By Andrew Patterson, 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 21, 2019
Capt. Daniel Hill, 6th Combat Training Squadron, Detachment 2 incoming commander, addresses the audience during the activation and assumption of command ceremony for the formal training unit at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex, Texas, Sept. 17, 2019. (Courtesy photo)
The Tactical Air Control Party Formal Training Unit officially activated during a ceremony at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland's Medina Annex Oct. 17.
The TACP FTU will synchronize, standardize and streamline training to ensure readiness of TACP maneuver and command and control force multipliers in order to meet the needs of the Air Force, joint force and coalition partners.
Air Force TACP specialists embed with Army and Marine units on the front line and are responsible for directing air and artillery strikes from forward ground locations. These highly trained experts go through intense physical, mental and technical training in order to withstand the demanding conditions of battle and provide their team with the firepower they need for continued success on the battlefield.
“It is evident that as the battlefield changes and our adversaries increase their capabilities, so must the TACP,” said Capt. Daniel R. Hill, 6th Combat Training Squadron, Detachment 2 commander. “The activation of this unit will increase readiness and lethality of the Air Force special warfare TACP and optimize advanced skills training and education to ensure a full-spectrum, high-end and fully qualified focused force ready to meet combatant commanders’ requirements.”
The new training unit will streamline training and foster unity and standardization throughout the TACP career field, increasing readiness and lethality of Air Force Special Warfare TACP Airmen. The demand for fully qualified personnel is increasing with the current combat environment and the demands of the future will require an increased level of qualification and proficiency.
The FTU achieves the future capability faster by reducing the training timeline from 18 months to 21 weeks. Operator production increases from 220 partially qualified to 270 fully qualified operators annually.
The unit will optimize training through a single source that relieves operational units of initial qualification training, allowing for a significant savings in time and funding that can be reapportioned for combat readiness and Airman proficiency.
“Ultimately, this stand-up is going to produce lethal and more survivable joint terminal attack controllers by the end of it for combatant commanders to make their decisions and be able to utilize in the future,” said Lt. Col. James R. Kappes, 6th CTS operations officer.
This activation is critical to standardize advanced skills and mission qualification training of the TACPs to ensure a full-spectrum capable, high-end focused force. The future training construct will put all training and qualification at the front end to deliver fully qualified TACP Airmen ready to employ to meet combatant commander requirements.