Talk:Forward air control

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Comments on prior article (since removed)[edit]

More work...

We need to summarise the background of FACs/TACPs and list the different types of FAC both historically and contemporarily with separate pages for individual examples.

The FAC works in the joint force environment, where commonality of equipment and procedures is difficult to achieve and providing an accurate depiction here needs co-ordination too.

I am working in the background to make my contribution and hope that those who have their own specialist knowledge can do the same.

The first line in the NATO FAC training manual refers to ‘Safety of own Troops’ but we all know that the way to win the war is to close with the enemy as fast as possible and kill him. In doing so the FAC lives on a fine line between success and failure.

FAC equipment and deployments are varied so I hope we can garner as much data as we can to make this subject as interesting as its history.


This page needs alot of work but I added the USMC heading so that Non US types don't get the wrong impression. It would probably be a good idea to break this out by Country and then service. --Looper5920 21:08, 14 December 2005 (UTC)


There seems to be a lot about the FAC's qualifications, but not much about what one is, what he does, what equipment he uses and what he does with it, etc. Ojw 14:41, 26 February 2006 (UTC)


Agree. What is presented is inaccurate to the degree that it implies that its description is complete. The primary function of the FAC is accomplishment of mission, not force protection. "Safety of troops" is a mission, not a function, and one of many that FACs have served (albeit arguably one of the most important). Also USAF FACs, for instance, did more than direct close air support. In Southeast Asia alone is a complete history virtually ignored here (Ravens, Coveys, Nails, DELTAs). The concept of "Primary" and "Secondary" only relates to a single service in a limited period. And the Misty FACs were "fast FACs"--not FACs per se. For that matter, the Killer Scouts of Desert Storm were FACs by another name. Lots of work needed.


Article concerns The following was transferred from the article space by NeoFreak:

The Info on the Marines is flawed FACs are not the only Marines Trained in CAS. FACs are pilots trained in CAS, but Ground Combat Officers and Staff NCOs, MOS 0369, 0321, 0871, that complete the Marine Corps' TACP course are also JTACs MOS 9986. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 38.115.60.50 (talkcontribs)


FAC (USAF) Looks like this article could use some help. I would like to help -- my father was a USAF FAC in Viet Nam and I have some information I can share. --Signal32X 17:30, 3 March 2006 (CST)


Indeed- this article claims that only USMC personnel are FACs. Sure wasn't the case when I was USAF SP in late 1970s. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 63.240.122.161 (talkcontribs) 19:05 UTC, March 14, 2006


  • Doctrine has changed sice the 70's. Only the USMC now use the term FAC. All of the other services use the term JTAC. If you want to add a history section then by all means do so--Looper5920 19:39, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

British Royal Marines; RAF

I was a British Royal Marine FAC between 1979 and 1994 and worked with the USMC in Europe and the USA on many occasions as well as many other NATO services in the course of my duty.

The official name may have changed but the job remains the same.

The primary function of the FAC is the safety of our own troops during an air attack when an FAC is in the locality of the attack. Modern communications and the advent of the laser and GPS has inegrated the job into the modern battlefield environment.

I feel the term FAC Forward Air Controller should remain as a separate entry covering the history and operations up to the time the designation changed. I am more than happy to add information to fill the gaps with many photos.

My late father was an RAF Navigator in 223 Sqn 100 Gp in WW2 flying in B24s that came from the USAAF instead of the RAF ones and I have much information to be added from his records including charts, logs and photos. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Martynwg (talkcontribs) 13:49 UTC, May 14, 2006


Confusing for nonmilitary readers

Correct me if I'm wrong, but reading this article and the TACP article I understand:

  • FACs are now JTACs, except in the USMC.
  • USAF JTACs form units called TACPs.
  • Enlisted TACP members are called ROMADs.
  • Officer TACP members are ALOs.

That's a lot of alphabet soup.

Now I'd like to know:

  • What would I call an enlisted USAF FAC? JTAC/ROMAD/TACP?
  • What would I call an officer? "Officer so-and-so over there is a Joint Tactical Air Control Tactical Air Control Party Air Liason Officer"
  • Are officer FACs always attached to TACPs?
  • How do Combat Controllers fit in the picture? Aren't they also FACs?

