Tactical Air Control Party – AF Special Warfare

Tactical Air Control Party

What is TACP?
“Death on Call”

‘Precision Strike’
Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) brings the Air Force firepower to the ground forces. Most often embedded with Army infantry, TACP’s are the Joint Fires Experts (aircraft, artillery, mortars, naval gunfire), dropping ‘warheads on foreheads.’ Utilizing advanced radio skills and knowledge of aircraft ordinance, TACPs are considered one of the most valuable members of any combat team. Air Force TACP integrate seamlessly with conventional (and occasionally SOF) teammates, regularly training together as a seamless joint unit. Often burdened with the responsibility of calling in precise ‘Danger Close‘ airstrikes, TACPs are highly trained, highly regarded and always respected throughout the entire DoD, providing the pivotal difference between success and defeat in battle. They find, fix, track, target, and engage enemy forces in close proximity to friendly forces.
Skills include:

  • Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)
  • Static Line Parachutist
  • Operator of data links, radio comms, cyber comms and GPS
  • All-Domain Command & Control Specialist
  • Small unit tactics and close quarters combat
  • Integrates air, space, cyber power into the ground environment


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Official Air Force TACP Description and Responsibilities

Tactical Air Control Party communicates with aircraft, ground units and command & control (C2) using line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight radios. Operates dismounted, vehicle mounted and command post voice and digital communications systems day and night secure and antijam. Operates precision, navigation and timing equipment. Operates laser target designators and target acquisition equipment and thermal and short wave infrared devices. Operates imaging and infrared devices. Operates computer equipment on army and air force C2 networks. Operates full motion video receivers from aircraft targeting pods and remotely piloted aircraft. Performs field expedient maintenance.

Operates vehicles day and night, in convoys and in tactical and non-tactical conditions. While vehicle mounted, reacts to direct and indirect fires, and improvised explosives. Performs defensives driving actions, evacuates injured personnel from vehicles, and performs egress and roll-over conditions. Performs field expedient maintenance.

Conducts air/ground infiltration, surface movement, and air/ground exfiltration with ground maneuver forces. Able to extract map data including lat/long, geographic coordinate systems, map symbols. Use global positioning devices in secure and non-secure modes. Performs personnel equipment accountability. Performs react to contact, break contact, ambushes, indirect fire, and movement techniques small unit tactics; constructs deliberate fighting positions; and prepares deployed sites. Performs mounted and dismounted navigation in all environments day and night. Provides self-aid and buddy care; conducts one and two-person carries; completes Mechanism of Injury, Injury, Signs and Symptoms, and Treatment (MIST) Report; creates Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation Requests; establishes communications with MEDEVAC aircraft; establishes helicopter landing zone marking and security

Controls close air support (CAS) as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) in direct ground combat. Targets and controls surface-to-surface, air-to-surface-fires and cyber power. Plans, coordinates and executes fire missions to accomplish supported commander’s objectives, includes CAS and supporting arms for surface elements, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) in support of Combined Forces Air Component Commander’s assets. Employs visual, electronic and marking equipment to direct aviation assets to target. Issues weapons release clearance.

Develops joint fires support plans in the course of the targeting cycle to integrate lethal and nonlethal effects during deliberate and dynamic targeting. Participates in target product development, weaponeering, collateral damage estimation. Provides assessment of munitions effectiveness, battle damage, and provides reattack recommendations. Advises US Army, joint, multinational and special operations ground force commanders for the integration of air, space, and cyber power. Plans, requests, coordinates, and integrates preplanned and immediate air support. Integrates combat airspace for the employment of air component assets operating in land component assigned airspace. Advises and educates ground commanders on all aspects of air, space, and cyber power and integration of air, space, and cyber assets with ground combat forces.

The TACP Training Pipeline

Unit Locations

Conventional Active Duty

  • Fort Bliss, (El Paso) TX (7th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS)
  • Fort Hood, (Killeen) TX (9th ASOS)
  • Fort Riley, (Junction City) KS (10th ASOS)
  • Fort Hood, (Killeen) TX (11th ASOS)
  • Fort Carson, (Colorado Springs) CO (13th ASOS)
  • Fort Hood, (Killeen) TX (712th ASOS)
  • Pope AFB, (Fayetteville) NC (14th ASOS)
  • Fort Stewart, (Hinesville) GA (15th ASOS)
  • Fort Campbell, (Oak Grove) KY (19th ASOS)
  • Fort Drum, (Watertown) NY (20th ASOS)
  • Fort Polk, (Leesville) LA (20th ASOS, Det 1)
  • Pope AFB, (Fayetteville) NC (682nd ASOS)
  • Vilseck, Germany (2nd ASOS)
  • Schweinfurt, Germany (2nd ASOS, Det 1)
  • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, (Anchorage) AK (3rd ASOS)
  • Joint Base Lewis McChord, (Tacoma) WA (5th ASOS)
  • Wheeler Army Airfield, (Honolulu) HI (25th ASOS)

SOF Active Duty (requires SOF assessment)

  • Pope AFB, (Fayetteville) NC (21st Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tacoma) WA (22nd Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Hurlburt Field, (Ft. Walton Beach) FL (23rd Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Pope AFB, (Fayetteville) NC (724th Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Cannon AFB, (Clovis) NM (26th Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, JP (320th Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Mildenhall AB, England (321st Special Tactics Squadron)
  • Fort Benning, (Columbus) GA (17th Special Tactics Squadron)

Conventional Air National Guard

  • Terre Haute ANG Base, IN (113th ASOS)
  • New London AFG Base, (Badin) NC (118th ASOS)
  • Air Station Fort Indiantown Gap, PA (148th ASOS)
  • Savannah ANG Base, (Garden City) GA (165th ASOS)
  • Peoria ANG Base, IL (168th/169th ASOS)
  • Atlantic City ANG Base, NJ (227th ASOS)
  • Key Field, (Meridian) MS (238 ASOS)
  • Hancock Field ANG Base, (Syracuse) NY (274th ASOS)
  • Camp Murray, (Tacoma) WA (111th/116th ASOS)
  • New Orleans Lakefront Airport, LA (122nd ASOS)
  • Gowen Field ANG Base, (Boise) ID (124th ASOS)
  • Will Rogers ANG Base, (Oklahoma City) OK (146th ASOS)
  • Ellington Field, (Webster), TX (147th ASOS)
  • Salina ANG Detachment (Salina), KS (284th ASOS)

Check out the Active Duty vs Reserve Component page for more in-depth information on the different types of Squadrons.

For more information on Tactical Air Control Party, check out the AFSPECWAR Forums

Want to sign up as a TACP? Find out how HERE