After certification of the ALZ construction by an Air Force special tactics
squadron, the engineers were airlifted by C-17 and C-130 aircraft to Castle Airport, a former Strategic Air Command base located just south of Merced, California.
Air Force special tactics
units expect to increase their ranks during the next several years, despite difficulties in recruiting and retaining seasoned operators.
An Army SOF publication later summarized that on the ground, the unconventional warfare campaign in Afghanistan was directed by a very small number of specialists: about one hundred thirty Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations soldiers "and a handful of Air Force special tactics
[combat] controllers." Although the fighting in Afghanistan ebbed and flowed for more than a decade, accompanied by changing U.S./allied objectives and attitudes, the November 12, 2001, air strike near Bagram and the subsequent capture of Kabul provided an important early success in Operation Enduring Freedom and encouraged many Americans, friendly Afghans, and allied partners for some months regarding the longer-term prospects in Afghanistan.
(23) These teams include Army Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) teams; Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) platoons; Marine special operations teams, Air Force special tactics
teams; and operational aviation detachments.
Mark McGill, from Air Force Special Tactics
. "My job is putting bombs on target," he said.