The first class of new career air liaison officers (ALOs) will graduate from the 13-day joint air and space operations course at the 505th Command and Control Wing on Dec. 17th.
While the 505th CCW's Joint Air and Space Operations Center Command and Control Course (JAOC2C) has trained Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Special Operations and coalition liaison officers for 15 years, it is now a new requirement for the ALO career field.
JAOC2C provides the foundational knowledge new ALOs need to advise Army commanders on the most effective way to integrate air and space power in support of ground operations.
JAOC2C provides hands-on instruction of systems and processes these ALO's will require to coordinate air and space support with a theater Joint or Coalition Air and Space Operations Center.
DL Hendricks, JAOC2C director and instructor, said, "It's important that career ALOs understand the systems and procedures to best support the Army. This is the primary course that teaches joint air and space power users how to coordinate with the joint air and space power providers."
As a former terminal air control party (TACP) and ALO, Mr. Hendricks is happy the U.S. Air Force developed a new dedicated career field for ALOs'.
Historically, ALOs were rated officers assigned with the Army for a 1- to 3-year tour on the ground before returning to their career cockpit.
Career ALO officers however, are now being drawn from across the Air Force to include the enlisted TACP ranks making them the most highly qualified Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) the U.S. Air Force has ever produced.
"As this class continues to be promoted, the ALO and TACP career fields will gain an advocacy in big Air Force they didn't have before," Mr. Hendricks said. "The TACPs have always been well recognized for their expertise. Now, the ALO career field will have support from career officers who have earned the same qualifications, done the mission, and been in combat with them. It is a historic evolution for one of our oldest and proudest career fields."
Seventy percent of all ALOs will soon be career ALOs while 30 percent will continue to be pulled from the rated officer ranks.
This initial class of 15, made up of newly commissioned Air Force officers, Guardsmen and prior enlisted TACPs, are all cognizant of their proud ALO heritage, the impact they will have on future support to ground operations, and the importance of establishing their new ALO career track as a success story for the Air Force.
"It's a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to be able to shape the ALO career field and know that you were one of the first to go through the program," said former enlisted TACP and ALO Capt. Matthew McMurtry.
Second Lt. Brandon Pinto agrees and is prepared to lead the way.
"We cannot fail. We want to make sure we're doing it right and sending the right feedback through the proper channels," said Lieutenant Pinto. "We're here to affect change and that's what we intend to do."