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Old 07-22-2011, 19:49   #1
ZachMiller
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TACP Knowledge. Anyone?

I am a 17 year student enlisted in the United States Air Force. I know almost everything there is for me to know about TACP, I have been to Romad's website and I just couldn't really dig up what I was looking for. What I want to know is how hard is TACP training? This is coming from a very athletic cross country runner who takes the PAST in 4 days and will have zero problem completing that. I'm guessing it's difficult but I would like to know really how tough it is and what skills will I majorly acquire? I know I will be a master land navigator and whatnot, but what else? Because I want to know if I should try and go to Ranger School after TACP training if it isn't as hard as I thought. I want to learn things such as CQC combat with Hand to Hand and I do live in the middle of the woods so what I do for fun is shoot guns but I'd still like to become a very quick shooter and have excellent reflexes. Does TACP stress this much on their soldiers? Or should I consider maybe try taking additional training to improve those skills? My main goal is to fly fight and win, but I also want to be one tough son of a ***** to kill. If anyone could help I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you men and women,

Trainee Zach Miller (I have not gone to basic yet..4 more months)
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:06   #2
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Zach

Your main weapon will be your communications gear. If you are using your personal weapon or in HTH things are really ********d up. Your initial job will be working with you JTAC or ALO to get the aircraft into the proper position, get the target identified and get the bomb on target. Later, when you become a JTAC, you will be the one directing the aircraft to get the bombs on the bad guys and keep the good guys safe. Physical fitness is a must as you don't want the Army guys you are working with to be able to diss you for being an AF wienie. In addition to being in good (or better) physical condition you will need to be very familiar and comfortable with the M-4 and the M-9, able to keep your vehicle properly maintained and running, an expert at land nav, and when the JTAC or ALO sticks out his hand, be able to give him the radio handset with the radio on the correct frequency, correct COMSEC properly keyed, and perhaps even initial contact with the incoming strike flight accomplished.

Most 1C4s serve with regular, line Army units. Those that serve with Ranger or SF units have had some experience previously. If you want to start out high speed, try and get assigned to the ASOS at Ft Bragg supporting the 82nd. that way you will definitely get to jump school. If you can't get to the 82nd and don't mind humping a ruck, weapon, plus all your required commo gear, might consider Ft Drum (10th Mountain Division), or Ft Campbell (101st Air Assault)

Up until 2002, the 1C4 and ALO community were frequently looked at as a backwater for the AF. However, now, not only the Army, but the rest of the AF have a very high regard for this career field of Battlefield Airmen.

Good luck, keep a good attitude and listen and learn. The 1C4s I worked with were some of the most motivated and resourceful Airmen I ever worked with.
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Old 07-23-2011, 23:29   #3
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Thank you very much for your response. I have been waiting and this helps me out a lot. What I was told is that there are times when becoming a JTAC and more than likely with a Ranger for SF unit, you will come across multiple firefights. I am very comfortable with small arms rifles such as the M-4. But I do have another question for you. Say after TACP training, I heard rumors of them allowing extra training of some sorts. I would be interested in Ranger school because I heard it was offered. But would taking any of that extra training help me in getting in a Ranger or SF unit by any chances? Or how does that work? Also, could you explain more to me on how to possibly get into the ASOS at Ft Bragg? I would greatly appreciate it as you definitely know much more than I do.

Thank you for your time sir,

Zach Miller
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:10   #4
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Every class of 1C4 Tech Training is different and requirements change. School slots are based on the needs of the Air Force. Sometimes, there are opportunities for additional schools straight out of Tech School or they may be a prerequisite for a particular assignment such as jump school to go to the 14th ASOS with the 82nd. Additionally, once you get to a squadron, there are training opportunities that come down such as Air Assault School, Air Force Survival School, even saw a SCUBA School slot once. The more schooling you get the more valuable you become to the AF and all of that counts when trying to get into a high speed unit. There are two key elements to getting the training that is available in addition to Tech School--ATTITUDE and CLASS STANDING. These two things will stand you in good stead whatever course you find yourself on. The AF does not want to send the guy that barely graduated from Tech School to the separate Airborne Brigade in Vincenza, Italy.

