Combat search and rescue training with the Tactical air control party
By Senior Airman John Gordinier, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 02, 2006
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 682nd Air Support Operations Squadron acted as aircraft crash survivors during combat search and rescue training April 20 with the 74th Fighter Squadron from Pope Air Force Base, N.C.
The tactical air control party's typical job is to advise, assist and control, said Staff Sgt. Marcus Mader, 682nd ASOS joint terminal attack controller. But during the CSAR training, controllers try to make it as realistic as possible.
"CSAR training practices authentication, signaling and the proper procedures to be rescued," Sgt. Mader said. "TACP will go to an area that allows them to split the aircrew up and make the aircraft locate each of them in different areas."
Two ways to signal to an aircraft are with smoke grenades or mirrors.
This is the second CSAR exercise the 682nd ASOS has performed, said Airman 1st Class Jonathon Hughes, 682nd ASOS fighter duty technician. "The A-10 pilots were so impressed with the job that we did in the other sessions that they now want to make this a monthly training event." Assisting in CSAR efforts is one of the many duties controllers have.
"The controller's purpose is to advise the ground commander of what capabilities we bring to the fight as an Air Force in general," Sgt. Mader said. “We control the assets that show up to ensure the enemy is taken care of and our allies are not harmed." "Controllers supervise and conduct mission planning and coordination of combat air resources," said Senior Airman Travis Daigle, 682nd ASOS fighter duty technician. "They also recommend use of combat air resources to support mission requirements, tactics, air support assets, and ordnance capabilities and limitations."
"Controllers also provide close air support for Army units and operate the air support operations center that coordinates aircraft to other TACP controllers," Airman Hughes said.
Because of the long hours some might ask, why would anyone want to be a TACP controller?
Airman Daigle wanted to be a controller because he believes that it is a great mission. Airman 1st Class Salim Dabone, 682nd ASOS fighter duty technician, found a Web site that was devoted to the TACP career, and by looking at the pictures and the job description, he found it interesting and enticing.
The controllers are proud of the job and service that they do.
"I like being a TACP controller," Airman Dabone said. "It makes me feel like I am making a difference for once in my life.