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Joint terminal air controllers return to Germany

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNEWS) -- Joint terminal air controllers who were deployed throughout Iraq supporting the war on terrorism returned home to their friends and family here April 21. 

The JTACs were deployed with different Army units throughout Iraq and provided Army Soldiers with open communications to Air Force pilots while on patrol.

"I like to call ourselves firemen. We're there on call and you never know what's going to happen," said Maj. Michael Dodson, commander of the 1st Air Operations Support Squadron's Detachment 3.

"But, as soon as (something) does (happen), the Army says they need us and we're there," he said. "Any time there were troops in contact, first thing they ask is, 'Do you have air?' We got it. Six to nine minutes later air was overhead."

The Army controls ground forces while the JTACs stay in contact with Air Force pilots and coordinate fly-bys, and in some cases, to drop bombs on possible insurgent locations. They are the middlemen between the planes overhead and the Army Soldiers on the ground.

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