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The Air Force has selected Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, as its preferred base to relocate its tactical air control party and air liaison officer training.
Air Force officials had considered Lackland and Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., as candidate bases for the new school. Keesler is now considered a reasonable alternative, the Air Force announced Jan. 9.
The service released its basing criteria in 2011 when officials determined that the existing schoolhouse at Hurlburt Field, Fla., no longer had enough capacity. Hurlburt turns out about 273 graduates a year, but the Air Force needs 371 graduates to continue to support Army units.
Air Education and Training Command evaluated Lackland and Keesler based on mission requirements, capacity, cost and timing. A final decision on the new school location will be made after an environmental analysis is complete.
TACPs are usually two-man teams that work in an Army ground unit directing close-air support firepower toward enemy targets on the ground. An air liaison officer is the senior member of tactical air control party who functions as the primary adviser to the ground commander on air operation matters.
The two jobs are among eight war-zone jobs — including combat rescue officer, special tactics officer pararescue jumper, combat controller, and enlisted and officer special operation weather technician — in which the training is so grueling that the Air Force has struggled to fill those career fields.
TACPs and ALOs endure a nearly 30-week training course that includes combat survival skills and special tactics.