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Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP)

USAF Tactical Air Control Parties are teams of 2 or more Tactical Air Command and Control specialists (1C4X1) assigned to conventional Army units as well as Special Operations Forces. Tactical Air Controllers frequently deploy alongside Army Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, and special mission units, Delta Force and DEVGRU.

TACP Roles

The primary role of the TACP is to advise, assist and control the use of close air support assets.

As a Forward Air Controller (FAC), the TACP calls in close air support in the form of bombs, missiles, rockets and strafing fire from attack aircraft, sometimes in close proximity to friendly ground units. The FAC role is carried by enlisted airmen with the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) certification. JTACs can also call in artillery fire from both land and naval forces..

TACPs also pass on their expertise to other units and advise ground commanders on the use of air power. This role is usually carried out by an Air Liaison Officer (ALO). ALOs are typically qualified USAF aviators.

17th Special Tactics Squadron

TACPs are assigned to the various Special Tactics Squadrons within Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

In October 2008, the 17th Air Support Operations Squadron (17th ASOS) became part of AFSOC's 720th Special Tactics Group (24th Special Operations Wing).

In August 2013, the squadron was redesignated as the 17th Special Tactics Squadron (17th STS).

The 17th STS is AFSOC's only dedicated TACP squadron and is made up of around 60 Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and support staff.

JTACs with the 17th STS deploy with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Since 2011, the 17th STS has Operating Locations (OLs) aligned soley with the 75th Ranger Regiment, having previously also had OLs with the active duty Special Forces Groups (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 10th).

The 17th STS has several Operatiing Locations (OL):

  • HQ element, based at Fort Benning, Georgia, supporting the 3/75th Ranger Battalion, the RSTB
  • OL-E, based at Fort Lewis, Washington, supporting the 2/75th Ranger Battalion
  • OL-A, based at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, supporting the 1/75th Ranger Battalion

17th STS JTAC Training

JTAC training includes:
  • Army Airborne (mandatory)
  • Army Ranger School
  • Static-line Jumpmaster
  • Army Pathfinder Course
  • Military Free-fall (MFF)
  • Naval Gunfire
  • Advanced Targeting/CDE
  • FRIES/SPIES
  • Advanced marksmanship training
  • Advanced medical training
  • Advanced mountaineering
  • MFF Jumpmaster
  • Advanced driving training
  • SUAS training (BATMAV, Raven, Puma)
  • Combatives
  • ATV/LTATV

17th STS JTAC Selection & Assessment

  • JTAC (SEI 914)
  • Volunteer For Parachutist Duty
  • Physically Fit/Financially Stable
  • Current Class III Flight Physical
  • Four-Year Controlled Tour
  • Eligible For Top Secret Clearance
  • Pass Phase 1 and Phase 2 of AFSOC Assessment
  • PT test (Go / No Go)
    • Pull-ups/chin-ups: min 8 / max 16 or better
    • Sit-ups: min 60 / max 100 or better
    • Pushups: min 45 / max 85 or better
    • 3 mile run: min 24 min / max 20 min or better
    • Water confidence test
    • Ruckmarch
  • Field Skills
  • IQ / Psychological testing
  • Teambuilding Events
  • Psychological interview
  • Formal board

17th ASOS Air Liaison Officer (ALO) Training

  • Army Airborne (Static-line Parachutist)
  • JFC / ALO QC
  • SOTACC (or a JTAC QC course)
  • Ranger Assessment & Selection Program (RASP2)
  • Other training events as available

17th STS ALO Selection & Assessment

  • AFSOC ALO Assessment (Hurlburt Field, FL)
    • PT test (NOTE: perform to your best - even if its above max) (Go / No Go)
    • Pull-ups/chin-ups: min 8 / max 16
    • Sit-ups: min 60 / max 100
    • Pushups: min 45 / max 85
    • 3 mile run: min 24 min / max 20 min
    • 6 mile ruck w/ 55 lb backpack: < 2 hrs
    • Water confidence event
    • IQ / Psychological testing
    • Psychological interview
    • Formal board
  • 3 week Ranger Assessment & Selection Program (Ft Benning, GA)
    • Army PT test: (Go / No Go)
    • Push-ups, Sit-ups, 2 mile run: 80% or better in each event -- for your age category
    • Chin-ups: minimum of 6
    • 5 mile run: < 40 minutes (Go / No Go)
    • 12 mile ruck w/ 35 lb backpack: < 3 hrs (Go / No Go)
    • Ranger History Test / Ranger Standards Test: > 80% on both (Go / No Go)
    • Formal board
    • Skills taught in course:
      • Fast rope, combatives, tactical M9/M4 shooting, live shoothouse, combat-oriented 1st aid, FTX, basic radio skills, mult briefings, water confidence event, different PT routines, etc

17th ASOS TACP Video

video by US Army 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) | released to public domain

17th ASOS TACP Photo

17th ASOS
An airman with the 17th Air Support Operations Squadron peers through the scope of his M4A1 carbine.
US DoD Photo

USAF TACP Resources


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