assessment Branch will coordinate assignment with ARSOF G1, and losing unit and Branch.
- Receive PCS to FTCKY or TDY en-route depending on anticipated assignment following training and qualification.
- Report to the Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion (SOATB) at Fort Campbell, KY for Combat Skills, SERE, Dunker and select MOS specific qualification training.
- Aviators must successfully complete Basic Skills, Aircraft Qualification, and Basic Mission Qualification training.
- Report to gaining unit following successful completion of training.
Initial Special Operations Aviation Training (Green Platoon)
All aviation and non-aviation warrant officers will attend one or more qualification programs of instruction prior to reporting to their gaining unit. This training will be conducted by the Special Operations Aviation Battalion at Ft. Campbell, KY. The type of training and duration varies by MOS. The following is a sample of the main programs:
Officer Combat Skills
All Warrant Officers will attend the 3-week Officer Combat Skills Course. This is the "First Step" to becoming a Night Stalker. This course includes:
- Night Stalker Academics
- Advanced Weapons
- First Responder Medical
- Land Navigation
- Aquatics (Dunker) Training
Basic Skills (Flight Rated)
Aviators will attend the Basic Skills Course. This is a 4-week course and is the foundation for aviation mission planning, briefing, and precision navigation. You and your class will be trained in special operations aviation mission planning and air mission briefing. You will be required to plan and brief a series of special operations missions and execute NVG navigational routes in the MH-6 Little Bird.
Aircraft Qualification Training (Flight Rated)
Aviators will receive aircraft qualification training in the MH-60, MH-47 or AH/MH-6 aircraft.
Basic Mission Qualification Training (Flight Rated)
Basic Mission Qualification training is the foundation for all special operations mission pilots. Training is conducted at Ft. Campbell and at various environmental locations. Duration of this training is 15-17 weeks, and includes:
- Special Mission Equipment
- Special Operations Flight Profiles and Procedures
- Aerial gunnery
- Mountain, Desert, Urban, Overwater and Ship qualification
- MH-60/MH-47 qualify in aerial refueling and multi-mode radar
- End of course Basic Mission Qualification (BMQ) evaluation
Non-aviation Warrant Officers
Following completion of officer combat skills you will attend dunker training and any additional required training prior to release for operational duty.
160th SOAR(Abn) Aviation Mission Qualification Progression
The 160th SOAR(Abn) incorporates a unique aviator progression and flight qualification program. This program is essential to the successful execution and completion of special operations missions and to providing Special Operations Ground Forces with the highest level of support. Regardless of previous aviation experience and qualifications, all aviators must complete the program requirements. The program has three tiers:
Basic Mission Qualified (BMQ)
BMQ status is attained by successfully completing the SOATB BMQ course and a BMQ flight evaluation. As a BMQ, you may perform PC/PI duties during internal training support. When paired with an FMQ, you may perform PI duties during real-world and external mission support. As a BMQ, you will learn, develop, and progress to FMQ status by participation in internal training exercises, external SOF mission support, planning cells, and a variety of environmental flight profiles.
Fully Mission Qualified (FMQ)
FMQ status is attained by successfully completing the unit's FMQ progression program and an FMQ evaluation. As an FMQ, you may perform duties as a pilot in command for all internal, external, and real-world missions.
Flight Lead Qualified (FLQ)
Flight Leads are appointed based on past performance, experience, and successful completion of a Flight Lead evaluation exercise. As a Flight Lead, you will conduct mission analysis and develop air mission COAs, fire support plans, and contingencies with the Ground Force Commander. You will back-brief the commander and AMC and present the AMB/OPORD. As the flight leader and primary navigator, you are responsible for the execution of the air mission to include preplanned first-level contingencies.
Warrant Officer Career Management
Career management is critical to our recruitment and retention of Warrant Officers within the Special Operations Aviation Command. Every Warrant Officer in the command is highly trained with a unique skill set and knowledge base tailored for the special operations community. The command has a long-term retention strategy for all flight and support Warrant Officer positions. Talent management is a key strategy for the preservation of leadership, tactical and institutional knowledge, and our day-to-day operational capability.
Career stability and longevity as a Night Stalker means opportunity for advancement within the Regiment. Service opportunities include:
- Special Projects Officer
- Developmental Test Pilots
- SOATB Flight Instructor
- Company/Battalion/Regiment: Senior Warrant Officer
- Standardization Instructor Pilot
- Safety Officer
- Aviation Mission Survivability Officer
- Maintenance Officer
The goal is for each Night Stalker to maximize their military education. In addition to attending required Army professional development and leadership courses, you may have the opportunity to attend advanced military schools or those schools within a sister service that will enhance your capability.
The programs of instruction offered by the Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion may translate as credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate's degree through the American Council on Education (ACE).
Based on your MOS and duty position, you may have the opportunity to attend civilian/military schools and training that offer professional credentialing and certification opportunities.
Promotion opportunities are regularly available, but are competitive and based on performance. It is important to point out that special operations training, qualification courses, and opportunities can lead to valuable credentialing, a college degree, and experience that will be helpful in the advancement of your career.
Beyond the traditional leadership responsibilities of a Warrant Officer, you may have the opportunity to lead specialized missions, teams, and groups. These types of leadership responsibilities are critical and a regular occurrence within the special operations aviation community. We rely on those Warrant Officers placed in charge of these types of missions to use their leadership skills, training, knowledge, and intellect to complete their team's assignment.