Jigen III 06:10, 25 March 2007 (UTC)


Nearly al the links in the reference section are broken (only the one on standardization works to me)... Ouch Faenglor (talk) 00:35, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


Proposed Merge[edit]

  • DisagreeThese articles should not be merged. While a FAC is a JTAC a JTAC is not necessarily a FAC. Also, outside of US doctrine a FAC is sometimes airborne which is much different. While similiar, and I realize the articles need work, there are enough differences to keep them separate. --Looper5920 23:47, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

  • But shouldn't the main article be about the topic of forward air control in general? If the details of particular military forces' organizations and procedures get long, then they can be broken off into separate articles. But by default, we don't need a separate stub for every specific title of FAC, JTAC, etc. of every nation. (I just moved Forward Observer to artillery observer, and merged the stubs Forward Observation Officer and Joint Fires Observer into it—looks good) Michael Z. 2006-07-15 00:08 Z

Disagree also. The articles should not be merged. The term FAC is still widely used in NATO. --80.136.155.129 08:35, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


Disagree. JTAC is US specific. We are already overrun with endless meta-discussions trying to neuter every single phrase in human existence when people likely to research a topic will likely search for a specific term such as JTAC.--Buckboard 06:29, 13 September 2006 (UTC)


Disagree as well. Especially because a FAC needs a higher level of CAS profeciency to qualify as a FAC. The US trains its JTACs to lower standards than those accepted in NATO as minimum FAC standards. It is a bit more than a "potato vs. potato" discussion :)


Disagree: Forward Air Controllers and Forward Air Guides have been different jobs done by different people with different training. A FAC is usually an Air Force pilot cross-trained into ground force doctrine. A FAG (which has apparently be renamed a JTAC) is a foot soldier who has been trained to interact with pilots. If anything should be done, the article should be split in two to reflect this.

Georgejdorner (talk) 04:15, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Criticisms[edit]

I would consider adding examples of friendly fire incident where either FAC made mistakes or were ignored. e.g. the case that has just being ruled 'a criminal act'. 217.7.209.108 13:25, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sure you are referring to this incident. I'm not aware of any particular instance in which it was the failing of the "doctrine" or concept of forward air control itself that has lead to any deaths, esp criminally neglegent ones. This is for the coverage of the doctrine itself so unless these were the result of this doctrine or capability being the direct culprit (as it was not in the cited story) then I don't really think it belongs in this article. NeoFreak 15:26, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Partial Blueprint for Development[edit]

Let me begin by stating that because I worked as support personnel for an American FAC unit, I admittedly have a narrow point of view. I realize that other nations have also used FACs, though I don't even know whom they were. Nevertheless, here's what I see needed for American FACs.

1) Coverage of U. S. Army FACs during World War II.

2) Coverage of USMC FACs (if any) during WW II.

3) Korean War FACs. I know they existed because I have met one. He was Army, but I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't other programs, other service branches.

4) In America's Vietnam War, there were at least 50 FAC callsigns used; that's a lot of units, mostly U. S. Air Force. They worked in three countries: South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. There were also fledgling South Vietnamese and Lao FAC efforts under USAF auspices.

This article needs to be broken out into sections to make it comprehensible. It needs a lot of research. It probably needs to have a lot of links leading to a lot of callsigns/units.

Recommended resources: Hit My Smoke: Forward Air Controllers in Southeast Asia by Jan Churchill. Go to www.ravens.org and work the links listed on the site.

And for what's it worth, I am writing a Wikipedia article on Raven FACs.

Georgejdorner (talk) 04:15, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

US-centric?[edit]

Article is heavily weighted on the side of U.S. doctrine regarding close air support. --Born2flie (talk) 17:55, 23 May 2009 (UTC)


I am recording the history I find. Additional sources about other nations are always welcome. In the meantime, I have covered British, German, Australian, French, and Indian FACs. I anticipate covering New Zealanders, Lao, Vietnamese, and Khmer, as well as additional coverage on Australians and French.

If the history of forward air control does happen to turn out to be mainly an American one, what then? Discard the subject as not being amenable to NPOV? Or distort history to satisfy a politically correct view of NPOV? Or accept reality?

