Two Valor Awards for TACP

By Brian W. Everstine

An Air Force tactical air control party airman received both the Silver Star and Bronze Star medals—both with Valor—for two separate missions during a single deployment to Afghanistan last year.

TSgt. Cam Kelsch, assigned to the 17th Special Tactics Squadron at Fort Benning, Ga., was deployed with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment on April 25, 2018, when his team was tasked with tracking down a high-value target during a night raid in Afghanistan.

When the unit came under attack, Kelsch exposed himself to the fire and called in strikes from an AC-130 circling above, which used its 40 mm cannon to attack targets within 40 meters of the team’s location.

“There’s one thing that Cam had that day that we can’t teach, instruct, or measure,” said Maj. Gen. Vincent K. Becklund, deputy commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, during a ceremony at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, Ga. “The reason we’re here today is because Cam distinguished himself on the battlefield that night through his courage, his selflessness, and his devotion to his teammates.”

Wounded as he dragged a fellow US service member to safety, saving his life, Kelsch continued to call in strikes on more targets about 70 meters away, according to the citation.

He then called on an unidentified ISR aircraft to coordinate simultaneous 500-pound bombs from an F-16 and 105 mm cannon blasts from the AC-130 to take out a final enemy location.

Kelsch also received the Bronze Star with Valor for an undated mission during which he placed himself between an enemy location and his team’s wounded ground force commander.

With enemy in “immediate proximity,” Kelsch eliminated that threat and helped his ground commander recover, according to the citation.

Bow your Heads

Zac Butcher was hospitalized for septic shock and multipe organ failure on 3/13/2019. The infection attacked his entire system, eventually killing him.

Zac Butcher Funeral Update

The viewing will be Sunday, 14 April, from 2-5 and the funeral will be Monday, 15 April, at 10:30.

The location for the viewing and funeral is:
Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral Home and Crematory
1221 North 16th Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Burial services will follow at 1pm at:
Omaha National Cemetery
14250 Schram Road
Omaha, NE 68138

JTACs Capitalize on A-10 Capabilities

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel Stinebrook, a joint terminal attack controller assigned to the 604th Air Support Operations Squadron, right, coordinates with a teammate during close air support training at the Pilsung Range in Gangwan Province, Republic of Korea, Feb. 14, 2018. The training involved a JTAC calling in multiple airstrikes, utilizing the A-10 Thunderbolt II’s bomb and strafing capabilities on a target.

Article in Stars and Stripes

17th STS Building Dedication

More than 40 Airmen, teammates and family members perform memorial push-ups in honor of Master Sgt. Joshua Gavulic, a ST TACP operator with the 17th Special Tactics Squadron, during a building dedication ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., Feb. 23, 2019. More than 60 friends, teammates and family gathered at the newly renamed Master Sgt. Joshua M. Gavulic Human Performance Center as Gavulic’s namesake was forever cemented into Special Tactics and Fort Benning History. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joseph Pick)