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

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

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.