Eye of the Storm – Vol III

Eye of the Storm
Volume III - Medal of Honor

Celebrating Eight Decades of USAAF and USAF Combat Control Team History; this chronicle is filled with now declassified stories of CCT exploits. 

This article previews the upcoming release of the compilation of the historical chronicle "In the Eye of the Storm" series by Gene Adcock.

"CCT - The Eye of the Storm", chronicles the exploits of Air Force Special Operations Forces (AFSOC) Combat Control Teams (CCT).  It is told in a series of short stories; many etched by a cocktail of blood, sweat and tears.  This Combat Control story began in the first volume with the appearance of the first CCTs; i.e., command and control teams cobbled together by the WWII U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) for Operation VARSITY.  VARSITY, the airborne assault across the Rhine; was one component of a multifaceted ground invasion leading to the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 7, 1945.   The CCT story continued in Volume II, detailing the 21st Century fight in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).   Included are several humanitarian missions; with two missions of epic proportion in Haiti and Japan.

In this new book, subtitled Medal of Honor (MOH) the CCT chronicle continues, incorporating the two previously published volumes and adding stories of ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan; now America’s longest war.

The earlier, self-published volumes targeted a limited military audience of AFSOC forces, families and friends.  This new book is an all-inclusive compilation offered in a single premium publication expected to reach a world-wide audience of US and allied military organizations, families, friends and military enthusiasts.

Publishing Goal

In drafting CCT - The Eye of the Storm, the goal was to collect stories from hundreds of vetted sources, written by an even larger group of professionals assigned to observe and report truths about military organizations in action.  In my mind the U.S. Government Public Affairs Offices (PAO) were the perfect choice.  As a result, you will see scores of PAO released stories used in the book.  The diversity of feature stories, subjects and styles present a well-rounded, unbiased look at the combat controller’s view at “the eye of the storm.”  Each published PA reporter and volunteer contributor has a by-line in the book.  I thank each and every contributor for their treasured contribution to this acknowledged heirloom.

Distinguished Contributors




About the Cover

Combat Control Students in field training at Fort Bragg

U.S. Air Force Combat Controllers are highly trained special operations forces and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified air traffic controllers.  The CCT mission is to deploy undetected into hostile combat zones and austere operational environments to establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control (ATC), fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance, and special reconnaissance.

By FAA definition, “air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the global air traffic control system.”  During Combat Control School (CCS) classes, instructors train students to apply lessons learned at Air Traffic Control School to operations in challenging combat environments.  It is a skill that will serve them well throughout their entire military career.

Eye of the Storm - Medal of Honor

The cover painting depicts two CCS instructors providing critical oversight of three students in field training.  In the scene a 3-man assault landing zone (LZ) team is controlling unseen air traffic.  The instructors observe, critique and direct students in the art of applying FAA Air Traffic Control protocols to austere LZ operations.  The graphic depicts an ATC training mission at Fort Bragg, NC in November 2009.


CCT – The Eye of the Storm
<- Vol I   and   Vol II ->

Combat Control School
Heritage Foundation
2847 Bridgewood Drive Fayetteville, N.C. 28306

(910) 584-6187

Combat Control Teams - Conviction - Courage - Tenacity

Publication Preview

CCT Eye of the Storm - Medal of Honor is an extraordinary creation in terms of journalism and production.  It was a huge undertaking; and is in fact a hybrid incorporating the traits of an encyclopedia with CCT’s Orbis Pictus*. 

It is big book with features not typically found in a composition of this magnitude.  For example at 11 x 17-inches, it is a good deal larger than the standard 8.5 x 11-inch volume.

Containing roughly 1,000 pages, its packed with hundreds of color photos and scores of black and whites printed with the best possible resolution and clarity.  Thicker than of a ream of copy paper and weighing about 6 pounds; it is a huge undertaking in deed.

In so many ways it is a heavyweight, and it will become a trusted reference and cherished keepsake assigned to a place of honor in your home, office or library.  It’s a must-have for combat controllers, family members, friends, recruits, recruiters, and military aficionados.

Your participation Underwrites the Warrior Heritage of Combat Control Teams across the long history of combat and humanitarian actions around the Globe.

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Eye of the Storm III - MOH Publication

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Notable Reviews
Eye of the Storm - Medal of Honor


The battle of Takur Ghar was a tragic but important episode in the Afghan War in which seven US service members were killed and many more were wounded. Believing they would be landing on a quiet mountain peak, US troops instead found themselves up against dug-in al-Qaeda fighters in a 17-hour battle for survival.

Fourteen years later the battle has been picked up by the media once more as the President considers whether John A. Chapman, an Air Force technical sergeant, deserves to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. It was believed that Chapman had been killed by a burst from TAQ fighters, but video evidence suggests that he survived and continued to fight for more than an hour before dying in an attempt to protect arriving reinforcements.   Pete Ward,The Battle of Takur Ghar, Osprey Publishing


 “It was unlike anything I could have ever imagined … unlike anything you can prepare yourself for,” Temple said. “It all came back to training for me at that point.  I remember thinking back to those days in training that were really tough, and I realized they were preparing me for something like this.”

