Joint Tactical Air Control team trains at UTTR
By Airman 1st Class Stefanie Torres , 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 04, 2006
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- It was January 2003 - right before the invasion of Iraq. Staff Sgt. Trevor Bradford was a Joint Tactical Air Controller stationed with a special forces unit during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. "I received a message we were about to invade Iraq so we had to move out," he said.
He arrived in Kuwait with his team. Enemy troops were massing and air support was needed. "It was as quiet as can be until suddenly we were being hit by 122 mm rounds from all directions," he said.
The team started to scatter and called in for air support. Sergeant Bradford was being ambushed for four days straight before making it out alive.
The JTACs are a subdivision of Tactical Air Control Party. The JTAC mission is to maintain communication and provide close air support while deployed.
Three members of JTAC were training at the Utah Test and Training Range Sept. 9 - Sept. 16. "The F-16s fly out here and we continue coordinating with the jets and setting our sites on enemy targets," said Staff Sgt. Adam Smith, a JTAC member.
"The UTTR is good place to go for practice," said Sergeant Bradford. Extensive training is important because they are usually on the front lines. "We also have to be knowledgeable of everything," he said. We have to know all coordinations, all about aircraft and the kind of collateral damage it will cause.
"They are constantly teaching us new things about the enemy. This is a different war we are fighting. It's hard to tell who the enemy is now so we have to be on constant alert," said Sergeant Bradford. "Also, it's not just good guys and bad guys - there are a lot more factors that go into the job too."
The three Airmen are based with Army units in Washington state. They are ready to deploy a moments notice.