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:08, 23 May 2009 (UTC)


I would be extremely surprised if the history did turn out to be US-centric, given that all modern armies utilize it. Skinny87 (talk) 18:11, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

I do not know of any present day airborne forward air controllers. To the best of my understanding, today's "forward air controllers" work in TACPs on the ground. So, yes, forward air control systems have become widespread in many armies. However, the history of the airborne forward air controller, as I have researched thus far, is U.S.-centric. It was principally an American tool in World War II, was revived for Korea, and reached its epitome in the heaviest bombing campaign in history in Indochina. I am not finding any large FAC commitments by other nations' air forces over that time span.

Once again, I would like to state that I would welcome any tips to any airborne FAC history. Quite frankly, I think it would be more interesting if more nations were represented.

Georgejdorner (talk) 21:29, 23 May 2009 (UTC)


The basic problem is that the article, which is on the practice of 'Forward air control' goes into great detail on the experiences of individual US FAC units. This material belongs in articles on those units so that this article can be focused on what FAC is. Nick-D (talk) 00:02, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
If the topic is U.S. and U.K.-centric, to the point of excluding nearly all other countries, then perhaps the article needs to be renamed to show that. Otherwise, the article cannot survive without the accusation of POV when it predominantly covers the aforementioned military experience. Which, by weight alone, attempts to smother the discussion of any other countries in the article.
By airborne, I'm assuming you mean, in an aircraft. While that is no longer the desired method, it isn't an entirely extinct animal (FAC-A). I am not studied up on other military services, so I can't expand the article in that direction. However, it does seem that the article's references are entirely too limited to present an expanded presentation beyond U.K. and U.S. experience. --Born2flie (talk) 05:57, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Ah, but the search goes on. Even as I am accused of juryrigging history so that it is non-NPOV, I Google FAC-A, as mentioned above, and up pops....a U. S. centric definition.

Come on, people, history is what it is. You can't torture the facts to achieve a politically correct artificial NPOV. I am covering any and every nationality of FAC I can find--and I am being accused of smothering the ones I don't find. I can't invent history. If I wanted to write fiction, I would log off here and turn back to writing my next novel.

If I follow the line of reasoning expressed on this page to reductio ad absurdum, I cannot write a history of American baseball because it isn't NPOV. The Albanians and Armenians and Andorrans aren't represented, you know?

Having said that, the Northwest Europe section is a nice addition to this article. It contains a lead to British FAC squadrons; I wasn't aware of them before.

Now if I had a lead to today's airborne FACs, I might be able to shape up a section on them--unless, of course, someone better qualified does it first. That is, if there still are any airborne FACs.

Georgejdorner (talk) 07:16, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


George, no-one is accusing you of 'juryrigging' history, or of having an American bias. We're just expressing concerns that the article, not you, currently has a US-centric bias because there is too much detail on individual American squadrons and so forth. No-one is asking you to rewrite or invent history - we all just need to look for more sources on forward air controllers, especially ones that can actually define what one is, and then ensure all the countries that conduct FAC, or have done so are evenly represented - no one is asking you to include countries that never did FAC. And if it's currently on the US military that conduct FAC, although I find that unlikely, then that's just how the article will have to end. But at the moment we just need to look for other sources - I'm on the way to the British Library in a few days, and I'll see what it has; a history of the Army Air Corps would be a nice addition to this article, I think. Skinny87 (talk) 07:37, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Is FAC called anything else today, and any different names in the past? I'm wondering if that's why we're having trouble finding non-US sources. Skinny87 (talk) 07:41, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, to start off, I've just found one book on googlebooks - 'Air power at the battlefront: allied close air support in Europe, 1943-45' by Ian Gooderson. I'll keep looking. Skinny87 (talk) 07:43, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Skinny:

As you typed the above statement, there was one (1) American squadron listed in the Vietnam section. I have been removing the squadrons. I transferred the article on the 19th TASS to its home article. As soon as I complete this, I will remove the listed squadron also.

As I remarked in the article, terminology is ambiguous on this subject. I have limited the article to airborne forward air controllers, leaving the ground-pounder FACs to be covered elsewhere. I don't know of any other synonyms for the subjects of this article.

