First base assignment

I was recently made aware that after graduating from the pipeline PJ's only have 4 bases they can be assigned to. I know TACPs are assigned to Army instillations but are there specific bases a new TACP graduate typically gets sent to? Or is it just dream sheet and hope you get sent where you want? I have no preference personally, asking because family keeps asking me where I think I'll get stationed
 
It is going to be the needs and manning of the units where ever they be when (if) you're fresh out of the pipeline. Don't worry about that stuff right now focus on making it through the pipeline first.
 

WR

Operator
Your statement about PJs only being able to be assigned to 4 bases is not accurate. There are multiple guard/reserve Squadrons, and there are PJs at active duty RQS’s as well as STS’s, Reference link:

https://afspecialwarfare.com/afspecwar-overview/

Check under “Conventional Force Active Duty TAC-P Units” for potential active duty TAC-P pipeline graduate potential locations. I am unaware if any of these locations is a base you would most likely be assigned to as a new TAC-P graduate. That has to do with manning requirements at each unit based on rank. From a conventional unit, a TAC-P would have to apply and assess for a position at an AFSW unit.
 
Your statement about PJs only being able to be assigned to 4 bases is not accurate. There are multiple guard/reserve Squadrons, and there are PJs at active duty RQS’s as well as STS’s, Reference link:

https://afspecialwarfare.com/afspecwar-overview/

Check under “Conventional Force Active Duty TAC-P Units” for potential active duty TAC-P pipeline graduate potential locations. I am unaware if any of these locations is a base you would most likely be assigned to as a new TAC-P graduate. That has to do with manning requirements at each unit based on rank. From a conventional unit, a TAC-P would have to apply and assess for a position at an AFSW unit.
Yes but I’ve also heard from a Pj himself that you are limited to 4 for your first assignment. After that, then you’re able to pursue other places. I believe the reason was based around training. Even though it’s quite a ways away and not an immediate concern, I do think Brandon is right?
 

Yukon

Moderator
Staff member
Operator
Comparing potential FTA assignment opportunities between different specialties isn't practical as the required occupational knowledge, skills, abilities, and other (KSAO) characteristics for each specialty differ significantly. Once all the fun common quals (static line parachuting, Combat diver, Military Freefall, basic infantry skills) are removed and the basic mission need capability purpose for the enlisted specialty existing on a unit manning document is considered each specialty has different pressures determining where the 3-level can be utilized as an operational resource and different training requirements to obtain award of 5-skill level.

The limitation of 3-level PJ assignments to four locations is 5-level upgrade and unit mission qual training is done at the first unit of assignment. This requires 5-level, 7-levels to train them and sufficient manning of 5-level/7-level to train the 3-levels, plus access to all the training locations.

TACP FTA assignments are difficult to decipher as although efforts are to make JTAC qualification and certification a 3-level requirement there is much frustrating these efforts.

Obtaining JTAC qual and certification requires directing aircraft to put live munitions on target on training ranges. These ranges are not plentiful and the aircraft sorties are difficult to schedule, and the live smart munitions used these days are expensive guidance technology compared to the minimum guidance technology munitions used prior to the 1990s. Most of the suitable ranges having sufficient distance from populated areas (noise complaint issues, environmental impact issues, unexploded ordnance on the range concerns, and accidental drop of munitions off range concerns) are located CONUS or Alaska.

It is mandatory requirement of AFSOC that AFSOC enlisted TACPs have and sustain JTAC qualification and certification (JTAC (SEI 914) that hampers, more than anything else, TACP just out of the 3-level apprentice course getting assigned to the 17th STS (supports the 17th Ranger Regiment and its Battalions) and other STSs. The conversion of TACP from 1C career field to 1Z career field isn't expected to change this FTA assignment situation and circumstances very much. As JTAC qual and cert is required for award of 5-skill level it is access to suitable ranges and qualified instructors that makes FTA assignment to be more preferable at some units than others. The greater the ability of the unit to train and qualify the more likely that unit will be a FTA assignment magnet.
 

WR

Operator
Yes but I’ve also heard from a Pj himself that you are limited to 4 for your first assignment. After that, then you’re able to pursue other places. I believe the reason was based around training. Even though it’s quite a ways away and not an immediate concern, I do think Brandon is right?
Active duty PJ's that complete the pipeline have more than 4 locations as a possibility as a first assignment. Stateside, they are being assigned to RQS locations at Davis Monthan, Moody, and Nellis. They are also being assigned to STS' at Hurlburt Field and Cannon. Locations at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Pope may also become possibilities for first assignments in the future as those units develop more capabilities. While less common, they are also being assigned at multiple overseas locations, to include bases on Okinawa, England, and Italy, in both STS and RQS slots. The issue of training members for upgrades and qualifications is certainly a driving factor in quantity of first term airmen being sent to different locations, but all these bases I mentioned have received PJs on their first post-pipeline assignment.

Additionally, Guard/Reserve PJ's that graduate the pipeline will go to their respective guard/reserve unit with which they applied for as their first assignment, not an active duty RQS/STS.

Of note, PJ's that first report to an STS will typically go to STTS at Hurlburt Field as one of their first TDY's for additional training. This includes if a PJ is on a first assignment overseas or stateside. The respective STS of which the member is assigned absorbs the cost of sending the member to STTS, which makes an overseas unit a less cost-effective initially. Also, if a non-married PJ gets a 2 year overseas tour at an STS, like 320th on Okinawa, spending the first 4+ months of it flying back to the US for training at STTS, it isn't the most ideal situation for the unit or member, which is a reason it's not as common. 23d STS at Hurlburt Field typically gets more pipeline graduate PJ's than the 320th STS.
 
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