Gourley - General of Writing, or Should he Wave the White Flag?Scott Gourley's article "Air Force Special Ops" encompasses the roll of someone in the Air Force Special Operations Command, the training they face, and the weapons they use. Gourley uses military terms and descriptions to iterate his focus points. The Air Force Special Operations Unit (AFSOU) has been operating since the times of World War II as the covert operations squad for the United States Air Force. They work alongside units of other branches of the military such as the Navy's SEALs and Marines' Force Recon. It is a time consuming process to become associated with any special tactics unit, and those up to the challenge face months of training.
Gourley is a writer for an everyday magazine called Popular Mechanics, and despite the article's military wording, he explains acronyms and definitions in layman's terms - for example, the explanation of SOFLAM with its proper name "Special Operations Forces Laser Marker" (Gourley 2).
This fits into his style that is consistent with other works in the same magazine. The content itself displays the basis of AFSOU and how "there are 19 AFSOC Special Tactic units, called 'flights'" (3) that all work together in missions. As described by Gourley, to become part of one of these "flights" one must endure "more than 18 months of grueling work" (8).
Following an organizational pattern, the author then goes on to discuss the equipment used by these teams. Gourley elaborates on guns such as the M9 9mm pistol, ground vehicles that include the Rescue All Terrain Transport, and transport aircraft like the AC-130H. He briefly describes how a Special Tactics (ST) team might use these sorts of amenities. Gourley lastly touches on the roll that these men, "no women are permitted in ST units" (8), have played in the ongoing war continuing his style of descriptions and military terms.
The following article, entitled "Air Force Special Ops" by Scott Gourley, is brief but detailed look into how AFSOC works, what it takes to be a part of it, and what the members of these teams use to effectively complete their missions. He tells us of the Remington 870, 12 gauge shotgun, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), MC-130E Combat Talon aircraft, and Zodiac F470 combat coat. These advanced weapons and many more make up some of the most powerful equipment used by any part of the United States Armed Services. They are handled in particularly by one group. This division carries small and large arms and uses many land and air vehicles to get work done. They have been operating in Afghanistan since 2001, two years before the war started, and are still top players in the war today. They are the Air Force Special Operations Command or AFSOC.
As a new member of the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) program, I found this article to be compelling and right up my alley. Gourley uses many military terms and acronyms that are hard to understand for many, but he gives the meanings and descriptions to the words immediately following them. He also discusses many topics that are relative to what I am looking to do, which peaks my interest in this article even more. Gourley speaks to first-hand sources like Captain Mike Martin, a commander of a particular Special Tactics Group (STG), to ensure the accuracy of his article's content. With his descriptions, Gourley also applies concise summary sentences that transition well in the story. He quotes that "the job of AFSOC operators is to quickly turn a patch of hostile terrain into a fully functional airfield" (1), and then goes on to talk about how exactly the men of this elite unit do it. According to Gourley, "training takes more than 18 months of grueling work" (8) in order to learn the needed skills for becoming an STG member.
Gourley's effective transitions and writing style allow the reader to truly learn from his content. Many military experts could tell someone about an AC-130U and all its complicated functions, but Gourley makes it easy to understand. When talking about this AC-130U "Spooky" aircraft, he expands an explanation which states "with a sobering array of direct-fire weapons protruding from their [AC-130U's] left side, the gunships circle a target area, delivering overwhelming amounts of fire with television-targeted and computer-guided accuracy" (19). His showing words allow one to not only see what this airplane might look like but what it can do as well. This is just one of the many examples of Gourley's descriptive and informative tactics for expanding on guns, vehicle, and other assets used by soldiers of the AFSOC.
Gourley's main idea that the "AFSOC will undoubtedly emerge as a pivotal reason for the United States' success," and " the extraordinary men, distinguished by both their skill and their attitude, are the backbone of this unique force" (21) is supported in full by his article. His use of effective transitions, avid descriptions, and compelling style make this story have an expressed point that is easy to read and hard to put down.
Work CitedGourley, Scott. "Air Force Special Ops." Popular Mechanics Apr. 2002: n.p. Academic Search Complete. EBSCOhost. Tarrant County Coll. Lib., Ft. Worth. 6 Mar. 2009