CCT and JTAC certifications

I've scoured the internet to include this site and have found mixed answers regarding the role of CCT attaining a JTAC qualification. I've heard that because things have "slowed down", CCT's were moving back to their doctrinal mission of Remote or Austere Airfield Survey / Seizure, alleviating the number of JTAC qualified CCT's. But then I've also heard that with all the changes happening within AFSPECWAR, that AFSOC is pushing to have all CCT's become JTAC qualified. Does anyone know the truth behind any of this?
 

Yukon

Moderator
Staff member
Operator
The Joint Tactical Air Control (JTAC) is a certified skill qualification that evolved from the Enlisted Tactical Air Control (ETAC) qualification that came into being 1985-1990 as the Radio Operator Maintenance and Driver (ROMAD) enlisted specialty reengineered and changed into the enlisted TACP specialty. It is something CCT came into doing due to this specialty evolving from supporting the Army and Air Force Airlift to focusing on supporting primarily Army Special operations forces.

Complicating the explanation is the radio operator/maintenance duty positions (became ROMAD Specialty in 1977) on the combat control teams from 1953 to 1977/1981 had more duty assignment positions on the combat control teams than enlisted Air Traffic Controllers (became the CCT specialty in 1981)

Concurrently along the same timeline the USMC and NATO forces began relying more and more on enlisted to direct close air support. After several fatal incidents this also drove the need to implement a joint qualification and certification standard and program.

As TACP was embedded to support the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and its Battalions, AFSOC implemented what is known as SOF-TACP without implementing a TACP specialty shred. AFSOC also used passing PJ/CCT PAST and other assessment methods for assignment acceptance to AFSOC's SOF-TACP duty positions.

It is difficult to predict specifics of what AFSOC's vison and goals are pertinent requiring all CCT to obtain and sustain JTAC qualifications as controlling CAS is a bit different than air traffic controlling aircraft in forward or areas of natural disaster into and out an airfield to include traffic control of taxiing aircraft moving about on the grounds of an airfield where ATC doesn't exist or is inoperative.

Gaining JTAC responsibilities and utilization is what kept TACP a justified and needed specialty and it has taken from 2000 to now to make it mandatory for award and retention of the TACP 5-level and 7-level and effort is proceeding to make it a 3-skill level requirement.

What is certain is the establishing of the 1Z Special Warfare Career Field is formally and officially establishing PJ, CCT, TACP, and SR as Related Air Force Specialty Codes.

In doing so PJ Indoc and selection was eliminated to establish a common Assessment and Selection (Special Warfare A&S) course to determine which specialty an individual is best suited and qualified to perform duties in. Not a bad thing other than revisionist history claiming the PJ Indoc course was a flawed course that either outlived its usefulness or was a flawed assessment course needing much improvements and other corrective actions.

Career Field—A group of closely related AFSs (or a single AFSC when there are not related specialties) requiring basically the same knowledge and skills. A career field includes subdivisions and ladders.

Career Field Ladder—A division of a career field in which closely related Air Force specialties are arranged in one or more ladders to indicate lateral functional relationships merging at the 7- or 9-skill level.

Career Field Subdivision—A division of a career field that groups closely related AFSs in one or more ladders.

Position—A manpower authorization coded with an AFSC, SDI, or RI, appearing on a manpower document with a prescribed set of duties or tasks.

Primary Air Force Specialty Code (PAFSC)—The awarded AFSC in which an individual is best qualified to perform duty. It will always be the AFSC with the highest skill level.

Qualified Air Force Specialty Code—An officer AFSC showing full qualification in the AFS. The 4th digit is always "3" and is authorized at any level.

Related Air Force Specialty Code—An AFSC similar in training, formal education, or practical experience that makes it compatible with another AFSC as defined by the career field manager.
 
Thank you for the very in depth answer, Yukon.

So I'm taking it that not all CCT's are JTAC qualified as of current and the plans to have a 100% of CCT's JTAC qualified is still unknown. I do have to say that I was unaware of the doctrinal mission of CCT up until a few weeks ago. I originally thought that all CCT's attained the JTAC qualification but having learned more about their primary mission, it sounds pretty awesome.

Thank you.
 

