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1 ASOG hosts TACP Lightning Challenge

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kansas, performs pull-ups as part of a Tier II Operator Fitness Test during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Riley, Kansas, performs pull-ups as part of a Tier II Operator Fitness Test during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019. The 2019 Lightning Challenge marked the first time the week-long competition had been held since 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, runs while carrying weighted bags as part of a Tier II Operator Fitness Test during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, runs while carrying weighted bags as part of a Tier II Operator Fitness Test during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019. The 2019 Lightning Challenge saw 20 two-man teams compete in various challenges in order to identify the highest performers in the TACP career field. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 9th Air Support Operations Squadron, Ford Hood, Texas, performs a timed two-cone drill as part of a Tier II Operator Fitness Test during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 9th Air Support Operations Squadron, Ford Hood, Texas, performs a timed two-cone drill as part of a Tier II Operator Fitness Test during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019. The Lightning Challenge aims to enhance TACP mission readiness, provide feedback concerning unit training effectiveness, and promote warrior spirit through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., climbs on top of an obstacle during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at JBLM, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Airman assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., climbs on top of an obstacle during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at JBLM, Wash., July 29, 2019. During the challenge, TACP Airmen completed a timed obstacle course consisting of climbing and crawling obstacles as well as multiple weight carries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Murray, Wash., crawls across rolling logs during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Murray, Wash., crawls across rolling logs during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019. During the first day, TACP Airmen completed an obstacle course and Tier II Operator Fitness Test. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., finishes the obstacle course section of the 2019 Lightning Challenge at JBLM, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., finishes the obstacle course section of the 2019 Lightning Challenge at JBLM, Wash., July 29, 2019. The purpose of the Lightning Challenge is to enhance mission readiness by providing tangible feedback to commanders and TACP Airmen concerning unit training effectiveness while promoting camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., low crawls through sand during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at JBLM, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., low crawls through sand during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at JBLM, Wash., July 29, 2019. The 2019 Lightning Challenge consisted of 20 two-man TACP teams competing to be recognized as best in the career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, descends an obstacle during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airman assigned to the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, descends an obstacle during the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29, 2019. The purpose of the Lightning Challenge is to enhance mission readiness by providing tangible feedback to commanders and TACP Airmen concerning unit training effectiveness while promoting camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

The 1st Air Support Operations Group kicked off the 2019 Lightning Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, July 29.

Twenty two-man teams of Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Air Forces Europe, and the Washington National Guard gathered to participate in the week-long competition. The Lightning Challenge was designed to enhance mission readiness, provide feedback concerning unit training effectiveness, and promote warrior spirit through friendly competition.

First held at Hurlburt Field, Florida in 1983, the Lightning Challenge quickly evolved into a highly-anticipated annual event among TACP Airmen, many of whom spend their entire Air Force careers stationed at U.S. Army installations. The 2019 iteration is the first challenge to be held since 2005.

“What you do this week is going to set the bar for what excellence is for TACPs,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Graham, I Corps deputy commanding general, during the event’s opening ceremony. “There are a lot fewer names on the memorials scattered around JBLM and the rest of the Army because of what Air Force TACPs do every day, and this week (we) are going to hone those skills.”

During the challenge, competitors earn points based on performance in individual and team events such as a Tier II Operator Fitness Test and timed completion of an obstacle course. Participants earned their spot compete in this year’s Lightning Challenge by winning squadron- and group-level competitions earlier in the year.

“For the first time in over 14 years, we get to determine who the best TACPs in the Air Force are,” explained U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth Boillot, 1st Air Support Operations Group commander. “In just five short days, the TACP community will crown the best TACP team and the best joint terminal attack controller in the world.”

The competition is scheduled to conclude Aug. 2.