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Gung ho! TACPs conduct training with Whiteman aircraft

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force Capt. Brandon Pinto, a tactical air control party member from the 18th Air Support Operations Group rides in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to a designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. TACPs from various units trained with several aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., including UH-60s, T-38 Talons, A-10 Warthogs and B-2 Spirits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; freefall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

A Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk from the 1-135th Assault Helicopter Battalion participate in a joint training mission with U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members from various units in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. The TACPs coordinated with several aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., including UH-60s, T-38 Talons, A-10 Warthogs and B-2 Spirits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members ride in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to their designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. The TACPs free fall jumped to the drop zone and began training with several aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members ride in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to their designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. While embedded with the U.S. Army, TACPs provide Air Force assistance and expertise in planning and controlling combat air resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; freefall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members ride in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to their designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. While embedded with the U.S. Army, TACPs provide Air Force assistance and expertise in planning and controlling combat air resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members ride in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to their designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. While embedded with the U.S. Army, TACPs provide Air Force assistance and expertise in planning and controlling combat air resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; freefall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members ride in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to their designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. While embedded with the U.S. Army, TACPs provide Air Force assistance and expertise in planning and controlling combat air resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force tactical air control party members ride in a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk before jumping to their designated drop zone during a training exercise in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. While embedded with the U.S. Army, TACPs provide Air Force assistance and expertise in planning and controlling combat air resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeff Leahy, a tactical air control party member from the 18th Air Support Operations Group free fall jumps from a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk during a training mission in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. The TACPs free fall jumped to their designated drop zone and began training with several aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; freefall; UH-60; 18th ASOG
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U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeff Leahy, a tactical air control party member from the 18th Air Support Operations Group free fall jumps from a Missouri Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk during a training mission in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. The TACPs freefall jumped to their designated drop zone and began training with several aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

TACP; tactical air control party; JTAC; joint terminal attack controller; Whiteman; free fall; UH-60; 18th ASOG
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U.S. Air Force Capt. Brandon Pinto (left), and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeff Leahy (right), both tactical air control party members from the 18th Air Support Operations Group communicate with aircraft during a training mission in Clinton, Mo., May 17, 2018. The TACPs free fall jumped to their designated drop zone and began training with several aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- They are a pilot’s eyes and ears on the ground.

They are TACP, or tactical air control party. These Airmen are often embedded with the U.S. Army but communicate with personnel from all branches of the armed forces, which includes calling in airstrikes and helping coordinate air support missions with pilots.

About 20 TACPs from installations around the country, such as Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Bliss, Texas; Moody AFB, Georgia; and Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, spent a week training at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri with B-2s, A-10s, UH-60s and T-38s, as well as supporting agencies. Training was conducted in the area surrounding Whiteman AFB that simulated battlefields and enemy targets.

The TACPs primary responsibilities are to deploy to battlefield forward areas and support other branch units; coordinate air and field artillery fire support; and provide Air Force expertise that is essential to joint combat operations.

This type of joint training at Whiteman is unique due to the diverse weapon systems based at this instillation that make up Team Whiteman. Additionally, the 509th Bomb Wing is the first in Air Force Global Strike Command to formally commit to future training with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing as part of the implementation of close air support and joint terminal attack controller integration for a multi-domain fight. A handful of these joint operations at Whiteman first started a year and a half ago and will continue being conducted several times a year.