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    It takes heart. Is it in you?

    It takes heart. Is it in you?

    Photo By Capt. Alicia Lacy | A Tactical Air Control Party, TACP, candidate completes a four mile ruck march as...... read more read more

    ELLINGTON FIELD JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas – Sweat poured down his face.

    One candidate, with a unfaltering air of determination, 50 pounds of gear on his back and armed with an M4 rifle, lumbered to the finish, completing one of the final assessments that qualifies him to be able to attend the Tactical Air Control Party Indoctrination Course at Lackland Air Force Base, and eventually the TACP Apprentice Course or “TACP Schoolhouse” at Hulbert Field, Florida.

    “The strong shall stand, the weak will fall by the wayside” is not only a motto among TACP members, but also a way of life for them.

    Physical fitness is vital for these battlefield airmen, so to even be considered to enter the TACP training pipeline, candidates’ resolve, physical ability and endurance are all tested.

    And for five candidates, they learned what that was all about during TACP tryouts May 3, 2014, when members of the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, gauged the grit and fortitude of the five who accepted the challenge to determine if they had what it takes to be eligible to join the ranks of these elite, combat airmen.

    “We are not necessarily looking for the guy in front of a ruck or the guy with [a] 100 on [his] PT test, we are looking for the guy that keeps on going,” said a technical sergeant with the squadron.

    To qualify, candidates were required to pass a Physical Ability Stamina Test, or PAST, and a Combat Endurance Readiness Test, or CERT.

    The five-part PAST test includes completing a mile and a half run in 10 minutes and 47 seconds or less, a minimum of six pull ups in one minute, 48 sit ups in two minutes, 40 push ups in two minutes and a four-mile ruck march in 60 minutes. 

    Those are the PAST minimums and after being briefed to the candidates they are told,

    “That is the last time we’ll talk about minimums…if you’re interested in meeting the minimum, this probably isn’t for you,” said a lieutenant colonel with the squadron. 

    Upon completion of the PAST test and ruck march, candidates start the CERT, a series of “evaluation events” that tests the candidates’ ability to perform when placed in stressful situations.

    “The words ‘I quit’ are not an option on the battlefield,” the technical sergeant said. “Within a training environment, we test the member’s ability to continue the task no matter how difficult.”

    “We have to make sure these men will not quit on themselves or their teammates,” he added.

    TACPs are members of the Air Force, but are often assigned with Army infantry or other special operations units, providing close air support and expertise on how to best use combat air assets to put bombs on target.

    For this reason, it is imperative for TACPs to be in top physical condition to maintain the high operational tempo of the units themselves.

    “Physical fitness is very important within the job,” he said. “A TACP has to be ready for the worst-case scenario in combat – the more fit you are, the more you can handle.”

    The 147th ASOS is a Texas Air National Guard unit. For more information on the squadron or being a TACP at Ellington Field, call 832-632-1387 or 800-864-6264.



    Date Taken: 05.04.2014
    Date Posted: 10.07.2014 12:46
    Story ID: 144500
    Location: HOUSTON, TX, US 

    Web Views: 1,864
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