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USAF Weapons School JTAC graduates to receive hallowed patches

Master Sgt. Jared Pietras, left, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, joint terminal attack controller advanced course instructor and Tech. Sgt. James Larsen, JTAC, advanced instructor course, student pass target coordinates to an AH-64D Apache helicopters on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Oct. 9, 2014.    The USAFWS teaches graduate-level instructor courses that provide the world's most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia)

Master Sgt. Jared Pietras, left, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, joint terminal attack controller advanced course instructor and Tech. Sgt. James Larsen, JTAC, advanced instructor course, student pass target coordinates to an AH-64D Apache helicopters on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Oct. 9, 2014. The USAFWS teaches graduate-level instructor courses that provide the world's most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia)

A Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, uses a radio to direct the pilot of an F-16 Fighting Falcon toward designated targets during a Green Flag 15-08 training scenario June 12, 2015 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. The JTAC pictured is conducting a “talk on,” during which a controller communicates navigational information as well as calls for fire to a pilot in the air in order to support the needs of the ground commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz)

A Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, uses a radio to direct the pilot of an F-16 Fighting Falcon toward designated targets during a Green Flag 15-08 training scenario June 12, 2015 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. The JTAC pictured is conducting a “talk on,” during which a controller communicates navigational information as well as calls for fire to a pilot in the air in order to support the needs of the ground commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz)

Tactical Air Control Party members from the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, monitor radios from a defensive fighting position while Joint Terminal Attack Controllers direct incoming aircraft to simulated targets throughout the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 12, 2015. Exercise Green Flag runs at this location ten times annually, and places JTACs on the ground in support of Army Brigade Combat Teams receiving vital pre-deployment training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz)

Tactical Air Control Party members from the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, monitor radios from a defensive fighting position while Joint Terminal Attack Controllers direct incoming aircraft to simulated targets throughout the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 12, 2015. Exercise Green Flag runs at this location ten times annually, and places JTACs on the ground in support of Army Brigade Combat Teams receiving vital pre-deployment training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz)

U.S. Air Force Weapons School patch

Five Joint Terminal Attack Controllers will "patch in" to the elite U.S. Air Force Weapons School Weapons Instructor Course June 27, 2015 at Nellis AFB, Nev.

A combat controller, deployed with a U.S. Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, searches for targets to provide close air support during an engagement with insurgents. A Special Tactics combat controller integrates air power into ground special operations for mission success, deploying into forward hostile areas to control offensive airstrike operations (also known as Joint Terminal Attack Control), as well as establish assault zones and provide air traffic control capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

A combat controller, deployed with a U.S. Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, searches for targets to provide close air support during an engagement with insurgents. A Special Tactics combat controller integrates air power into ground special operations for mission success, deploying into forward hostile areas to control offensive airstrike operations (also known as Joint Terminal Attack Control), as well as establish assault zones and provide air traffic control capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

A combat controller, deployed with a U.S. Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, communicates with overhead aircraft before calling in airstrikes during an engagement with insurgents. A Special Tactics combat controller integrates air power into ground special operations for mission success, deploying into forward hostile areas to control offensive airstrike operations (also known as Joint Terminal Attack Control), as well as establish assault zones and provide air traffic control capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

A combat controller, deployed with a U.S. Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, communicates with overhead aircraft before calling in airstrikes during an engagement with insurgents. A Special Tactics combat controller integrates air power into ground special operations for mission success, deploying into forward hostile areas to control offensive airstrike operations (also known as Joint Terminal Attack Control), as well as establish assault zones and provide air traffic control capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- When the first five graduates of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School's Joint Terminal Attack Controller Weapons Instructor Course receive their diplomas during the school's class 15-A graduation June 27, they will also be awarded the coveted graduate patch of the USAFWS and enter into an elite group of "patch wearer" brethren.

These graduates will join 24 JTAC Advanced Instructor Course -- the course's former name -- graduates who will also receive patches, as the first and only enlisted patch wearers in the school's 66-year history.

"JTACs provide vital close air support integration for our sister services and allied nations. These warriors are asked to perform amazing feats in the midst of chaos, and their importance to the theater air-ground fight cannot be overstated," said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command. "They are trained and skilled. They are the instructors of instructors for our entire JTAC force and consistently provide critical combat leadership.  They have saved lives because they are very good at what they do. It is time we recognize them as such. Wearing the WIC patch gives them instant, noticeable credibility as experts in air-to-ground tactics, techniques, procedures, and in the integration of all aspects of theater air, space, and cyber power."

Each graduate from the five-and-a-half month JTAC course has completed 23 full-mission profiles and devoted 752 total hours in the classroom and on the range to complete the course's curriculum.

The first JTAC AIC cadre graduated in December 2012 and the first student class graduated June 2013, with the USAFWS injecting these tactical and strategic leaders back into the force every six months since the course's inception.

According to its official fact sheet, the USAFWS teaches graduate-level instructor courses that provide the world's most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment. The goals of the courses are to train students to be tactical experts in their combat specialty while also learning the art of battle-space dominance. Weapons School graduates are extensively familiar not only with the weapons platform or system they have been trained in through their career path, but also in how all Air Force and Department of Defense assets can be employed in concert to achieve synergistic effects.

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