The Global War on Terrorism -
In the 21st Century fight, USAF Combat Control Teams operate at the bloody tip of the Special Operations Command's golden spear. And, in the words of the Delta Force commander at Tora Bora, Afghanistan in December 2001, "they are practically indispensable".
Dalton Fury, Delta Force Ground Commander
"...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.
Just because you are the best of the best does not mean you are the best at everything. Any Delta operator can vouch for the capabilities of the Air Force Combat Controllers, and very rarely goes on a "hit" without the men who wear the scarlet berets.
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 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.'