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25th Air Support Operations Squadron prepares to deploy

Senior Airmen Glenn Wilderman and Nathanial Bryant practice close-combat skills at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii, on Thursday,  April 13, 2006. The Airmen are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Senior Airmen Glenn Wilderman and Nathanial Bryant practice close-combat skills at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii, on Thursday, April 13, 2006. The Airmen are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Senior Airman Glenn Wilderman takes down Senior Airman Nathanial Bryant during close-combat skills training on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. Airmen Wilderman and Bryant are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Senior Airman Glenn Wilderman takes down Senior Airman Nathanial Bryant during close-combat skills training on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. Airmen Wilderman and Bryant are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Staff Sgt. George Earhart protects his face from a kick from Senior Airman Justin Vincent during close-combat skills training Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. Airman Vincent and Sergeant Earhart are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Staff Sgt. George Earhart protects his face from a kick from Senior Airman Justin Vincent during close-combat skills training Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. Airman Vincent and Sergeant Earhart are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron practice close-combat skills training Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron practice close-combat skills training Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Senior Airman Glenn Wilderman practices close-combat skills with Airman 1st Class Clayton Yeung on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. Airmen Wilderman and Yeung are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Senior Airman Glenn Wilderman practices close-combat skills with Airman 1st Class Clayton Yeung on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. Airmen Wilderman and Yeung are tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron finish their close-combat skills training with circuit training on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron finish their close-combat skills training with circuit training on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

WHEELER ARMY AIR FIELD, Hawaii (AFPN) -- Tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron are practicing basic close-combat skills to prepare themselves for an upcoming deployment in support of the war on terrorism.

“Not only is the training fun and keeps you physically active, but it is very practical for (Tactical Air Control Party) members because of the missions that we undertake,” said Staff Sgt. George Earhart, a tactical air controller from the 25th ASOS.

Although TACPs are in the Air Force, they spend a lot of time with the Army. The need to be combat-ready is a high priority. The entire purpose close-combat training is to provide the Airmen of the 25th ASOS with a foundation of warrior skills. 

“My key emphasis on training is individual combat skills,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Knipe, 25th ASOS superintendent. “It’s part of a larger program to inject the entire Air Force into the warrior ethos concept.

“The concept helps (Airmen) understand the basis of all combative skills, be comfortable with them and recognize that they are a weapon system,” Sergeant Knipe said. “After that mindset anything added to them like a rifle or knife will only make them a more effective warrior.”

As battlefield Airmen, being a TACP means being a lot closer to combat then most other Airmen.

“This training can be the difference between life and death in a close fight,” Sergeant Earhart said. “It will definitely be something good to know for future deployments.” 

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