Cast in Bronze

Combat Control - Air Force Cross Recipients

In the Eye of the Storm

Combat Controllers In Direct Action

Humanitarian Missions

Combat Airmen -Delivering Hope and Relief

Equipment Check

Ready Today - Prepared for Tomorrow

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Prepare Today - Lead Tomorrow - First There

Meet the CCSHF

Preserving the Heritage and History, Documenting the Past and Present for Combat Control Warriors

The Combat Control School Heritage foundation is a North Carolina incorporated 501c3 tax exempt organization, and works in concert with the Combat Control School Staff to acquire, refurbish, exhibit and maintain CCT artifacts accessioned by The CMSgt Alcide S. Benini Heritage Center.

The comprehensive Heritage Center displays lineage, artifacts, and equipment used since the inception of Combat Control Teams. The mission of The Benini Heritage Center (BHC) is to educate Combat Control students, to bolster Combat Control Team morale, and to support United States Air Force recruiting and retention goals for Combat Control Team operators.

From Army Pathfinders to the Air Force Special Operations Command, Combat Controllers have created a legacy that has paved the way for today's Special Tactics Warriors, just as each generation of Combat Controllers paves the way for tomorrow's Special Tactics Warriors.

 < Dedicated to the Preservation of our Warrior Heritage >

Combat ControllerMission One

Facing a gauntlet of qualification challenges, training to become a Combat Controller is intensely intellectual, technically and physically challenging.

The Combat Control School provides the Department of Defense, the Air Force Special Operations Command, and the 24th Special Operations Wing with mission ready Combat Controllers.

Advanced skills training produces the highest quality, air-minded, ground combat warriors in the United States Air Force.  We educate, train, qualify and prepare today's Combat Controllers for the diversity of tomorrow's world-wide missions.

The Tip of the Spear

Leading the way for in-theater combat and humanitarian relief operations, any where and any time, living up to Combat Control creed, "First There".

Combat Controllers are among the most technically qualified and highly trained special operations forces anywhere in the world.

Combat Control Teams deploy to perform reconnaissance, and establish air assault and airfield operations while providing command and control, primary air traffic control operations, and ground and air assault operations in support of counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, and humanitarian relief operations.

The Battle Field Game Changer

USAF Special Tactics Officer Capt Barry Crawford“…if you asked what tool of the trade would be the very last thing they would leave behind, you might be surprised at the answer. You would likely hear that it is not a tool that makes one nervous when it isn’t there,  but rather a capability that is not organic to a troop of Delta operators or Navy SEALs...

Arguably 'Combat Controllers' are the best-rounded and most uniquely trained operators on the planet. The initial training “pipeline” for an Air Force Special Tactics Squadron Combat Controller costs twice as much time and sweat as does the journey to become a Navy SEAL or Delta operator.
Before their training is complete someone brainwashes these guys into thinking they can climb like Spiderman, swim like Tarzan, and fly like Superman — and then they have to prove they can, if they plan to graduate. And, that is just to get to a place where they can do the job for which they are really trained, calling in those deadly air strikes.

The life of a combat controller is split between working with Delta and SEALs, with a little moonlighting with the 75th Ranger Regiment now and again.  They carry the motto that would be hard to look another operator in the face and say — if it weren’t true   — ‘First There.’

“Bomb Like There Is No Tomorrow” Kill Bin Laden
Dalton Fury, Delta Force Ground Commander

Never Give Up

Running the gauntlet and crossing the finish line requires physical readiness, mental maturity, emotional stability and a never-quit, never-give-up attitude.

Get prepared, get selected, never quit...

Videos Links

Related Site Links

These links are a mix of official, un-official and social resources for site visitors to explore.

The CCSHF monitors these sites for changes in content and updates.  If you have a site you would like to see posted here, submit a request through the contact page...

The Alcide Benini Heritage Museum

Help the CCSHF Fund
Combat Control Museum Operations

Help us preserve the History, Heritage
and Legacy for all generations

100% of your donations are applied to supporting and documenting the School and Combat Control Historical Record

Alcide Benini, CMSgt, USAF (Ret)
The First Combat Controller
Read the Memorial for the Man who conceived and founded the 1st Combat Control Team

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To: The Laos Veteran’s Team

SUBJECT: Quarterly Update on the Laos SOF History Book Project


I am finally finished with the research and writing, and an initial, thorough editing of the Laos History Project. I am going to now cease conducting research, writing, or interviews (although I will certainly take any Vets e-mail or phone call if they still want to contribute to getting this stuff into archives; same goes for any “new” monumental discovery which may be out there). I think this is the 85% solution at this point. Over the years of the project there have been inputs from over 300+ Veterans – SF, Air Commandos, CIA, Hmong, and Lao Army, and a few submissions from USAID. I think I probably have 2000+ original photos after scanning and returning them to you, along with some video footage and documents, as well. I have also tried to fill up our community and history offices with as much research and archive material I could find over the life of the project, so future researchers have access to this part of our history.

With the split of the research into two books, one about Air Commandos in Laos and the other about ARMY SOF in Laos, the writing, editing, updating and correcting here at the home front is done (took about eight months to develop the two draft books, notwithstanding grandkids and yard work!). The research and writing efforts are over. The next step is up to the publishers.

