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Intense new ASOS program mentors future JTAC

GOWEN FIELD, Boise, Idaho -- The high-demand, select cadre of Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTAC) from the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) are investing heavily in the next generation of controllers by training candidates for their positions even before these candidates attend their first technical schools. The National Guard Bureau mandated "One-Level Program" directs all Air National Guard Air Support Operations Squadrons to prepare young airmen to pass the physical and academic standards at the rigorous Tactical Air Command and Control (TACC) apprentice program at Hurlbert Field, FL.

The TACC applicants benefit from a low student-to-instructor ratio. All 124ASOS mentors are Terminal Attack Control certified instructors. Days in the four-day course usually run over 16 hours of training. The 124th recently completed training its second group of candidates. "Our students have to accomplish dozens of tasks before they are allowed to attend the (TACC) school in Florida," said SMSgt Travis Weitzel, Instructor/Evaluator JTAC, 124ASOS.

The new program's purpose is to allow ASOS units throughout the ANG to ensure the readiness of aspiring Terminal Air Control Party members and send them with a high likelihood of completing the demanding apprentice program. SMSgt Weitzel points out that the active-duty Air Force does not have a similar program as many basic training graduates don't have the opportunity to identify with their units before technical training.

"When we send a student to Hurlbert, he's representing the Idaho Air National Guard," Weitzel said.