When you check that book, keep in mind that close air support does not always involve the use of an airborne FAC, nor even a TACP (with or without ground FAC).

I do believe I checked the book in question via Amazon's "peek inside" feature.

So, yes, Skinny, you are now involved in a slippery and ambiguous bit of research. Welcome to the madhouse. Georgejdorner (talk) 09:25, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


George, Skinny87 pretty much spelled out my concerns for the article. At the very least, if you cannot find any other references, then you should at least include a caveat in the article to show that it only covers FAC as addressed in the U.S., U.K., and basically NATO doctrine, because nobody else utilizes the doctrine, or the preponderance of references is U.S.- and/or U.K.-centric.
FAC-A is the current doctrinal term for an airborne FAC. The point of my pointing out the FAC-A designation is your statement of not knowing whether any CAS controllers are currently employed while airborne. Well, the FAC-A is; mystery solved. --Born2flie (talk) 21:02, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Born2flie,

You are dodging the issue. To repeat, what do we do if our historical research shows FAC usage is primarily a U. S. operation? As I am reading your replies, we should point out that the article is non-NPOV because the history of forward air control is principally an American one. Guess what? The contents of the article will show that very point.

And if FAC-As are still operating, where? With whom? Don't just drop a bald assertion on us without proof or reference. Give us at least a lead. Until then, the mystery is definitely unsolved.

I reference everything I write as I write. I don't ask anyone to take my statements on faith. Given that, I think it is fair for me to ask others to do the same.

Georgejdorner (talk) 02:08, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


To all:

The Vietnam War section is presently a gaping hole.

Now that I have dropped the squadron by squadron approach to coverage, I was anticipating filling in that section with an integrated narrative. Unless someone has a better approach.

Georgejdorner (talk) 02:08, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


Dodging the issue? Now I'm inclined to believe that you're just ignoring what I've actually said because I'm not saying the things you want and/or the way you want:

If the topic is U.S. and U.K.-centric, to the point of excluding nearly all other countries, then perhaps the article needs to be renamed to show that.

and

At the very least, if you cannot find any other references, then you should at least include a caveat in the article to show that it only covers FAC as addressed in the U.S., U.K., and basically NATO doctrine, because nobody else utilizes the doctrine, or the preponderance of references is U.S.- and/or U.K.-centric.

The USAF and USMC both utilize FAC-A, but no longer in a dedicated Squadron format. The animal has changed. Perhaps that is why you're not finding what you expect when you look and where you expect it. For an initial reference to an other than U.S./U.K. model of airborne FAC, see Firepower in Limited War, page 185. You can find it on Google Books. --Born2flie (talk) 06:21, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

But born2flie, I don't find Baseball listed in Wikipedia as American baseball; it's just plain baseball. And we are dealing here with Forward air control (airborne), not Anglo-American forward air control (airborne). And the presentation of what we find will be self-evident to the reader.

And speaking of Forward air control (airborne)-- I do believe a move to that name would serve as a screen for incoming info and a clarifier of the article's intent.

Now, to change the subject:

I am sorry we have been talking past one another. To be fair, I may have laid some heat on you that was undue; for that, I apologize. However, several times now, I have run into situations where NPOV--the portrayal of actual fact, as objective as a fish on a plate--has been slanted to political correctness. When I point out these situations, I never get a response.

This has built up a certain level of frustration in me, which I may have released on you. (All these weasel words from me, because we tend to be blind to ourselves in the heat of the moment.) If I have been hard on you, I wasn't aiming at you specifically, but at a pattern of behavior I find intensely irritating.

So, to move on: nice catch on the Soviet use of airborne FACs in Afghanistan, and also on the present RAF FAC-As. Your coverage of the more chronologically recent use of FACs fills in neatly with my research on prior use of FAC-As.

Georgejdorner (talk) 17:33, 25 May 2009 (UTC) Skinnie87,

You might want to check out "army cooperation squadrons". It is a term for FAC squadrons used in the RAAF, and might be common to all the Commonwealth air forces.

