The next female airman seeking to become a tactical air control party airman began training on Aug. 6, Air Education and Training Command said.
The airman, who was not identified, is the third woman who has sought to become a TACP since it and other battlefield jobs were opened to women. And she is the second to actually begin training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.
The first female TACP candidate ― an enlisted airman who was already in the Air Force ― passed the required physical test and began training last July but soon had to drop out after a leg injury, AETC spokeswoman Marilyn Holliday said in an email.
She was offered the chance to retake the course but instead chose to return to her previous specialty.
The second candidate, who was just coming into the Air Force, was not able to meet the entry standards to begin TACP training after completing basic military training and failed out, Holliday said.
There is also a fourth woman who wants to become at TACP who is still in basic military training.
TACPs deploy to the battlefield with Army, Marine, or sometimes Navy SEAL units to coordinate with aircraft overhead during combat and direct airstrikes.
A female officer, who wanted to become a combat rescue officer, also passed the physical test last year. However, she never fully completed the application process to start the CRO program, officials said.
Two other women are training to become air liaison officers at Lackland’s Battlefield Airman Training Group, Holliday said, but that career field was not previously off-limits to women.
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter in December 2015 ordered the military to open all remaining male-only combat jobs to women. For the Air Force, that meant opening up six Air Force specialty codes that, at the time, accounted for 4,099 positions: 13C special tactics officers, 13D combat rescue officers, 1C2XX combat controllers, 1C4XX TACP airmen, 1T2XX pararescuemen, and 1W0X2 special operations weather enlisted airmen.
The Air Force promised it would not lower its mental and physical standards as it integrated those jobs.
To become a TACP, an airman must be able to run 1.5 miles within 10:47, perform at least six pullups in two minutes, perform at least 48 situps in two minutes, and perform at least 40 pushups in two minutes.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.