Yukon

Moderator
Staff member
Operator
Correct, at this time not all CCTs are JTAC qualified. At best or most only half of CCT hold and sustain JTAC qual and certification. Whether all CCTs will be required to hold JTAC qual is yet to be determined, but current rumors (emphasizing rumors) is this happening is unlikely.
 

Ovation23

Member
In doing so PJ Indoc and selection was eliminated to establish a common Assessment and Selection (Special Warfare A&S) course to determine which specialty an individual is best suited and qualified to perform duties in. Not a bad thing other than revisionist history claiming the PJ Indoc course was a flawed course that either outlived its usefulness or was a flawed assessment course needing much improvements and other corrective actions.

Out of curiosity Yukon, would you mind sharing your personal criticism(s) regarding the claims that PJ indoc was either a flawed course, or in need of improvement over the passing years? I understand you completed the course many years ago when it was certainly "different". Yes, there are plenty of PJs today who have successfully completed Indoc, but do you believe many capable and willing hopefuls fell short because of some course flaws (SIE, injury, Failure to train, etc aside)? Thanks!
 

Yukon

Moderator
Staff member
Operator
If one is to celebrate and sing ding dong the wicket witch is dead one needs to be certain the witch has met such demise. In the process of celebrating the wicket witch's demise one typically doesn't discredit and bad mouth Dorothy in the process.

My criticism is more an observation as I'm aware of some (not participating on these forums) who are discrediting and attributing too many flaws to the PJ Indoc course that exists more in their imaginations rather than knowing what happened and didn't happen and why behind the causes.

The PJ Indoc course was designed and implemented for needs of one specific specialty. Even in the days of the joint/combined CCT and PJ Indoc course its purpose remained focused on needs of the specialty having the more demanding requirements as mandatory prerequisites to enter into the specialty awarding course (The Pararescue School).

Rather than acknowledging such, some make the leap to attrition being caused by training methods and procedures flaws with assertion new A&S training methods and procedures being common to all the Special Warfare career field specialties will reduce student SIE, failure to train elimination, and medical eliminations with the new course not existing long enough to produce data to support such claims.

Changes have been Implemented to correct perceived flaws with such expected to reduce student attrition several times over the past thirty-five-forty years without delivering on such expectations, particularly during the period PJ Indoc was a Joint/Combined CCT and PJ assessment and selection course. While training technology and methods have improved during the past thirty years and A&S is investing time and money to take as much advantage as possible. It is also doing something that was never attempted before by implementing an Assessment and Selection methodology compatible to the needs of several specialties, which is why I stated such is not a bad thing.

The results in getting more students not to SIE and reducing medical eliminations as result of training encountered in the course that counts. Such data hasn't been gathered yet, but SIE and medical attrition doesn't appear to be reduced in the very few AF Special Warfare A&S classes conducted so far. Yet marketing success by some is relying on claims something designed and implemented for needs of one specific specialty was significantly broken and flawed when the actuality is it was never had design purpose and intent to be compatible to the needs of other specialities.

Regarding your specific question "do you believe many capable and willing hopefuls fell short because of some course flaws (SIE, injury, Failure to train, etc aside)?" No to many, but a very few is certainly possible. The few are insufficient in numbers to change the statistical data.
 

SW

Administrator
Staff member
Operator
Indoc "flaws"...

A&S is now taking into account desired operator attributes. Are you a team player? Are you capable of leadership? Can you be flexible and adaptable? Are you intelligent and have situational awareness?

These attributes were not necessarily "graded" at indoc. Indoc was primarily about proving you wanted to be there and had the physical and mental fortitude to survive. Indoc was generally successful in accomplishing its mission of producing selecting applicants that wanted to be an operator. Yet there were instances every now and then that a PJ would make it through because he was strong enough but was not a good fit on the teams due to various reasons (not intelligent, not a good follower or leader, screwup, etc). A&S hopes to fix that.

Additionally, indoc would have those applicants that were great (and the cadre knew it)- an awesome team player, leader, follower, etc etc. All the makings of a great PJ. But they fell short on a particular exercise (ie could only do 15 pullups and not the required 16) and thus were ultimately eliminated. Fair? Most likely not. Not to the candidate and not to the career field.

