ASOS represents 181st on vital mission

  • Published
  • By Lt. Brian Weitz
  • Indiana Air National Guard
     One of the Indiana Air Guard's newest units has now deployed to Southwest Asia. Terre Haute's 181st Intelligence Wing stood up the 113th ASOS (Air Support Operations Squadron) following the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) of 2005.
     The mission of the 181st IW's 113th ASOS is to advise ground commanders on air power tactics, establish command and control communications, and provide pilots with precision terminal attack guidance.
     The 113th ASOS deployed with the 37th IBCT (Infantry Brigade Combat Team) to conduct a Security Force Assistance Team mission which is entirely a National Guard assignment. The 37th IBCT is made up of Army Guard units from Ohio and Michigan.
     Although this will be the first deployment as a unit, several of the members have already deployed and served with distinction in combat. Most other members have deployed in prior career fields. ASOS Air Liaison Officer Major Matthew Perkins expressed how motivated the unit is with every qualified member volunteering for this deployment.
     The time and effort required to become a fully qualified JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) ready to control air strikes takes approximately four to five years. Training is intense and begins with a one week 1-level course conducted in Terre Haute for those interested in joining the unit. The 1-level course exposes the members to the rigors of training and gives them and the unit a chance to see if it will be a good fit.
     What follows is a 14 week Technical Training School in Hurlburt Field Florida. Failure rate is high with many trainees dropping out either from academics, fitness, or injuries. After the technical school the training does not stop. Unit members have the opportunity to train in schools such as the Army's Ranger, Sniper, Pathfinder, and Air Assault along with Air Force schools such as SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape).
     The ASOS mission has provided the Indiana Guard another chance to excel on deployment and is giving Airmen a good opportunity to advance their career either through the enlisted ranks or by commissioning and becoming an Air Liaison Officer.