A female United States Air Force captain who quit special forces training three times but was reinstated admitted in an April memo that her treatment appeared unfair.
The female captain, who has been named in an anonymous letter posted online as Captain Morgan Mosby, had passed the physical fitness test needed to graduate from the special warfare assessment and selection course in January 2021.
But when she left for Combat Control School in North Carolina – the most challenging part of a years-long training that entails air traffic control, parachute and dive training – the captain reportedly learned that the physical training standards had been lowered.
‘I believe the change in standards invalidated me with a majority of my team,’ she wrote in an April 2021 memo obtained by Air Force Times.
‘One [instructor] cadre member had a conversation with a student and said the cadre “rioted” when they found out the PT test was changing back to lesser standards.
‘Perhaps all of this timing was coincidental, but looks highly suspicious with my arrival on campus.’
She noted that her prospective teammates knew the standard for a deadlift was 300 pounds, but she just lifted 250 pounds and still passed. Had she been held to the previous standards, the Air Force Times reported, she would have failed.
Now, she is expected to return to Fort Bragg in North Carolina for another try at the special forces in April, after senior leaders at Hulburt Field in Florida allegedly counseled her to stick with the program.
Most trainees are not offered another shot at the special forces training, but it remains unclear if officers can retry the course or if this is an exception to the rules.
Mosby had quit the grueling training multiple times, according to the letter posted on social media, only to be reinstated by the leadership of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and the 24th Special Operations Wing.
She quit twice in water confidence sessions and once during land navigation training, the letter claims, and soon, she ‘became known for quitting and getting preferential treatment.’
Gen. Jim Slife, however, has repeatedly denied that Mosby received any special treatment, claiming the standards are changed on a regular basis.
Gen. Jim Slife (pictured) has denied that the standards were changed for Mosby’s benefit
The training to be a special tactics airmen is grueling, with about 70 to 80 percent of candidates dropping out each year
When she took the test in March, the change to the standards was so recent that her scores were still marked as a failure on electronic records, since the grading database had not yet been updated.
‘Since I passed, they believe the standards had been bent for me,’ she wrote.
Eventually, the Air Force Times reported, Mosby chalked it up to poor communication, saying any changes to the requirement should be ‘widely disseminated and provided with time to train.
‘If a person can meet the standard of a job, they should be allowed to do the job,’ she wrote, noting that multiple students told her instructors were ‘preparing their warships’ and did not want her to graduate.
‘Had I chosen to continue, I would be responsible for leading these men,’ she wrote in the memo. ‘Any bias that is created and supported by people in positions of authority [the cadre] would make it difficult for me to lead them.’
She did not say that any instructor had advised her to quit.
But the revelations come after Mosby was accused in an anonymous letter posted on Instagram of being allowed to repeatedly quit then rejoin the training ‘pipeline’ and was offered an ‘unheard of’ special assignment in one of the military’s most elite units in the hope of encouraging her to keep going.
Special tactics airmen, under 24th Special Operations Wing, make up the service’s ground combat forces and embed with SEALs, Army Rangers and Marine Raiders to help call in airstrikes, provide medical care and recover wounded and slain personnel.
The training is as tough as it gets with the two-year combat controller training pipeline historically seeing between 70 and 80 percent of candidates drop out.
Personnel are on hand to the technical and physical standards as other special operators such as Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs.
They also receive extensive training in the form of air traffic control and combat medicine in order for them to be capable of controlling a crowded airspace, call airstrikes and evacuate wounded troops from deep behind enemy lines.
Mosby is among only a handful of women who have attempted to earn a commando’s beret since the Air Force opened the field to female airmen in 2016. None have succeeded, the Air Force Times reported.
The Special Tactics trainees learn how to evacuate wounded troops from deep behind enemy lines, call airstrikes and control a crowded airspace
Mosby reportedly quit the training twice in water confidence sessions. Air Force special tactics students are seen here swimming the length of the pool with their hands and feet bound during a class before a scuba training in 2016
‘She quit during various points of her training, and yet all accounts were “brushed under the rug” since she was closely looked at, and her status monitored by Congress and AFSOC leadership (O-6 and above) on a weekly basis,’ the anonymous letter claims.
It says she once quit during a pool session, but was still given the chance to finish and was once ‘allowed to attend a special offering of a more relaxed version of the Pre-Dive course.’
The captain then quit again, or rather ‘self-eliminated’ as the story on social media describes, during a solo land navigation event.
Normally, when a trainee ‘self-eliminates,’ their attempt to join special forces is over, the Air Force Times reports.
In 2019, four airmen who quit the Combat Control School were ordered to be reclassified to other jobs. None were recommended for reinstatement.
However, Mosby’s form recommended she be considered to re-enter the course, according to documents obtained by the Air Force Times.
And while the other airmen’s forms suggested they transfer elsewhere, citing Air Force policy, the woman’s paperwork advised supervisors to readmit her and ‘proceed [in accordance with Special Warfare Training Wing and 24th Special Operations Wing] determination.’
As the letter says: ‘When self-elimination occurs, the student is typically returned to their previous duty assignment and either reclassified by the Air Force or given the option to separate from the military.
‘She was presented [with] very different circumstances.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Air Force for comment.
The trainees are also required to master land navigation, which Mosby quit once
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL pictured here in December, demanded answers about the allegations against Mosby, saying: ‘We cannot sacrifice training standards’
The letter has since drawn the attention of Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, who wrote on Twitter: ‘We cannot sacrifice training standards. Ever. Full stop.’
‘If this account is true, our military needs to address it now.’
He noted that ‘lots of females … contribute enormously’ to special operations missions, but they follow strict standards. Subverting them will cost lives.’
But accusations of a lowering of standards for Mosby’s benefit were quickly refuted by the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Jim Slife.
‘We can unequivocally say the standards — which are tied to mission accomplishment — have not changed,’ Slife said in a lengthy posting on Facebook. ‘However, there is a difference between standards and norms.’
Slife explained that the ‘norms’ of the training pipeline have changed in the last 15 years in order to get airmen to meet certain standards. He explained that although the standards are unchanged now, they could be altered in the future.
‘It’s easy to conflate standards and norms, because over time, the norms we establish can come to be viewed as ‘the standard,’ Slife wrote. ‘Years ago, the norm was to assess candidates via indoctrination. We learned there was a better way to assess and select candidates for special tactics training, and we migrated away from Indoc.
‘We do make changes in how we train airmen in order to improve the effectiveness of our training, but we do not lower our standards. … Period.’
Slife said that the anonymous author’s story was an example of cyber-bullying.
‘Singling out a fellow service member for public abuse is bullying and harassment, which are unacceptable deviations from both our standards, our norms and values as airmen,’ he said.
Slife refused to go into any detail about the experiences trainee Mosby may have endured in order to avoid any additional attention or pressure on her.
He also suggested that that publicly outing her was an act of bullying and harassment, and contrary to the military’s standards, norms and values.
‘Furthermore, most of what the author asserted about her experience was factually wrong or missing important context which would completely change the perception,’ Slife added.
Still, United States Secretary of the Air Force directed the service’s inspector general to begin a review of Mosby’s training on January 8.