AST InformationNEW: Detailed Phase by Phase AST Information
Advanced Skills Training
The training pipeline for Combat Controllers has evolved again recently and the concept appears to have the capability of producing a vastly improved force multiplier for the vital ground air interface within the Special Operations arena. The basic Combat Control student will attend a two week CCT orientation at Lackland AFB, TX, Air Traffic Control school Keesler AFB, MS, US Army Airborne school Ft Benning, Ga., USAF Survival school Spokane, WA. and the last course these students will attend prior to awarding of the 3 levels will be Combat Control School at Pope, AFB NC.
After completion of Combat Control School and awarding of their 3 level, these graduates will proceed to Advanced Skills Training (AST) at Hurlburt Fld, Fl where Special Tactics (ST) training will be provided to build on the skills they have learned during the CCT training pipeline and prepare them for up coming real world deployments. AST's goal is for these new Controllers to leave AST as mission ready Combat Controllers. This will alleviate time, resources and man-hours that are not currently available within Special Tactics Squadrons (STS) due to current and forecasted ops temp.
The AST schedule is a twelve-month program designed to afford the most opportune training to insure these students suceed in their endeavor to become mission ready prior to joining their individual STS teams. This schedule will be broken down into four Phases of training. These phases are designed to provide each student with the necessary skills to advance to the next level of AST.
Phase 1, Water.
The first two weeks will involve base and squadron in processing with instruction covering Water Phase safety, physical training (PT), water confidence, and classroom instruction. AST students will be given their initial issue of Pre-Scuba equipment and will be introduced to the training curriculum that is structured to prepare them to complete US Army Special Forces SCUBA School. The remainder of water phase will involve daily pool training, open water fin training, decompression and dive physics classroom instruction and PT in preparation for SCUBA school. The last portion of Water phase will be off station TDY to SCUBA school at Key West, Fl. Of the four phases of training this will be the most physically demanding PT wise. But this is necessary since students must complete SCUBA school to attain mission ready status.
Phase 2, Employment
This phase will cover some of our primary ways to get to work within Special Tactics. US Army, High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) school at Yuma AZ will be this phases centerpiece of instruction. After returning from HALO school AST will use the remaining training days within Employment Phase for local orientation jumps. These jumps will involve both static-line and HALO day and night operations. These events will familiarize students with ST air operation Operating Instructions (OI) and gear configuration. Employment phase will also include amphibious training events, helicopter Alternate Insertion/Extraction (AIE) and various navigation methods. This training will prepare AST students for their next two phases of AST training.
Phase 3, Ground
This phase will accomplish a majority of the CCT Career Field Education and Training Program (CFETP) items. These CCT core skill-training events will include Command and Control, Air Traffic Control, Fixed and Rotary Wing Call for Fire (CFF), Small Unit Tactics, All Terrain Vehicles, and Assault Zone procedures. These training events will take place at the Eglin AFB, Fl., and Ft Bragg, N.C., Ranges.
Phase 4, Special Tactics Certification
The Special Tactics Certification phase formally know as Initial Familiarization (IFAM), will entail ST training encompassing all of the special tactics core missions. These training operations include the total STS concept with the introduction of ST Pararescuemen into these training events. These full mission profile training events will include Air Field seizures operations, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions, High Angle Rescue operations, Rigging Alternate Method Zodiac (RAMZ) training, and CFF training including fixed and rotary wing, convoy escort and urban CFF missions.
Career Development Course (CDC)
AST Students will be issued 5 Level Combat Control CDC's to complete while on station. The AST cadre will monitor their progress and administer Unit Review Exercises (UREs) and conduct review training at specific times during the AST program. The CCT CDC's consist of 2 sets, "A " set consists of 3 volumes and "B" set consists of 4 volumes. During squadron in processing students will be briefed on CDC administration and how they fit into the training system. The 23 STS Unit Training Manager will issue the AST students their AF Form 623s and brief them on how these training records are maintained.
Base/Squadron In Process
During this first two weeks of AST students will be afforded time to in process the 23 STS and Hurlburt Fld, AFB. They will follow the base and squadron inprocessing sheets to expedite this process. As you can see they will be on a restrictive training schedule and after these weeks, our timeline will not allow for time away from the AST program.
It's important that the students understand that this is a new level of training for them and the AST students will be treated as STS operators during this training program. The anticipated throughput for the AST program will be 120 students per year. The AST cadre will be comprised of 32 CCT, Pararescue and Combat Weather instructors with 30 staff members. The AST cadre's job is to present CCT, Pararescue and Combat Weather students with a program that will prepare them to join their individual teams as mission ready Special Tactics operators.
The AST Instructors currently assigned to are:The AST Instructors currently assigned to are:
Capt. Chris Larkin, AST Flight Commander CCT with 16 years service
MSgt Stacey Poland, AST Superintendent, CCT with 21 years of service
MSgt Tony Rodgers, Phase IV, MQT Team Leader, CCT with 18 years in the Air
MSgt (Sel.) Art Cadena, Phase II, Ground Phase Team Leader, CCT with 16
years of service
TSgt Calvin Markham, Phase III, Employment Phase Team Leader, CCT with 15
TSgt Dan Cleek, NCOIC of Curriculum Development, CCT with 14 years of
TSgt Greg Hericks, Phase 1, Water Phase Team Leader, CCT with 13 years in
the Air Force
TSgt Chad Clark, Phase III, Instructor, PJ with 11 years service
TSgt Mike Gray, Phase I, Instructor, PJ with 20+ years service (AFRES)
TSgt (Sel.) Mike West, Phase III, Instructor, CCT with 12 years of service.
SSgt Sam Shindler, Phase I, Instructor, CCT with 8 years of service
SSgt Chris Lugo, Phase I, Instructor, CCT with 6 years of service
SSgt Rick Herrera , Phase IV, Instructor, CCT with 6 years of service
MSgt (Ret) Ron Childress, AST Current Operations, retired Combat Controller
with 22 years service
SMSgt (Ret) Billy Howell, Phase II, Instructor, retired Combat Controller
with 21 years service
SMSgt (Ret) Steve Jones, Phase IV, Instructor, retired Combat Controller
with 24 years service
SMSgt (Ret) John Thompson, Mentor, retired Combat Controller with 24 years
MSgt (Ret) Charlie Clancy, Mentor, retired Combat Controller with 22 years
MSgt (Ret) John "Spike" Gardner, Phase II, Instructor, Combat Controller
with 20 years service