Invaluable training for Idaho TACPs
By Senior Airman Mercedee Wilds, 124th Fighter Wing
/ Published June 18, 2019
FORT IRWIN, Ca. --
It’s a brutal 104 degrees before noon, and an Idaho Air National Guard tactical air control party Airman stands under netting for protection from the scorching sun, watching for the opposing force and listening for the buzz of a rattle snake. He is surrounded by joint terminal attack controllers from the Brazilian Air Force and Soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Combat Brigade Team, Idaho Army National Guard, preparing and planning for their next move. It’s been two long weeks since anyone has had a shower or an actual bed to sleep in, but the training mission at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, must go on.
During the 116th Cavs' rotation at the NTC – running 24-hour operations May 24 through June 20, 2019 – the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron TACPs were able to embed and practice calling in close air support from the 190th Fighter Squadron’s A-10 Thunderbolt IIs for the Soldiers on the ground.
NTC is deep in the Mojave Desert and has dozens of simulated villages, firing ranges and rough terrain, preparing the U.S. military for future deployments.
The large-scale exercises gave members of the 124th ASOS the opportunity to work with thousands of Soldiers, and dozens of their international JTAC counterparts as they experienced the confusion, chaos and fog of war, and were still able to accomplish the mission at hand.
The training that the Idaho National Guard Soldiers and Airmen received at NTC was invaluable and impossible to replicate back at their home station in Boise, Idaho.