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JTAC trainees collaborate with aircrew for FTX
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Burrell, 14th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller trainee, from Pope Army Air Field, N.C., communicates with aircrew during a field training exercise at Creswell, N.C., Nov. 15, 2012. The FTX occurred in a simulated wartime environment, demanding trainees to accurately coordinate with F-15E Strike Eagle aircrews from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to destroy various targets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Nieves Camacho/Released)
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JTAC trainees collaborate with aircrew for FTX

Posted 11/21/2012   Updated 11/21/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class John Nieves Camacho
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/21/2012 - CRESWELL, N.C. -- Trudging over rocky terrain, navigating through dense woodlands and tackling highly stressful situations is just another day on the job for joint terminal attack controller trainees; however, they had the chance to train with F-15E Strike Eagle aircrews during a field training exercise here, Nov. 15.

JTACs act as air support liaisons between ground forces and aircrew members.

"Participating in local training exercises with JTACs provides crucial training for both aircrew and ground parties," said Maj. Thomas Moore, 335th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. "It ensures that the United States combat capabilities are honed and sharpened when the time calls. In layman's terms, this is our scrimmage to make sure we succeed on game day."

JTACs support service members on the ground in overseas contingency operations ensuring that someone high above the sky has their backs in life and death situations.

"As JTACs we provide final guidance for aircrew when they release their munitions," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Gutowski, 682nd Air Support Operations Squadron JTAC trainee, from Pope Army Air Field, N.C. "We are the eyes and ears on the ground for the pilots and weapon systems officers."

The FTX placed the trainees in a simulated wartime environment, demanding them to accurately and efficiently coordinate with aircrew to destroy various targets.

"Training is important because this is an extremely dangerous job," Gutowski said. "We are dropping 2,000 pound bombs, if you mess up one tiny thing you can have civilian casualties."

To ensure a realistic experience, F-15E Strike Eagles and aircrews from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., provided support during the exercise.

"It's a great opportunity to get out here and actually do the job as opposed to doing it on a simulator," Gutowski added.

Prior to the field training exercise, the trainees must pass through five simulated missions and a JTAC qualification course exam.

"(The training) is extremely stressful," Gutowski said. "The instructors throw a lot at you because they want you to be task-saturated and be able to multi-task."



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