In Tech School, become a sponge for all the information your instructors are putting out. Ask relevent questions, master every task that is taught. Study hard and do as well as you possibly can on the tests. Keep a good attitude and "bloom where you are planted." Stay away from anything that even resembles or comes close to drugs. When you are allowed to legally drink, do so only in moderation and never drive after more than one drink. Nothing will ruin a career faster than drugs or an alcohol related incident. Watch your money and don't get into too much debt. It is hard to send the guy off to the 6+ weeks of Ranger School if he is the guy that isn't responsible enough to make his car payment on time--yes, the First Sergeant, Ops Superintendent, and Sq Commander know about all those things

In my career, I was assigned to nine different locations in a total of 12 different assignments/moves (was assigned to a couple of places twice), not to mention TDY/deployment to well more than a dozen different overseas locations (enough time to get credit for another overseas assignment). Each one had good things (even if it was just the learning experience of how much Khartum, Sudan s*****). Only twice in that time, did I get what was originally my first choice assignment. The key to a good assignment is the people you are with, how much you learn, and grow in the assignment. Be confident in your abilities, but not bragging about it. The motto for the 22nd Infantry Regiment spells it out--"DEEDS NOT WORDS."

Good luck as you enter my Air Force--and I still stand by the old motto of "Our mission is to FLY, FIGHT, and WIN. Don't ever forget it."
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:27   #5
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AF Odin

I extremely appreciate your time and answers sir. This is exactly what information I was looking for. It's for the people like you that inspire me, that I will give it my all, and will be at the top. I will never let a fellow Airmen down and I will take all your advice and do the best that anyone could do.

To me, it sounds like there's a lot of options, and if you do good at Tech School, those options become a huge reality. So I will do my best and even if I don't get exactly what I wanted the first try I will try later on in my career. I will continue to take as many training's and schools as possible while I can as well.

Thank you very much sir,

Zach Miller
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Old 07-24-2011, 18:37   #6
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Also if anyone has anything to add I would greatly appreciate all the feedback i could get. I got a lot from AF-Odin but I'm sure there is much more to learn. I really would like to get into a high speed unit but I'm not entirely sure if there's much I can do about that other than keep my **** together. If anyone has anymore advice please post!

Thanks,

Zach Miller
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Old 07-26-2011, 21:43   #7
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Well I'm TACP PAST Certified. Next Step is basic...counting the days down!
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Old 07-30-2011, 20:41   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachMiller View Post
Also if anyone has anything to add I would greatly appreciate all the feedback i could get. I got a lot from AF-Odin but I'm sure there is much more to learn. I really would like to get into a high speed unit but I'm not entirely sure if there's much I can do about that other than keep my **** together. If anyone has anymore advice please post!

Thanks,

Zach Miller
It will not happen overnight or in a few weeks. BE PATENT ! It will take commitment and it could take several years. You are young and have a lot of time to gain experience, use that time. it will come. Remember most troops in the high speed SF units age range in the late 20's after years of experience. The other classes like Ranger etc will come. Most folks assigned there had to EARN it.
Good Luck
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:17   #9
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Zach,

Falcon 33 here.

Start here: www.romad.com . It's our board for the career field.

But let's start at the beginning. Brother Odin gave you some spot on pointers. Best I can add is that go in with an open mind and a shut mouth. Absorb. Get good at your foundation. Know your (stuff) at the basic level before you try for the HSLD part. You are first and foremost a radio operator. Make sure your radio and commo gear skill sets are solid. Get good EPRs. Keep a positive attitude. Then start for the follow-on schools. You may be a physically fit SOB but if you can't hump a heavy ruck or keep your head on square when in a hot environment, you will not work out.

The career field has come a long way from pre-9/11. I enjoyed my time, even if ANG. But should I go back, I would have done a better job at hanging with my radio repair tech because being well versed in commo means a better ROMAD in the field.