Georgejdorner (talk) 17:33, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


This article has to be US centric b/c since World War II it has been the US that has driven innovation in the air to ground arena. I can tell you for a fact that UK and AUS doctrine aligns with US doctrine for a reason. We are the only western nation that has been practicing and perfecting CAS in 50 years. I agreed that the US unit history portions of this article had to go but I do not agree that Commeonwealth nations should be highlighted in this article after WWII since their contributions have been minimal to say the least.--Looper5920 (talk) 19:45, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Having just read both this and the JTAC article, I have to agree that both are highly US-centric. They refer to current US docrine as if it is part of the definition of the role - eg the second sentence of the lead, "He or she is trained to request, plan, brief and execute CAS operations both for Low Level and Medium/High Level operations." My interest is in the use of the Tentacle system in world war II, which does not get a mention, but WW2 forward air controllers certainly did not control high level operations.
Having read both articles, I am still completely in the dark as to the difference between a FAC and a JTAC - the definitions in the two articles are almost identical. THe FAC article seems to emphasise airborne controllers, but that is not stated. JTAC seems to me to be one nation's (or likely NATO) jargon, whereas "forward air controller" is plain English. Cyclopaedic (talk) 22:15, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Potential problem[edit]

I do believe we are in danger of sinking into a semantic swamp here (see immediately above). A lot of the problem has to do with military jargon; a lot of it has to do with defining the reach of this article. Some revisiting of definitions is needed.

  • Forward air controller (airborne): an individual airborne pilot directing air strikes from his aerial platform.
  • Forward air controller (ground): an individual trained to direct air strikes from the ground. May be come from either ground forces or air force, pilot or not. Formerly called Forward air guide in some instances. This seems to have morphed into the present day JTAC.
  • TACP or Tactical Air Control Party: an integrated team of specialists directing air strikes.

I see this present article as Forward air controller (airborne). But whether it is to become that, or a more general article should be a matter of consensus. So, let me pose the question and call for a poll:

Poll[edit]

Should the present article be limited to the role of the Forward air controller (airborne)?

  • Agree: For the reasons of clarity, and to keep the article a manageable size.Georgejdorner (talk) 03:07, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support. All of the information that was in the article when I first read it was about FAC(A) history. If we try to turn it into a general article about forward air control, then I feel we should revisit merging the JTAC and TACP articles. Caveat: If it remains solely about airborne forward air control, then renaming or moving it to Airborne forward air control may be warranted. -- Born2flie (talk) 01:06, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  • No, unless it it renamed it would not then cover the subject that its title indicates, and in than case an article about forward air control in general would still be warranted as Airborne FACs are only part of the story. NetherSarum (talk) 08:10, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose.  This article is named Forward Air Control, and should comprehensively cover that subject. It is not limited to airborne FAC, and I can see no reason why it should be. I do think it is arguable that we don't need an article on Forward Air Control at all, and should just redirect it to Close Air Support. I can't think of any material that would appear in a good article on Forward Air Control that wouldn't also be relevant in the article on Close Air Support, and that article is already much better than this one. If anyone then wants an article on the role of the Forward Air Controller as defined by US doctrine, or indeed on the role of the FAC(A), they are welcome to it - so long as ordinary users can easily find the information they expect about what Forward Air Control is, how it works and its history without being confronted by a heap of jargon. Cyclopaedic (talk) 10:35, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose.  agree with Cyclopaedic —Preceding unsigned comment added by TMHPin (talkcontribs) 08:36, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
  • This vote is premature - please note that polling is not a substitute for discussion and decisions generally shouldn't be made by votes. Nick-D (talk) 10:54, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Feel free to create an article on FAC-A/ABFAC, but this one is on the overarching term FAC. The differences (and relationship to the term JTAC) are reasonably well set out in the references, particularly 4 and 5 and FAC is clearly defined (at least for NATO nations) in Ref 59. NetherSarum (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
An article shouldn't be on a term: it should be on a subject. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The subject is foward air control, not the term Forward Air Controller as currently used by the US/NATO. Cyclopaedic (talk) 14:39, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree, in my comment above I would have been better to use 'subject of' in place of 'term' - I'd edit it but then your comment would be left hanging. NetherSarum (talk) 11:09, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Your unilateral decision is highhanded, and possibly counter-productive.

