Combat Controllers are trained special operations forces and certified FAA air traffic controllers. Their mission is to deploy undetected into hostile combat and austere environments to establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance, and special reconnaissance.
Their motto "First There" reaffirms the combat controller's commitment to undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the way for other forces to follow.
Move, shoot and communicate.
The mission of a combat controller is to deploy, undetected, into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance in the joint arena.
Their motto, "First There," reaffirms the combat controller's commitment to undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the way for other forces to follow.
Combat controllers are among the most highly trained personnel in the U.S. military.
They maintain air traffic control qualification skills throughout their careers; many qualify and maintain currency in joint terminal attack control procedures, in addition to other special operations skills like infiltration skills and combat diver and demolition qualifications.
Their 83-week training and unique mission skills earn them the right to wear the scarlet beret:
Basic Military Training (BMT), 8 weeks, Lackland Air Force Base, TX- The first step to becoming an Airman happens in BMT where trainees learn military structure, the core values of the U.S. Air Force, and to prepare both mentally and physically for life as an Airman.
Special Warfare Preparatory Course (SW PREP), 8 weeks, Lackland AFB, TX- If they have what it takes to join Air Force Special Warfare, it will be revealed here. Candidates will undergo intense strength and conditioning training by running, rucking and swimming extensively. They'll also learn about the rich history of Special Warfare, Esprit De Corps and ultimately take the Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST) to see if they'll move on to tech training.
Special Warfare Assessment and Selection Course, 4 weeks, Lackland AFB, TX- This is the moment candidates must prove they are worthy to advance in CCT training or find another career field.
Special Warfare Pre-Dive Course, 4 weeks, Lackland AFB, TX- Pre-dive prepares candidates physically and mentally for the rigors of combat dive school. It consists of intense calisthenics, middle- and long-distance running, swimming, and, most importantly, water-confidence training.
Special Warfare Combat Dive Course, 5 weeks, Panama City, FL- Becoming an expert diver happens here. Building upon what they learned during the pre-dive course, CCTs undergo extensive combat dive training so they can wield airpower whenever, wherever
Airborne School, 3 weeks, Fort Benning, GA- CCTs are imbedded with other special forces, which means they go wherever the mission demands. Sometimes this means dropping in from above. During airborne training, they learn basic parachuting and prepare for static line jump operations.
Military Free-Fall Course, 3 weeks, Yuma, AZ; Jamul, CA- In addition to being certified air traffic controllers, CCTs are also advanced skydivers. This is where they take that next step by building on the training they received at airborne school.
SERE Training, 3 weeks, Fairchild AFB, WA- Special Warfare Airmen conduct missions in some of the most extreme and hostile places on the planet. This is where they receive survival, evasion, resistance, and escape training that will likely one day save their lives.
Air Traffic Control, 11 weeks, Keesler AFB, MS- The primary responsibility of a CCT is to direct air traffic. In addition to continuing the rigorous fitness training, they also learn how to become air traffic controllers and eventually get FAA certified.
Combat Control Apprentice Course, 8 weeks, Pope Army Airfield, NC- CCTs are more than air traffic controllers, they're battlefield Airmen usually operating in the middle of a war zone. This is where they learn to apply their training under pressure while obtaining fundamental combat skills utilizing a range of weapons and strategies.
Special Tactics Training, 6 months, Hurlburt Field, FL- The longest segment of the pipeline is also the most comprehensive with advanced weapons and demolition training, all-terrain vehicle operation and core skills instruction, all culminating in a five-level upgrade upon completion.