Air Force Combat Controllers

Air Force Combat Controllers

United States Air Force Combat Control Teams/Combat Controllers (CCT) (AFSC 1C2X1) are ground combat forces specialized in a traditional pathfinder role while having a heavy emphasis on simultaneous air traffic control, fire support and command, control, and communications in covert or austere environments. Assigned to Special Tactics Squadrons, Combat Controllers are an integral part of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the Air Force component of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Combat Controllers are often assigned individually or as a team to Army Special Forces, Army Ranger, and Navy SEAL teams to provide expert air support coordination and communications capabilities. Many Combat Controllers qualify and maintain proficiency as joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) where they call in and direct air strikes, close air support and fire support during battle. Combat Control, like all U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) career fields, is male-only . Out of the five Air Force Crosses awarded since the Global War on Terror started in 2001 three have been awarded to Combat Controllers for extraordinary heroism in combat.

The term "Combat Control Team" comes from World War II where allied troop-carrier squadrons developed gliderborne teams called Combat Control Teams. A Combat Control Team consisted of one glider pilot and four enlisted technicians. They utilized a jeep and a trailer-mounted radio to pass critical information to aircraft. The first time they were used were during Operation Varsity where two teams with the 18th Airborne Corps infiltrated German lines and they established forward airfields where they supported resupply operations and provided airfield control.

Read more about Air Force Combat Controllers:  Motto, Mission, Training, Combat Controllers, CCT in Popular Culture

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