Georgejdorner (talk) 22:35, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Please note that there has already been an unanimous consensus that the Forward Air Control and Joint terminal attack controller articles should not be merged. Scroll above for details.

The present question is whether or not to include ground Forward air controllers.

And while your new addition is indeed a well-referenced summary of today's doctrine, it is historically inaccurate. Covey FACs, Blind Bat, Raven FACs, and others, directed interdiction strikes against the Ho Chi Minh Trail for several years. Re: "Hit My Smoke" by Churchill, or any number of other books on the air war in Vietnam.

Georgejdorner (talk) 08:44, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

As you say the usage today is absolutely clear. It's occasionally limited usage in the past by one country is no cause to limit this article. As I said before if you want a standalone article of airborne FACs there is nothing to stop you creating one and cross referencing it to this article. NetherSarum (talk) 09:15, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
It certainly isn't absolutely clear to me, even having looked at notes 4, 5 and 59 as recommended. The article on JTAC is little more than a stub. What's the difference between an FAC and a JTAC? The JTAC article says they are the same thing:"Forward Air Controllers or JTAC's". And isn't a JTAC doing forward air control? Cyclopaedic (talk) 15:05, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Let me see if I can explain for a Lawyer. De facto there is no difference, the term JTAC is a US invention not least to overcome interservice politics (specifically the ambition of the USAF that FACs be Air Force personnel), brought in in 2003 in Joint Publication 309.3. The historical, NATO standard and official term in English speaking countries outside the US is FAC (qv JFACTSU (UK) and FACDU (Aus)). The term JTAC is unsurprisingly increasingly entering the military colloquial lexicon outside the US due to the predominance of US Air for CAS in Iraq and Afghanistan. This predominance also why FACDU has gone for JTAC certification as, being outside NATO, they were not certified under the STANAG.
To my mind the separate stub for JTAC just adds to this confusion. NetherSarum (talk) 09:41, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Still clear as mud to me. The article is supposed to be about forward air control; isn't that what a JTAC does? Cyclopaedic (talk) 20:00, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes that is what a JTAC does - hence my comment about the separate stub adding to the confusion, since a JTAC is just one country's name for one means of providing forward air control, terminal attack guidance or whatever the term is for that particular time, place and nationality. Essentially ensuring that air delivered ordnance arrives at the correct place and time without injuring ones own side. NetherSarum (talk) 08:01, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
In that case having separate articles for JTAC and Forward Air Contoller would infringe WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary since it requires articles on the same subject under different titles to be merged. Cyclopaedic (talk) 10:56, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

When I served with the Raven FACs from 1969 to 1971, the term JTAC had not yet been invented. There were Forward Air Controllers in the air and Forward Air Guides on the ground.

Present usage does not rewrite history.

Also, this is an encyclopedia for general usage, not for the military cognoscente. STANAG, FACDU, etcetera are going to have be rendered intelligible for the general reader.

Georgejdorner (talk) 22:35, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


What is the article about ?[edit]

Just started to have a look at the article following a request from one of the editors. One question leaps out after just reading the intro - it makes not mention at all of forward air control. Apart from going straight into acronymn land it appears to be a description of a Forward Air Controller which as far as I know is not the same as the concept of forward air control. I wont read the rest of the article yet because I would just like to know what this article is about first. Thank you. MilborneOne (talk) 19:20, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. I think we need to distinguish the subject of forward air control from the definition of various US/NATO doctrinal roles such as FAC, JTAC and ALO. My only slight reservation is that I have now looked at the Close Air Support article, and it contains a lot more about forward air control than this article does! Perhaps the Forward Air Control article should be a redirect to Close Air Support, and we could then have as many articles as are requred to cover the detailed US/Nato job descriptions - so long as each one makes it clear what it is covering and where the main subject article is. Cyclopaedic (talk) 19:55, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

The "lead" is apparently a military job description of the present day forward air controller. I say apparently, because even though I once served in a forward air control unit, I am not quite sure.

Like all boiler plate military prose, it consists of its own gobbledygook. It is also historically incorrect on several counts;

1) FACs have worked air interdiction before, as on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

2) Other target marking methods have been used: tracer bullets, marking rockets, smoke grenades.