Get a few years under your belt. Get your basics solid. Then go forward for the cool stuff. Every "special operator" started at the bottom.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:53   #10
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Not a TACP, I was Security Forces, but i've known quite a few of them.


Remember, a lot of it is mental. You can be in the best shape but if mentally you give up? All over. Seen it.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:48   #11
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Thank you for your responses men! I agree with all of you. I do agree that it has a lot to do mentally, but as Morris said, if I can't hold my own in the heat, I'm no use to them, I am a very small guy. 5'10" 150lbs. About 5% body fat. That's tiny, but I will make sure I do my part. I will gain a lot of muscle I believe in the next year, as of now my max bench press is about 185lbs and i'm hoping to raise that a lot so I can compete with Special Operatives over the world.

Also, I agree with you guys on the fact that I need to start a foundation for myself, make that foundation wide before I make it tall. I will do my best at BMT and at TACP School, but I have been thinking and think I will do my best to get my basic knowledge down as a TACP and get that job up to 110% before I move onto more high speed training.

If any of you men have any other suggestions, I'm begging you to post them, I honestly want to make myself the best I can be, and if it weren't for you fine people, I may have already been trying to go too far too fast.

Thanks,

Zach Miller
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Old 08-01-2011, 14:25   #12
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But basically what most of you guys have told me is to build up as much knowledge as I can on the actual TACP job, then when I'm a master land nav. and an expert in my radio comms. then let the opportunities start filling in the empty spaces? I know this could take several years, but I just really want to make sure I make the best decisions for myself and the best way for me to do that is learn from others. Please keep posting!

Thanks,

Zach Miller

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Old 08-01-2011, 18:56   #13
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This is long term, not shake and bake. Build the foundation first.
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Old 08-01-2011, 20:09   #14
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Yes sir, I understand exactly what you mean! I will make sure I build my foundation very wide and strong before I start on the advancement process. Thank you.

Please keep the posts coming!

Thanks,

Zach Miller
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Old 08-01-2011, 20:29   #15
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Zach,

Here's are two links to Air Force Times articles about the field: AETC aims to lower war-zone job washouts and Course introduces airmen to the battlefield.

I've never served with a TACP or anything remotely similar, but one of my close friends served as one for over eight years who basically said the same things about the field that has already been covered. For what little I have to add to the discussion you'll be able to earn quite a few of the Army's "merit badges" like the ones you've asked about. You should have a better than average chance of attending Ranger School as well since many of the slots aren't being filled do to the large number of otherwise eligible soldiers who are deployed. Here's an article about that: Ranger School throws doors open to airmen. My friend had a JTAC in his unit who also graduated from both the Army's sniper and SCUBA schools. Also, if you ever have the desire to become an officer the Air Force has recently started a career ALO program for non-rated officers, i.e., the non-zipper suited sun-god types, that will allow you to continue in this field making a much better salary. Here's an article about it: Push for ALO career field gets new vigor.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:19   #16
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Wow I greatly appreciate the post MDLibertarian, I'm very glad to know that those options are still there even though it may take some years. I will still build my foundation and absorb all the knowledge I can, but if an opportunity arrises then i might have to atleast go for it. Thank you sir,

I'm going to read some of those articles.

Thanks,

Zach Miller
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Old 08-02-2011, 16:44   #17
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Also, Would anyone be able to clear up the fog on a Special Tactics Officer? I'm going to start researching that but it looks like TACP has the lowest wash out rate at 44% and I don't really want to prolong my career as just a TACP for 18years, I definitely want to do TACP for multiple years. Especially if I get into a Ranger of SF unit. But maybe when it starts to get passed 15years I wanted to know if Special Tactics Officer is a job worth looking into for a later career.

I might be sounding dumb right now because I'm not sure what a Special Tactics Officer does but if anyone could give me some pointers on it and anything else TACP related please post. I know I'm definitely not the only guy in the world curious about TACP.

