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Laughlin CCC returns to roots, speaks at first TACP graduation under Special Warfare Training Wing

The graduation official party, including Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief master sergeant, congratulate a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Apprentice Course graduate at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. Graduates were finally able to receive their black berets and blouse their dress blues after crossing the stage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

The graduation official party, including Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief master sergeant, congratulate a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Apprentice Course graduate at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. Graduates were finally able to receive their black berets and blouse their dress blues after crossing the stage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief master sergeant, gives his advice to 18 Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) candidates preparing to graduate at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. The Special Warfare Training Wing graduates Combat Control, Special Reconnaissance, Pararescue and TACP Airmen – whose mission is to conduct global combat operations in contested, denied, and austere areas under any environmental conditions.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief master sergeant, gives his advice to 18 Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) candidates preparing to graduate at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. The Special Warfare Training Wing graduates Combat Control, Special Reconnaissance, Pararescue and TACP Airmen – whose mission is to conduct global combat operations in contested, denied, and austere areas under any environmental conditions.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Hawk 110 becomes the first Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) special warfare class to graduate under the new Air Force special code change to 1Z3X1 and new curriculum at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. Hawk 110 is the first class to graduate under the new Special Warfare Training Wing, formerly known as the Battlefield Airmen Training Group, with the first Air Force specialty code change which helps streamline processes for special warfare units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Hawk 110 becomes the first Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) special warfare class to graduate under the new Air Force special code change to 1Z3X1 and new curriculum at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. Hawk 110 is the first class to graduate under the new Special Warfare Training Wing, formerly known as the Battlefield Airmen Training Group, with the first Air Force specialty code change which helps streamline processes for special warfare units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Candidates from Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Apprentice Course Hawk 110 bow their heads in prayer during graduation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, was the guest speaker for class Hawk 110’s graduation from TACP Apprentice Course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Candidates from Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Apprentice Course Hawk 110 bow their heads in prayer during graduation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, was the guest speaker for class Hawk 110’s graduation from TACP Apprentice Course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Tactical Air Control Party graduates from class Hawk 110 stand at attention after receiving their TACP beret at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. The next step for the graduates is attending U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) school at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, for the next three weeks. There, graduates will learn the procedures, equipment and techniques needed to survive regardless of climatic conditions or dangerous environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Tactical Air Control Party graduates from class Hawk 110 stand at attention after receiving their TACP beret at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Dec. 13, 2019. The next step for the graduates is attending U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) school at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, for the next three weeks. There, graduates will learn the procedures, equipment and techniques needed to survive regardless of climatic conditions or dangerous environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — On Dec. 13, 2019, Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, was the guest speaker at the Tactical Air Control Party Apprentice Course graduation of class Hawk 110 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Hawk 110 is the first TACP class to fully graduate under the new Special Warfare Training Wing, formerly known as the Battlefield Airmen Training Group, with the first Air Force specialty code change which helps streamline processes for special warfare units. This means all special warfare units fall under a single wing which provides unity for operators, career-wide standardization and promotes a single-focus effort.

The Special Warfare Training Wing graduates Combat Control (CCT), Special Reconnaissance (SR), Pararescue (PJ) and TACP Airmen – whose mission is to conduct global combat operations in contested, denied and austere areas under any environmental conditions.

Zackery, with more than 23 years of service, multiple deployments, and extensive knowledge gathered in and out of combat zones, shared lessons learned to newly graduated TACP Airmen from the 353rd Special Warfare Training Squadron – more than 22 years after his own graduation as Hawk 41.

“It was an honor to be invited to share with the class,” Zackery said. “They have their whole career ahead of them to go out, take it to the enemy and be awesome. My days in the Air Force are a lot less now than before, and they’re here to take it forward.”

While standing at the podium in front the 18 TACP candidates ready to graduate, Zackery emphasized the importance of brotherhood and the level of responsibility that’s going to be placed on their shoulders as young Airmen.

“When you can, take pictures,” he said to the 18 newly graduated TACP Airmen. “Half of the things, you’re going to forget. The other half, people are not going to believe.”

For individuals wanting to join the ranks of TACP Airmen, Zackery advises them to have a deep understanding of what is required of a TACP Airman. Be mentally, physically and spiritually tough and finally, stay committed to the process.