There is a tradition of friendly banter that goes on between the military services and veterans. You see it all the time in funny memes on social media, or hear the jokes thrown like soft grenades between each other wherever veterans gather. It is always for fun, though each would admit that there is a little service pride involved as well.
This story is about a particular MOS in the United States Air Force. They are among the toughest, most skilled, and effective war fighters in any of the services’ Special Operations units. Why? They go along on missions with all of them and are, therefore, as well trained as SEALs, Rangers, or Green Berets. Who are they? They are Air Force Combat Controllers.
These guys are trained in all the arts of Special Operations missions. Their specific purpose in being there is to control the battlefield. They are all certified Air Traffic Controllers. They are the team members who communicate with the “eyes in the skies,” the drones and all of the air assets that are available and necessary in any circumstances in order to do the job. They are trained to evaluate and understand the battlefield and to help locate and destroy enemy targets.
On their covert missions they tell the pilots which targets to take out, where to drop supplies, they identify landing areas for evacuation helicopters, and so much more.
You will hear Ssgt. Sean Hasell, one of the Combat Controllers, describe what they carry.
“We carry M4 rifles and magazines, fragmentation grenades, smoke grenades, M203 grenade launcher, medical pouch and GPS,” he says. “But the biggest gun we carry is a radio.”
With that radio they literally can control the battlefield space bringing in any and all kinds of air assets, artillery etc. to manage a battle or to help defend a team.
These Air Force Combat Controllers are built just like their Special Operator team members. They are among the best of the best mentally, physically and professionally. Indeed, they call themselves the “Silent Professionals,” because they do their work better than anybody else and don’t have to boast or brag about it. They just get it done.
These guys go through a training that is second to none. It is so tough that 90% of those who apply for it don’t make it. Those that do are among a very rare breed indeed.
Enjoy this video. It is very informative about these “Silent Professionals,” Air Force Combat Controllers. Their motto is “First There.” And they’re not bragging. That’s a fact.
Learn more in the video below.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.