Combat Control Team

Combat Control Team

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= USAF Combat Control

caption=United States Air Force Combat Control.
motto= "First there"
type= Special Operations
branch=United States Air Force
dates= January 1953–Present
country=United States of America
command_structure=Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
last = Lt. Seydel
first = Carie A.
title = Air Force Combat Controllers
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-11
specialization=Air Traffic Control, Fire Support, Command and Control, Direct Action, Counter-Terrorism, Foreign Internal Defense, Humanitarian Assistance, Special Reconnaissance

United States Air Force Combat Controllers (CCT) (AFSC 1C2X1) are ground combat forces specialized in a traditional pathfinder role while having a heavy emphasis on simultaneous air traffic control, fire support and C³ in covert or austere environments. Assigned to Special Tactics Squadrons, combat controllers are an integral part of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the Air Force component to United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

About Combat Controllers

Combat Controllers (CCT) are ground combat forces assigned to Special Tactics Squadrons within the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The mission of a Combat Controller is to deploy by the most feasible means available into combat and non-permissive environments. Combat Controllers are Special Tactics Operators who establish assault zones, while simultaneously providing; Air Traffic Control, Fire Support, and Command and Control communications in the joint arena. Additionally, Combat Controllers expertly employ all-terrain vehicles, amphibious vehicles, weapons and demolitions. Functions include assault zone assessment and establishment; air traffic control; command and control communications; special operations terminal attack control; and removal of obstacles with demolitions. The CCTs provide a unique capability and deploy with joint air and ground forces in the execution of Direct Action, Counter-terrorism, Foreign Internal Defense, Humanitarian Assistance, Special Reconnaissance, Austere Airfield, and Combat Search and Rescue operations.


Air Force Special Operations Command's combat controllers are Battlefield Airmen assigned to special tactics squadrons. They are trained special operations forces and certified Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers.

The mission of a combat controller is to deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance in the joint arena.

Combat Control Commandos

Their motto, "First There," reaffirms the combat controller's commitment to undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the way for other forces to follow.


Combat controllers are among the most highly trained personnel in the U. S. military. They maintain air traffic controller qualification skills throughout their career in addition to other special operations skills. Many qualify and maintain currency in joint terminal attack control procedures. Their 35-week training and unique mission skills earn them the right to wear the scarlet beret.

Combat Control Orientation Course, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas This two-week orientation course focuses on sports physiology, nutrition, basic exercises, combat control history and fundamentals.

Combat Control Operator Course, Keesler AFB, Miss. This 15 and a half-week course teaches aircraft recognition and performance, air navigation aids, weather, airport traffic control, flight assistance service, communication procedures, conventional approach control, radar procedures and air traffic rules. This is the same course that all Air Force air traffic controllers attend and is the core skill of a combat controller's job.

U.S. Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Ga. -- Trainees learn the basic parachuting skills required to infiltrate an objective area by static line airdrop in a three-week course.

U.S. Air Force Basic Survival School, Fairchild AFB, Wash. -- This two and a half-week course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas. Instruction includes principles, procedures, equipment and techniques, which enable individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments and return home.

Combat Control School, Pope AFB, N.C. -- This 13-week course provides final combat controller qualifications. Training includes physical training, small unit tactics, land navigation, communications, assault zones, demolitions, fire support and field operations including parachuting. At the completion of this course, each graduate is awarded the 3-skill level (journeymen), scarlet beret and CCT flash.

Special Tactics Advanced Skills Training, Hurlburt Field, Fla. -- Advanced Skills Training is a 12-to-15-month program for newly assigned combat controller operators. AST produces mission-ready operators for the Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command. The AST schedule is broken down into four phases: water, ground, employment and full mission profile. The course tests the trainee's personal limits through demanding mental and physical training. Combat controllers also attend the following schools during AST:

U.S. Army Military Free Fall Parachutist School, Fort Bragg, N.C., and Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. -- This course instructs free fall parachuting procedures. The five-week course provides wind tunnel training, in-air instruction focusing on student stability, aerial maneuvers, air sense, parachute opening procedures and parachute canopy control.

U.S. Air Force Combat Diver School, Panama City, Fla. -- Trainees become combat divers, learning to use scuba and closed circuit diving equipment to covertly infiltrate denied areas. The six-week course provides training to depths of 130 feet, stressing development of maximum underwater mobility under various operating conditions.

U.S. Navy Underwater Egress Training, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla.This course teaches how to safely escape from an aircraft that has ditched in the water. The one-day instruction includes principles, procedures and techniques necessary to get out of a sinking aircraft.


Army pathfinders originated in 1943 out of need for accurate airdrops during airborne campaigns of World War II. These pathfinders preceded main assault forces into objective areas to provide weather information and visual guidance to inbound aircraft through the use of high-powered lights, flares and smoke pots.

When the Air Force became a separate service, Air Force pathfinders, later called combat control teams, were activated in 1953 to provide navigational aids and air traffic control for a growing Air Force. In the Vietnam War, combat controllers helped assure mission safety and expedited air traffic flow during countless airlifts. Combat controllers also flew as forward air guides in support of indigenous forces in Laos and Cambodia.

Combat controllers continue to be the "First There" when they are called upon to participate in international emergencies and humanitarian relief efforts.

External links



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