TACP apprentice course relocated to JBSA
By Airman First Class Justine Rho, 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 23, 2015
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The first 342nd Training Squadron Tactical Air Control Party three-level apprentice course begins April 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
"On Aug. 1, 2015, the 342nd TRS Detachment 3 TACP school house at Hulburt Field Air Force Base, will be inactivated; which will end a historical 37 year chapter in Florida," said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Nugent 342nd TRS TACP school commandant. "A new TACP chapter begins here at JBSA."
Nugent continues be explaining the reasoning behind the relocation of the apprentice course.
In 2012, a site survey was conducted at JBSA-Lackland as the potential relocation site for the schoolhouse, the commandant explained. The search began because of production constraints due to the lack of adequate facilities and range crowding at Hurlburt Field AFB. In Feb. 2013, U.S. Air Force Headquarters authorized Air Education and Training Command HQ to proceed with the relocation.
Master Sgt. Francis Lott, TACP prep course chief, describes the levels of training TACP Airmen must accomplish prior to attending the apprentice course.
After USAF Basic Military Training, TACP Airmen begin the battle program designed to prepare them for the physical ability and stamina test, said Lott. If the standards are met, the Airmen will proceed to the TACP prep course. The prep course prepares the students for the physical and academic rigors of the three-level apprentice course.
Knowing the career field basics, the Airmen will then be tested of their knowledge and professionalism during the apprentice course field training exercises.
"At the beginning levels of TACP training, instructors act more as mentors to the Airmen," said Staff Sgt. Michael Burns, TACP level-three instructor. "Once the Airmen enter the third block of training, they are expected to execute missions in a high stress and higher operations tempo environment. During field training exercises, Airmen will act as a joint terminal attack controller."
During the apprentice course, Airmen will learn various skill sets appropriate to execute the TACP mission. The training includes portable radio and satellite communications, combat field skills, day and night vehicle navigation, conducting mission planning during close air support scenarios, or being able to utilize targeting programs.
"The training will not change because the environment has changed," Nugent explained. "Minor adjustments to the field training were made because of the terrain differences, however the standards will remain the same. TACP Airmen are expected to operate in any environment."
Some of the benefits of having the course moved to JBSA include having more space to train, more housing options and having remodeled offices and classrooms, said Nugent.
"If the Airmen graduate the TACP prep course on a Friday, they can immediately begin the level-three course that following Monday," said Lott. "The course relocation cuts down on costs and transition time."
The TACP commandant attributes the successful relocation due to the dedication and support from TACP leadership and instructors, AETC staff and JBSA partners.
"Everyone's professionalism and support has truly helped us get off the ground and begin building the next generation of TACP Airmen for our Air Force," said Nugent.