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Tactical Air Control Party Airmen support air expeditionary wing operations from afar

by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/26/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Though they live and operate in a geographically-separated location, Airmen of the 82nd Expeditionary Air Operations Support Squadron are a crucial part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.

The 82nd EAOSS is composed of tactical air control party and battlefield weather Airmen, who provide close air support and weather support in theater.

TACPs plan, request and direct air strikes against enemy targets in close proximity to friendly forces. Battlefield weather provides air and ground forces commanders with timely, accurate meteorological information.

When the TACPs pulled out of Iraq, they were established in another area of Southwest Asia, but "because of our mission -- controlling aircraft (close air support) -- we were aligned with the 380th AEW," said Lt. Col. Douglas Hamlin, 82nd EAOSS commander.

The 380th AEW operates the Air Force's only joint, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, tanker, fighter and airborne command and control wing.

The squadron's first responsibility is to call in the close air support and provide weather support needed by forces on the ground in theater, Hamlin said. However, they are also focused on building their skills and fostering host nation relationships.

"As a ready force, they train on a daily basis with host nation and U.S. (Air Forces Central) assets to maintain their proficiency in theater, something they can't get on the other side of the world," Hamlin said. "They are able to maintain peak proficiency by employing their skills with host nation and AFCENT resources at the same time."

Hamlin said he's happy with the job his Airmen are doing to represent the 380th AEW and being able to provide a ready force of TACP in theater.

"Because of the number of assets we can call on a moment's notice -- the Army, the Air Force and host nation assets -- they're doing an outstanding job performing in this broad spectrum of training," he said.

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