By Tech. Sgt. Cindy Au, 159th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
ALEXANDRIA, La. – The Louisiana National Guard’s 122nd Air Support Squadron (ASOS) hosted a weekend-long recruiting event for potential Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) candidates at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, Louisiana, April 9-10.
The unit is selecting personnel to be liaisons and controllers of air assets and ground elements. “It’s a very important role that a Joint Tactical Air Control or a liaison officer performs in order to translate that strength and capability to the ground element while deployed,” said Maj. Ryan Beissinger, air liaison officer of the 122nd.
The recruiting event allowed the ASOS to show potential candidates the process and training capabilities of the unit should they be interested in joining the TACP. Throughout the weekend, the potential candidates were shown around the unit and given expectations and requirements of what it takes to be a part of the Louisiana Air National Guard’s only TACP.
The unit’s mission set is diverse and challenging. “The ASOS is divided into many operational functions to support state activations, natural disasters and overseas deployments ranging from conventional to specialized operations,” Beissinger said. “All of the personnel assigned to the unit need to have can-do attitudes that support one another and make sure the mission is a success.”
The event included a base and unit tour on Saturday and a Physical Ability Stamina Test (PAST) for Special Warfare Airmen on Sunday. The PAST consists of a 1.5 mile run, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, an underwater swim and a surface swim.
“We want to bring [the potential candidates] in and show them everything that we have to offer and inform them of everything they’re going to deal with,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Barraco, advanced recruiter of the 159th Fighter Wing. “The ideal candidate is a well-rounded person, not only physically but mentally. They have to be able to think outside the box and have a strong personality, be able to think on their feet and be smart about situations. [The candidates] have to be able to carry their weight in [gear] and equipment and have to have the stamina to keep going above and beyond everybody else around them because they are the elite Airmen in the field.”
The training pipeline of becoming a Special Warfare Airmen includes the Special Warfare Preparatory Course, the TACP Preparatory Course, the TACP Apprentice Course, Airborne school, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training. If a possible candidate is selected to go through the rigorous training of becoming a TACP Airmen, they are interviewed with the unit cadre to see if they are good fit.
“It’s very rewarding to see candidates pass through the program and come out on the other side a different person,” said Barraco. “The Louisiana Air National Guard can provide opportunities and capabilities for them to be successful in their career.”
Future potential candidates should keep an open mind when attending the recruiting event. There is a lot of information presented and the expectations can look overwhelming but the ASOS is prepared to help get candidates through the training process. The process is long, but worthwhile for the candidate that makes it all the way through.