Shift in Tactics

The 17th Air Support Operations Squadron, an elite unit of tactical air control party airmen and support personnel, transitioned from Air Combat Command to Air Force Special Operation Command’s 720th Special Tactics Group during a ceremony Oct. 1 at Hurlburt Field. Fla. The 61 members of the 17th ASOS, who provide terminal attack and liaison services to the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, join the ranks of more than 900 special tactics combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weathermen, and support personnel in the 720th STG. “This move is beneficial because we provide joint terminal attack controllers … to all special operations forces and the SOF mission belongs in AFSOC,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Cronk, 17th ASOS commander. Col. Bradley Thompson, 720th STG commander, welcomed the addition. “The men of the 17th are the crown jewel of all TACPs—the top 10 percent of their career field,” he said. “They are the most highly decorated TACP unit in the Air Force and have been involved in every contingency since 1983.” The 17th ASOS will remain at Ft. Benning, Ga., with operational locations at five Army bases. (Hurlburt report by MSgt. Buffy Galbraith)