Then there is the basic difference that an airborne FAC can see things a ground FAC can't. Also an airborne FAC needs piloting skills a ground FAC doesn't. I thought (and think) it make sense to separate out these two. I asked for consensus about this, though. NetherSarum has ignored this request and unilaterally decided the course of this article.

So, we have a runaway editor here, which is a pity. He comes up with some nice historical research along with his impenetrable military prose.

Georgejdorner (talk) 19:42, 27 May 2009 (UTC)


I don't have a view about whether airborne and ground-based FAC's need separate articles, but I'm with MilborneOne here: the article is suppoesed to be about forward air control, and is getting diverted into dealing with job roles rather than its subject. Cyclopaedic (talk) 19:55, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Yesterday the article was assessed as B-Class on the MilHist scale. I have removed taht rating as I don't think it can meet the Content requirement until the content matches the title. Cyclopaedic (talk) 18:06, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Still find it hard to get pass the intro, cant find any real history on the forward air control role (either airborne of ground) or at least any that is clear. Perhaps all the detailed history of american units should be removed elsewhere, and I am not sure why every callsign ever used is encyclopedic. I think we need to stop editing the article and work out what is going on and what is needed. MilborneOne (talk) 20:42, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I have asked some of the recent editors to stop editing the article until a consensus is reached on what the article is about and a clear indication of what is needed. Thank you. MilborneOne (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Despite my polite request to stop editing the article it appears that User:NetherSarum has ignored the request, I will protect the article from editing if more edits are made. Thank you. MilborneOne (talk) 21:07, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Article direction[edit]

We need some agreement between you all about what the article is about and its contents. It was difficult to understand the situation with the article being constantly edited which is why I asked editors to stop for the moment and discuss. Suggestions and comments welcome. MilborneOne (talk) 08:54, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I propose the following:
  1. this article becomes a redirect to Close air support which bemomes a main article on the subject
  2. the content of this article is moved to a new article Forward Air Controller which is limited to the role, training and equipment of an FAC as defined by particular military forces. A masthead note would say something like "This article is about the role of the Forward Air Controller as defined by various military forces, which excludes other job roles related to forward air control. For information on forward air control generally, see Close air support. Other job roles related to forward air control include Tactical Air Control Party, joint terminal attack controller, tentacle," etc
  3. there are as many sub-articles as people want on particular job roles and tactical units, but they are all sub-articles of Close air support and each has a headnote making that clear; information is not duplicated, and information relating to forward air control generally is added to the close air support article
  4. terminal attack control also redirects to close air support.
I'll expect a laser-guided bomb through my window at any moment. Cyclopaedic (talk) 16:25, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Although you make good points I'm not sure that that would address the argument raised by one or two that the article should be confined to Airborne Forward Air Control(ers). In particular your clause 'excludes other job roles related to forward air control" gives me concern, those who follow US doctrine might argue that only a qualified pilot can be a FAC - something that is not the case elsewhere. You could then end up with an article on JTAC and one on FAC where they are essentially the same thing - just different country's terminology. I am (unsurprisingly) generally happy with the current shape of the article but would like to see it expanded to include Soviet/WARPAC and Francophone sections. NetherSarum (talk) 18:14, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I am glad we are finally stopped at a point where we can gain consensus.

I was the one who suggested the possibility of breaking out Forward air control (airborne) as a matter of practicality. I proposed it as an open question, to be settled by consensus. There being no backing for it, it seems a dead idea.

The present article could serve as a valuable adjunct to Close air support. While the CAS article tells what happened, the Forward air control article could tell how the system of directing tactical air strikes developed.

The article as it stands needs some revision. Based on commentary above, it is apparent that the lead doesn't work. A new lead is needed, giving a precis of forward air control procedure that is applicable to all eras and air forces. The difficulty is in finding references to cite. Everything I have found so far on forward air control assumes the reader knows what forward air control is.

The present lead could serve as an example of present day doctrine. Its chronological place should be near the end of the article. It should be rendered into language readable by the lay reader.

The history of forward air control illustrates its erratic and piecemeal development, and should be sectioned off under 'History'. I happen to be rounding out the Vietnam War section offline, and can supply that. I hope other editors can contribute such history as they find.

