Air Force Stryker unit headed to the sandbox

Eielson airmen leave to join Stryker Brigade

In May I noted that the US Air Force received its first Stryker for the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron. Well, the unit (now with five Strykers) is deploying with the 172nd.

The 3rd ASOS commander, Lt. Col. Russell Smith, said each of the squadron’s five Stryker vehicles is assigned an Army driver and gunman with an Air Force Tactical Air Control Party, the specialized team that manages air space above ground troops and guides reconnaissance and surveillance air support. In the past, the TACP’s traveled in Humvees manned by airmen.

One of the most important advancements in the Stryker’s communication abilities is the advanced technology that erases communication delays between air and ground troops, allowing pilots to get information en route to a target. Commanders say this is especially important in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where enemies, troops and civilians can all be in close range of each other and shift constantly.

This is the first Stryker ASOS deployment, and the Airmen will even be wearing Army uniforms as part of an effort to not be hated so much by the ground pounders. My guess is any animosity will evaporate the first time the flyboys call in some serious death from above against a dug in enemy. Besides, while the Army and Air Force may not see eye to eye, at least they can find some common ground and agree that the Navy just plain sucks.


  1. Is the army allowing the TACP’s carry guns? That could get dangerous. My father, vet of 26 years in the airforce gave me the airforce view point on men with guns. In the air force, the only guys with guns are the 5th percentile. Those who scored the lowest 5th are given guns and they are only given guns, so that the bad guys will have something useless to shoot, thus protecting the high value military trained dogs from harm.

  2. Oh yea, TACP’s carry guns. If the army didn’t let them carry guns, TACP’s would not deploy…believe me. In the case between the 172nd Stryker Brig and the TACP’s, the TACP’s actually have a much more advanced combat training. Note, the primary purpose of a TACP is to be an asset (not a hindrance) to units such as rangers and airborne units. It takes around 8-10 months to become one. If you knew this beforehand, sorry for the understanding. Its just that air force groundpounders do not get much popularity.