USAF in SUPPORT 1966
early 1966 a United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP),
was attached to the 1st Australian Task force during during 5RAR's
1st Tour for the
purpose of coordination and control of all air strikes, close air
support requests along with the medical evacuation requests (Dust
Off) required in daily combat operations. This photograph depicts
the mobile communications equipment used by the members of the TACP.
The Tactical Air Controller pictured, SrA (Senior Airman) James
Metcalf, one of the three Communication Specialists assigned to, and
embedded with the 1st Australian Task Force.
Normally, this communications unit is mounted on the back of a
vehicle, (Jeep or personnel carrier), but has the capability, as in
this case, to be "dismounted" and used as a semi-permanently fixed
base unit. This facility was the TACP communications centre, which was
physically located next to the Nui Dat Operations center and manned
by the 3 TACP Communication Specialists, (Tactical Air Controllers).
The unit consists of several different radios, operating on a
variety of different frequencies to facilitate the coordination
between the Australian ground forces, the Forward Air Controllers,
and the US air support resources. Tactical Air Controller team
members that accompanied the Australian ground forces on field operations
communicated with the FACs (Forward Air Controllers) overhead once the base station got them
airborne and in range. Once the target was confirmed, friendly
forces marked, etc., the FACs flying the O-1 aircrafts would
directly control the strike aircraft and the actual strike.