In May I noted that the US Air Force received its first Stryker for the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron. Well, the unit (now with five Strykers) is deploying with the 172nd.
The 3rd ASOS commander, Lt. Col. Russell Smith, said each of the squadron’s five Stryker vehicles is assigned an Army driver and gunman with an Air Force Tactical Air Control Party, the specialized team that manages air space above ground troops and guides reconnaissance and surveillance air support. In the past, the TACP’s traveled in Humvees manned by airmen.
One of the most important advancements in the Stryker’s communication abilities is the advanced technology that erases communication delays between air and ground troops, allowing pilots to get information en route to a target. Commanders say this is especially important in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where enemies, troops and civilians can all be in close range of each other and shift constantly.
This is the first Stryker ASOS deployment, and the Airmen will even be wearing Army uniforms as part of an effort to not be hated so much by the ground pounders. My guess is any animosity will evaporate the first time the flyboys call in some serious death from above against a dug in enemy. Besides, while the Army and Air Force may not see eye to eye, at least they can find some common ground and agree that the Navy just plain sucks.