Thanks again,

Zach Miller
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Old 08-02-2011, 18:27   #18
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Frankly, you need to pose these questions over at www.romad.com . You will get career folks, school house instructors and the like. Fair warning: come in quiet, ask smart questions and keep it positive.
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Old 08-02-2011, 20:59   #19
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One of my best friends is a TACP, he completed one tour in Afghanistan and is going back in February. It is not an easy job he does, good luck.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:17   #20
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Alright thankyou guys! I will probably open up a thread over at Romad's website now since I have a pretty good knowledge of everything and won't be a total moron when asking questions. Thanks again for everything men! If there's anything else feel free to ask! I will remain to look at this thread for new posts!

Thanks,

Zach Miller
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:04   #21
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Zach, We all understand your motivation and that is good. As far as your size that dosn't matter it's how much hart you have. But you really need to just SLOW down. You will have to chip away at things and a large majority of getting into schools etc depends on somebody else deciding on picking YOU to get the slot. Don't try to get to much on your plate at once, no one can do it all. And stay focased on your end goal not jumping around from TACP to Combat Control to whatever. The latter has one of the highest washout rates. Not to discourage you but know what you are getting into, be patient and LET IT HAPPEN.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-03-2011, 14:56   #22
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Thankyou sir! I do appreciate what you're telling me! The only reason I'm saying all these things is to get as much info as possible. But in the long run what I want to do is just be a TACP and become a JTAC in a SF unit or something. That's the long term plan. But I will do as you guys say and earn my way there and build my foundation! Thank you guys very much! It's been more help than any of you could imagine!

Anything else? Keep posting!

Thanks again,

Zach Miller
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Old 08-03-2011, 15:10   #23
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The TACP career field is positively evolving overall, a great deal of that in part to the GWOT and combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to that, the career field was predominately misunderstood, sometimes misused and at one point, threatened to have the mission be turned over to the Army. Calmer heads prevailed and what you have today a valuable asset for GFCs. TACCS are not exclusively SpecOps and some young ones come into the field with stars in their eyes and Hollywood visions. I'm not saying that it describes you but it does describe many who go for stuff like this. You could be assigned with a "lowly" combat brigade or moving with a HSLD SF unit.

The key to doing well in the field is to absorb everything, stay out of the cocky camp, exploit the position to get you what you want while still getting the mission done. The changes to include non-rated ALOs is damn encouraging, especially for smart young guys with college degrees who want to be officers. On a funny but applicable note, the CCAF degree you could (and should get) is actually one of the more applicable ones for the civilian world, in my opinion. A regret of mine was not exploiting that.

I wish you the best. Do well in BMT, get your things lines up and press on to what could very well be a successful career, even in a draw down type environment.

When you get done at Hurlburt, come back here and let us know how it went.
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Old 08-04-2011, 14:35   #24
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Will do sir, I just want to assure you that those are not reasons for me joining. I was asked why Air Force? Well, I wanted to be recognized for something I did. That was the basic answer I had for them, I chose TACP, why they asked. I said to save lives that need it most. The difference between the first and second answer are entirely different. i still want to be recognized, but I know damn well that TACP isn't a common thing people look up to. No one knows about it. If I wanted to be recognized I would have joined like the Army Rangers or something. But I wanted to be the guy at the end of the day can think about his day knowing he did something that another man is thankful for. I will definitely remain posting in this thread and start a new one in the following year to let you guys know how everything went. But whether or not I'm put into a "lower" squadron with little to none combat, who is to say that they don't need me there? I just really want to be in a HSLD SF unit. I'm willing to give more heart and soul than any other. I do know that. But thank you Morris. You have been a true Airmen by my side when I needed one. I will take in everything you said and bring it with me. Just like I'm going to do when I get to basic and Hurlburt. i will absorb everything they tell me.

Thanks,

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Old 08-04-2011, 20:32   #25
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You go to basic in 4 months.

Do you have a guaranteed (in writing) job as a TACP?

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