• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 15s

Elite Air Force group ready for anything

By Bonney Bowman 7:39 PM March 13, 2014

They're the ones who call in the airstrikes when the guns on the ground aren't enough

ANCHORAGE – There’s an elite U.S. Air Force group stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, constantly training to be ready for any mission.

They’re called TACPs, tactical air control party specialists and JTACs, joint terminal attack controllers.

They’re the ones who call in the airstrikes when the guns on the ground aren’t enough.

Thursday’s mission: Small arms training immediately after intense cardio.

“Your heart rate is up, you can’t breathe and you still need to pull that trigger,” said Senior Airman Eddie Schmitz.

The goal: Be prepared when the bullets start flying.

For this small group, training is an everyday necessity.

They operate in combat zones like Afghanistan, fulfilling a wide range of tasks.

“Today it might be close combat shooting or it might be dropping bombs tomorrow. It might be an airborne mission any other day,” said Capt. Jack Fine, assistant brigade air liaison officer.

It’s not just physically demanding. Providing air support so close to friendly forces requires mental precision as well.

It takes years to get the certification.

“It’s something you wait, from the day you decide you want to be a TACP, until that moment it’s just such a pay off,” Schmitz said.

With such a small group, only 30 stationed at JBER, these guys bring new meaning to brothers in arms.

“We take care of each other and look out after each other,” Fine said.

The unit motto is “quiet professionals,” which is why they’re a relatively unheard of group, even on base.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Operating budget passes without full funding

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 27, 17:29

    The House of Representatives passed the state’s 2016 operating budget Monday afternoon. But there’s one big problem: There’s no money to fund it. “In failing to send the governor a budget that is funded, we have failed in our obligated duties,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz, of Ketchikan. Passed with a vote of 26 to 12, […]

  • Crime

    2 Gambell men charged in theft of 80 pizzas

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 17:10

    Two men have been arrested after stealing several dozen pizzas and trying to resell them to police, according to an online Alaska State Trooper Dispatch. At 10 a.m. Sunday, Nome troopers were notified of the theft of 80 frozen pizzas from the Gambell Native Store warehouse during a burglary sometime earlier that morning, according to […]

  • News

    Tanana man killed in ATV crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 16:12

    A 46-year-old Tanana man died after the ATV he was riding veered off the road and struck a tree Sunday night, authorities say. At about 9 p.m. Sunday, the Tanana Village Public Safety Officer was contacted about an ATV crash on Mission Hill Road, roughly two miles from the Yukon River village, according to an […]

  • Politics

    Legislature passes bill allowing international child support enforcement

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 27, 15:39

    The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that would amend state child support laws to match provisions provided under a 2007 international treaty the U.S. signed and enacted, ensuring the continued receipt of $64 million for Alaska’s child support and aid programs. Gov. Bill Walker introduced HB 106 to the House in February. The bill would add child support […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Baltimore riots escalate, National Guard activated

    by CNN / AP on Apr 27, 15:10

    9:30 p.m. A massive fire has broken out in a building that was under construction and the Baltimore mayor’s spokesman says it’s related to the riots. Spokesman Kevin Harris confirmed that the fire is related to the riots and that it’s burning the Mary Harvin Transformation Center, described online as a community-based organization that supports […]

  • News

    The Latest: Prosecutor says Holmes’ evaluators didn’t agree

    by Associated Press on Apr 27, 12:36

    5:25 p.m. (MDT) Court has adjourned for the day in the Colorado theater shooting trial after James Holmes’ attorneys completed their opening statement. Public defender Katherine Spengler ended by telling jurors that Holmes’ reason for opening fire in the suburban Denver theater in 2012 might not be satisfying to them. “The ‘why’ is coming from […]

  • News

    A moving target: Postal inspectors root out liquor by mail

    by Ben Matheson / KYUK on Apr 27, 12:09

    Citizens in Bethel are weighing a decision on a proposal for the for the first liquor store in decades. In the shadow of the debate is a powerful and elaborate bootlegging economy across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. A small team of federal law enforcement agents with the United States Postal Inspection Service is working to keep alcohol out […]

  • News

    Snowmachiner rescued after sustaining serious injuries

    by Hope Miller on Apr 27, 12:08

    A Valdez man snowmachining with a group near Thompson Pass was hospitalized after sustaining serious injuries in a crash Saturday, authorities say. Andrew Doherty, 29, was flown to a hospital in Valdez before being taken to Anchorage for treatment, according to an online dispatch from Alaska State Troopers. Allie Hendrickson, spokeswoman for the City of […]