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Missouri National Guard member recruits for Kansas unit

SALINA, Ks -- A member from the 157th Air Operations Group, Director of Personnel Military Recruiting recently returned from working with the Smoky Hill Bombing Range in Salina, Kan. in order to implement a new unit from the ground up.

Master Sgt. Bernard Botson, Headquarters Detachment One recruiting and retention NCO, worked with the Kansas Air National Guard for a 90 day temporary duty to create a Tactical Air Control Party with the 284th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Lt. Col. Gary Nash, 284th ASOS commander, explained, the TACP units are being implemented to work as a joint training capability with the Kansas Army National Guard on air combat related decisions.

"Basically the Army did some transfer missions on how they conduct their training which required to have TACP units along side of them," said Colonel Nash. "[The TACP members] are basically an Air Force guy who looks like he's Army, dressed like he's Army, and advises Army commanders on how to employ air power."

Sergeant Botson added, to be able to be a part of the unit, the recruits have to be the best of the best.

"The [TACP] members have to be in such great shape, that [Basic Military Training] actually gets them out of shape," said Sergeant Botson. "They go through basic with a black armband to distinguish them from the rest so any [Military Training Instructor] knows to push those trainees harder."

Sergeant Botson explained, he volunteered for the temporary recruiting position and used multiple avenues in order to find new recruits, to include print ads, radio spots, open house Center of Influence meetings and school visits.

"I was able to confirm one TACP while I was there and had about 7 more packages started when I left," said Sergeant Botson. "They are in the process of hiring a full-time recruiter now."

Colonel Nash explained, the Kansas location is only one of six TACP units being set up across the country. There are 65 total positions available in Kansas, and 14 will be full-time.

"It was going really well," said Sergeant Botson. "They have a new complex that is open now and they are doing great."