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Air Force Weapons School JTAC Graduates to Receive Hallowed Patches

A combat controller, deployed with a U.S. Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, searches for targets to provide close air support during an engagement with insurgents. (U.S. Air Force photo)
A combat controller, deployed with a U.S. Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, searches for targets to provide close air support during an engagement with insurgents. (U.S. Air Force photo)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- When the first five graduates of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School’s Joint Terminal Attack Controller Weapons Instructor Course receive their diplomas during the school’s class 15-A graduation June 27, they will also be awarded the coveted graduate patch of the USAFWS and enter into an elite group of “patch wearer” brethren.

The graduates will join 24 JTAC Advanced Instructor Course -- the course’s former name -- graduates who will also receive patches, as the first and only enlisted patch wearers in the school’s 66-year history.

“JTACs provide vital close air support integration for our sister services and allied nations. These warriors are asked to perform amazing feats in the midst of chaos, and their importance to the theater air-ground fight cannot be overstated,” said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the commander of Air Combat Command. “They are trained and skilled. They are the instructors of instructors for our entire JTAC force and consistently provide critical combat leadership. They have saved lives because they are very good at what they do. It is time we recognize them as such. Wearing the WIC patch gives them instant, noticeable credibility as experts in air-to-ground tactics, techniques, procedures and in the integration of all aspects of theater air, space and cyber power.”

Each graduate from the five-and-a-half month JTAC course has completed 23 full-mission profiles and devoted 752 total hours in the classroom and on the range to complete the course’s curriculum.

The first JTAC Advanced Instructor Course cadre graduated in December 2012 and the first student class graduated June 2013, with the USAFWS injecting these tactical and strategic leaders back into the force every six months since the course’s inception. 

According to its official fact sheet, the USAFWS teaches graduate-level instructor courses that provide the world's most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment. The goals of the courses are to train students to be tactical experts in their combat specialty while also learning the art of battlespace dominance. Weapons school graduates are extensively familiar not only with the weapons platform or system they have been trained in through their career path, but also in how all Air Force and Defense Department assets can be employed in concert to achieve synergistic effects.

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