Senior Airman Dustin Temple
Combat Controller, Air Force Cross Recipient


The most dangerous American on today’s battlefield is a Special Tactics combat controller with a radio in one hand and the U.S. Air Force overhead.”

Mike Haas, Colonel, USAF (CRO) Retired,
Former Deputy Commander, 720th Special Tactics Group


“These single Americans had the power to conjure lightning bolts out of the sky…what happened in Afghanistan is one of the most extraordinary stories in military history…”

Mark Bowden,
Black Hawk Down,”
Signet Books


“Arguably they are the best-rounded and 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 do so 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 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.”

Dalton Fury,
Delta Force Ground Commander
“Kill bin Laden,” St. Martin’s Press


The startling question instantly spiked the briefing officer’s voice, terminating his update on the progress of the ongoing, tactical air-ground mission.  For long minutes the general had simply stared in bewilderment at the tall, tough-looking captain speaking to him in the command tent.  As sweat-stained and mud-spattered as the boots and BDUs he wore, the CCT officer Craig Brotchie spoke like an airman, but looked more like some swamp-savvy Ranger or Marine.  The general could be forgiven his outburst of curiosity.  Brotchie was indeed a USAF officer and a highly trained one at that.

Michael E. Haas, Colonel, USAF (CRO), Retired,
Former Deputy Commander, 720th Special Tactics Group


Still, it caught me by surprise in early April when, trying to satisfy the skepticism of the wing commander and director of operations of the 1st Special Operations Wing about the Dasht-e-Kacir landing site, Charlie (Beckwith) said, “We need to put our eyeballs on the target to check it out.” He didn't want the Agency checking it out; he wanted someone who would actually have to land there. “You won't have any problem there if we send Carney in first.”  That put Wicker and Roberts on the spot, and they consented to using the site for planning purposes. I thought to myself, “thanks Charlie!”

It happened just like that. It was the first time in my thirteen year Air Force career I had seen a big decision made that fast. That's how I became a “volunteer,” as people would later describe my mission.  Some volunteer!  After all the “puffing” I had done previously to win Charlie's confidence that we could help him, Charlie knew I wouldn't say no.

“It was winter at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and bloody cold.  That time of year, the deserts of central Iran are hotter than hell.  And hell is where Charlie sent me. Dasht-e-Kavir is one ugly place.  Much as I might have looked forward to some warm weather, the prospect of visiting Iran was not enticing.” 

Colonel “Coach” John Carney,
Commander, “Brand X” Combat Control Team


“Almost as soon as the second hijacked 767 struck the south tower of the world trade center, Air Force Combat Controllers began to report to their bases and pack their gear.  Spread around the world in special tactics squadrons, these airmen would provide the lightly armed U.S. Army Special Forces teams with a number of capabilities that would turn them into world-class killing machines.”
John D. Gresham,
Air Force Combat Controllers at War, Afghanistan


"The Air Commando concept was to have a self-sufficient, self-contained force that could deploy anywhere in the world and conduct operations," said retired Brigadier General Harry C. "Heinie" Aderholt, a commander of Air Commandos in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.  As Aderholt answered questions about the Air Commandos, during an Airman Magazine interview, it became clear why he's known by many as the "father" of Air Force special operations.

Brigadier General “Heinie” Aderholt, "Air Commando One,"
The leading architect of the USAF’s Secret War in Southeast Asia


“United States Army Air Force Troop Carrier commanders had grown weary of criticism from U.S. Army Airborne commanders and mission planners who complained of poor air drop performance at Normandy and Holland.  So for the final push in WWII Europe - the 1945 airborne invasion of Germany - USAAF commanders elected to discontinue the use of U.S. Army Pathfinders and form their own forward operating command and control teams, calling them Combat Control Teams (CCT).  Unlike the U.S. Army Pathfinders, the USAAF trained and outfitted the CCTs with air traffic control skills, state-of-the-art navigational aids and modern communications gear.”

Colonel Charles H. Young, “Into the Valley,”
The Untold Story of USAAF Troop Carrier in World War II

Meet the Author Gene Adcock, CMSgt, USAF (Ret.)

gene_adcockGene Adcock, CMSgt, U.S. Air Force (retired) served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1977. As a special operations combat controller, he frequently deployed on classified missions in Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam war. He is a life-member of the Combat Control Association (CCA); the Air Commando Association (ACA) and was inducted into the ACA Hall of Fame in 2010. He is a life member of the Airlift Tanker Association and President of the Combat Control School Heritage Foundation. Gene's first military history, CCT - The Eye of the Storm is the story of the early years of Combat Control Teams from World War II to the turn of the 20th Century.

Gene wrote Electro-Optical Surveillance for the Security Source Library, ISBN 1-884674-00-3, a publication of CCS Security Publishing, Ltd. The 700-page encyclopedia describes the physics, construction and operation of image intensified night vision devices and thermal imagery.

In addition to his books, Gene is a frequent contributor to technical and military magazines.