This can be a major article on a little known military speciality. Forward air controllers have an impact on the battlefield way out of proportion to their numbers.

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:53, 30 May 2009 (UTC)


The article seems reasonably satisfactory if as it is - the main complaints seem to come from George based on his experience of US terminology which does differ rather from that used elsewhere. Frankly the locking of the article based on one person's view seems heavyhanded. Cyclopaedic's comments that this is not a dictionary are well made, merge this and JTAC and carry on. TMHPin (talk) 08:41, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

If you think my protecting the article until an agreement is reached was heavyhanded you are welcome to ask another admin to review the situation. I was asked to look at the dispute and find some common ground but that was not possible while a large number of edits were being made to the article. I did ask nicely for editors to stop and review. Nobody is in a hurry we just need to gain some views and reach a consensus. MilborneOne (talk) 11:13, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I have unprotected the article to allow some co-operative editing, please discuss any major changes on this page. MilborneOne (talk) 19:04, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I have posted an expanded history of the largest forward air control effort in history, the Vietnam War.

This is not intended to be a major change, but only an expansion.

Georgejdorner (talk) 19:29, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


That edit has rather unbalanced the article - I suggest that this is not the place for a monograph on your wartime experinces - there may be a place of a longer piece on FACs in Vietnam but as a separate linked article, but as it is it thows this one completely out of balance. The entry here needs to be edited down considerably TMHPin (talk) 06:48, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Your reversion also unbalanced the article. You removed the information that the Vietnam War was the largest forward air control effort in military history, for instance.

When I replaced this section of the article, I figured it would be edited. In the past, I have had Wikipedia editors who tightened up my work, and I was delighted.

And when I rewrote this section, I left out many missions that were only marginally forward air control efforts, such as the Blind Bat sorties over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. There was an attempt to control length, and to avoid unbalancing the overall article.

We are supposed to be trying for a consensus here. Why not let the other editors take a look at what I have written, instead of arriving late in the game and appointing yourself an instant editorial committee of one?

As it is, the replacement section can be seen on my user page. Comments from other editors are welcomed.

Georgejdorner (talk) 08:42, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

As I said above because it is overlong in proportion to the rest of the page. You were asked to discuss making major changes on this page - given the large size of your edit its would be best to do so before making it. Your comment about Vietnam being that largest FAC effort in history is at least debatable, given the amount that has taken place in AFG in recent time. You might consider my suggestion of a separate page if you feel that FAC in VN merits such a large entry. TMHPin (talk) 09:21, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Largest bombing campaign in history, with the majority of ordnance placed via forward air control. I don't see what's debatable. It is all right there in the proposed new section, on my user page, complete with references. And there are a lot of duplicatory references I didn't list. They are as close as Google. That's my side of any debate.

Your side, TMHPin, is a bland assertion without evidence. I have proof; you don't. So where's the debate?

And if you had bothered to recheck the version on my user's page, you would find it has been shortened considerably.

While we are at it, why does some history belong in this article, and some not? What's the rationale for that?

Georgejdorner (talk) 03:07, 7 June 2009 (UTC)


I have posted an updated section for the Vietnam War. I have tried to make it complete without being exhaustive or exhausting.

Georgejdorner (talk) 05:20, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


It seems my last encyclopedia article is deemed too enclyclopedic--even though it has been cut to the point where important info has been left out. Such as origin and development of night time forward air control.

There is also a question pending about the history component of this article. At present, part of it is being arbitrarily lopped off into another article while the rest remains. The result is comparable to writing the history of 20th century warfare and shoving World War II over into another article for reasons of space.

Logically speaking, there are two solutions I can see, based on Wikipedia:PAPER#Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia.

1) Move ALL history of this article, into a new article or articles entitled History of forward air control.

Or:

2) Write a digest of the history, noting only advances/changes in the role, thus shortening the entire history section. The present history would then be moved into History of forward air control article(s).

Until we figure out an approach to history that works, I would ask that editing on history cease. The history we presently have is referenced, and thus, by Wikipedia's rules, not subject to deletion.

THMPin, I am honoring your point of view about article length by proposing possible solutions. I hope you will honor my request on editing.

Georgejdorner (talk) 18:26, 16 June 2009 (UTC)