Was indoc broken? Absolutely not. There are some that would definitely say: "Why fix something that is not broken?" And they would have a valid point. But things can always be refined and A&S will hopefully (most likely) produce a better qualified candidate and ensure the career field doesn't lose those that are a good fit.

SW
 

Yukon

Moderator
Staff member
Operator
The Air Force traditionally and historically prefers measuring objective success of training, such a requiring 80% of a test questions to be answered correctly or given a skill task being able to successfully completed. It must also be realized all Air Force courses must comply with Department of the Air Force polices and other guidance. There is no wiggle room to implement subjective assessments in a course unless the Department of the Air Force supports and approves use of such assessments.

The underlying Air Force training philosophy is everybody is trainable in the time allocated provided the enlisted servicemember has the required aptitude score in one or more of the four aptitude clusters (Mechanical, Administrative, General, Electronics). During the late 1970s the Air Force removed ability to subjectively remove a person from training because they were not a good fit for various reasons of such eliminations brought with it a documented stigma of lacking mental and emotional fitness and belief such subjective assessments fostered ability to unfairly discriminate and encouraged favoritism. It must be remembered 1973 not only brought with it the all volunteer military but the opening of many military occupations closed to woman. It was also a period of many social actions programs being implemented to improve cultural and race harmony within the Air Force.

It was during this period the Air Force decided to eliminate ability of the PJ Indoctrination and Selection Course to retain or eliminate students based on subjective criteria. This is reflected in the 1977/78 rename of the Pararescue Indoctrination and Selection Course to the Pararescue Indoctrination Course. Air Force directed course purpose was to training to objective standards and not to assess and select.

This caused more reliance on using objective physical fitness testing standards which didn't bode well among the leadership of pararescue which realized fitness tests weren't by themselves suitable in identifying the adaptability, resiliency, grit, ingenuity, and ability to work well with others necessary to survive and successfully accomplish in the operational environment.

The majority of student attrition during period 1964 thru to 177/78 was voluntary self identified elimination with the remainder being for medical causals with most of these being inability to pass the initial class III and marine diver physical and failing the then required Oxygen Toxicity tolerance test in the dive chamber. Other medical causes were the development of shin splints and Chondromalacia patellae while going through the course. It is known two students were eliminated for succumbing to developing signs and symptoms of Meningitis after reporting to Indoc during this period. There are also a few who are eliminated as result of UCMJ punitive actions. Pool confidence and swimming training was the most observable cause for decision to SIE, but most SIEs happened before students got into such a pool training environment. This pattern remained consistent until about1988, not because the course became a joint combat control and pararescue course, but because recruiting efforts and media attention was encouraging civilians to enlist to specifically become a PJ or CCT. At this time elimination for medical causals increased as students were deciding it was better to be medically eliminated than to SIE.

As the internet became more and more accessible a popular culture mentality of it was all about exceeding the PAST standards took hold and grew in emphasis. A review of my post in the former Special Tactics forums constantly had comments becoming PJ or CCT was not about being strong like bull and smart like tractor or being a gym god hero, but about other abilities of adaptability resiliency and etc and having the stubbornness to not quit. During this period popular culture advised potential students to hide or not disclose preexisting medical conditions. The stubbornness to not quit proved to be fleeting for those who SIEed and the increasing attrition for medical causals reflected the increase of students arriving who didn't disclose known medical problems or used a gained during training medical ailment such as shin splints or Chondromalacia patellae as a convenience to avoid self eliminating.

The Special Warfare A&S course reintroduces subjective assessments of behavior, conduct, adaptability, and resiliency rather than objectively relying on students passing a physical fitness test and not quitting. Furthermore, during September 2o18 a bunch of retired and former PJs visited Lackland AFD and the Medina complex for official tour of the A&S facilities and given official briefing on the course. We actually observed students being trained. The comments from the group were positive with most expressing the training dollars and improved training method would have reduced many of their injuries. All were also wishing they were young men again going through the new course not because of an impression it was easier but rather there was much opportunity to learn about proper nutrition and proper ways to obtain and sustain physical fitness as a life style that wasn't in existence in the old days. All were in agreement PJ Indoc did the best it could with the money, resources the Air Fore allowed it to have and the policies and guidance governing what assessments were allowed and not allowed.
 
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