Since March this year, when the raw research was finally put together (1400 pages!), I split that out into a clear Air Commando version of a book (Special Air Warfare and the Secret War in Laos: Air Commandos 1964 - 1975 – submitted to Air University Press in late July for publication) and the ARSOF version of a book, keeping the original title of “The Ambassadors’ SOF and the Secret War in Laos: Green Berets and Army SOF Assistant Attachés 1959 – 1974.” All in all since starting this journey, it is going on about three years

The Air Commando version has 13 Chapters, with additional introduction and epilogue, 40 pages of picture plates (interspersed throughout the chapters), with charts, maps and diagrams in each chapter. It includes a glossary and bibliography/reference list. It comes in at around 300+ pages.

The ARSOF version of the book has 18 chapters with about 550 pages of main text, and 40 -60 pages of picture plates to go between the chapters – the picture plates have about on average three to four pictures per page. To date, these next to final, pre-publication versions have been reviewed and corrected by Veterans, and edited about three to four times each chapter (as I promised; I am always better in the final version than in early drafts!). Having said that, as a one man band, the next editing will be by professional editors of publication teams, or private editors I hire. I am well aware of this next step and have been urged by everyone to do it.

This last year I attended the Air America Reunion, SF Convention and Air Commando Reunion to make a last round of finding potential stories and Veterans. There was very little newly gleaned, but a few new Vets did contact me and I have tried at the last minute to get their names in the pre-publication version. On the Air Commando side I met some Green Hornets, (UH-1F/P) Huey pilots serving in NKP, and found two more project 404 ARSOF commo guys. Their latest data and interview extracts are in both the draft works now. I also met a few A-26 NIMROD guys, but am awaiting their return back of some input for the Air Commando draft book.

In December, I intend to work on some articles for the SF Association DROP magazine and the Air Commando Journal on articles about Laos (for their spring publications, hopefully). In the next month or so I will be working on some two-page story boards for some military museums to support future displays about your participation in Laos, as well as put some maps and representative pictures, all on disks for their use. I have also provided a thumb drive of the entire research to the newly appointed Army History team which is going to begin work on the Army Historical series concerning Vietnam, in order to ensure the Laos Army part of the story is not forgotten. (The Air University Maxwell Research Center has a thumb drive, as well.)

I also intend to explore next year the potential for shorter publications, focused, with Osprey and with Schiffer Military publications. For instance, I may explore a publication with Osprey on just HOTFOOT/WHITESTAR. With Schiffer, I am thinking about Stanton’s work on SF in SEA format as a genre (short chapters, but mostly the numerous ARSOF and Air Commando original pics the Vets have sent me – the coffee table book).

At the end, when all is said and done, I am going to donate the research files and extensive Laos War book collection to the appropriate service archives.

Wherever this project goes and ends up, I think we can all say that we have filled up the gap on the experiences and contributions of the Veterans who served in Laos to a level which did not previously exist. I earlier offered to you to put the total research data on thumb drives to print out in a binder; it is your history and experiences. This is still a non-profit work with no expense, other than when I have needed help with mailing costs. I again want to offer the Vets the opportunity to send a thumb drive if you want a copy of the draft book, in its first corrected and edited form, depending on whether you want the ARSOF one or the Air Commando one. Like before, send an 8GB or 16GB (no need for a 32GB to save you some money – I got four 16GB thumb drives in a pack at Staples for about $20.00) in an envelope with a return mailer and your address on it, and I will work on that over the next couple of months. I always feel uncomfortable asking, but if you could also add $3.00, the average cost of mailing, this will help me with the potential funding of over 300 participants to get them back to you. For those who chose to send more than that to help with the project, I use the extra money to buy and mail materials to Vets who may be outside the country or in medical care. Any excess proceeds of any type have been donated to Air America Association good causes, Special Forces Association good causes, Air Commando Association good causes, and the SF Museum at Ft. Bragg. Please enjoy the material and share with family and friends, but I ask you to treat it with respect to it being submitted for my copyright and publication. If you use others’ materials, please quote them as sources, per literary courtesy. If using their pictures, you will have to coordinate for their personal permission; let me know if you need help to contact them. This keeps us all legal. I am convinced at some point formal publications are forthcoming, so I will again ensure that I negotiate for all of us to have free books on our shelves.

I truly believe the data we have now will go a long way to informing current and future ARSOF and Air Commando professionals (and students and families of the other organizations – Air America, USAID, CIA, etc.) on a subject and legacy of the forces in an episode of war they were not aware of, fully, before now. I urge everyone to write their own stories, give lectures, publish, and help out with displays in museums, etc., to widen the public’s knowledge of this war. (If I had any remaining desires for the project, it would be to gather photos of Vientiane and the Embassy area and living areas, a gap I still have.)

Again, I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season from both me and Judy. I hope the New Year brings you great health and prosperity. (I am going to try to make the effort to call each and every one of you over the next couple of months to thank you personally for the support and assistance you provided to the project.)

VR, Joe Celeski,;
3985 Lost Oak Court, Buford, GA 30519
(Home: 678 546-0507) (Cell: 678 591-3230)
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