US Air Force Special Operations Forces TACPs are Enlisted Terminal Attack Controllers (ETAC) who work aligned with US Army Special Operations Forces. They provide close air support/terminal guidance control for exercise and contingency operations, on a permanent and continuous basis, with a mission to increase the combat capability of the US Forces. They also provide additional expertise in Artillery, Naval Gunfire, and Attack Helicopters.
Their five fold mission is:
TACPs trace their roots back beyond the original TACPs supporting both the US Army Special Forces Command (USASFC) and Rangers to World War II. It wasn't until after Desert Storm that Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) formalized an agreement with Air Combat Command to provide TACPs at USASOC, USASFC, JFKSWCS, every Special Forces Group and Special Operations Aviation Regiment, in addition to the TACPs at Ranger Regiment and the 3 Ranger Battalions.
During the fall of 1994 the initial cadre of 32 hand-picked personnel reported to USASOC. With an initial charter to provide SF personnel with Close Air Support (CAS) training, their operational tempo quickly increased. Shortly after standing up, the newly-christened SOF TACPs were deploying with Special Forces from SF Operational Battalion to Operational Detachment level. It wasn't until 1998 that ACC recognized the SOF TACP selection process as a way to select only best personnel to support Army SOF. Only experienced ETACs are authorized to attend. Selection is done over 6 days and is set-up to test the individual's maturity and mental and physical capabilities. TACP skills and capabilities mirror their Army counterparts. Being Airborne qualified is mandatory; however, current members are qualified in many areas including HALO, HALO jumpmaster, Static-line jumpmaster, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Scuba and Ranger.