On her third day of rigorous training by the Air Force, the latest female airman to try out for an elite tactical air control party elected to drop out. Having begun TACP training on August 6 upon finishing the battlefield airman prep course, she ”self-eliminated.” The woman will now try out for a spot in the Air Force medical corps, according to Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, who heads the Air Education and Training Command.
On August 11, the AETC public affairs office confirmed that the female airman had begun the training, but was not aware she had already dropped out. According to Roberson, another female airman began the battlefield airman prep course on Aug. 14, having graduated from basic military training, while hoping to join the TACP.
“Physical standards for battlefield airmen are both challenging and relevant,” Roberson said, according to the Air Force Times. ”Women comprise 19 percent of the Air Force ― the highest percentage of women in any service. Being a battlefield airman is tough. Not everyone wants to be a battlefield airman, but those who have the desire and qualifications will be afforded an opportunity to serve in those specialties, regardless of other factors.”
A third female airman failed the battlefield airman prep course and retrained into security forces, Roberson said. She had also wanted to join TACP. So far in 2017, the only enlisted battlefield job women have attempted to join has been TACP, he said.
Two other women previously tried but failed to become TACPs. Having sustained a leg injury, one was forced to drop out and returned to her previous specialty. The other woman did not meet the entry standards to begin TACP training.
Tactical Air Control airmen deploy with ground troops from other services, where they coordinate with aircraft overhead during combat and direct airstrikes on the battlefield.