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Building Teamwork for the Battlefield

Capt. Daniel Curtin (left) and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menzto switch out more weight prior to another repetition of the overhead squat. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Capt. Daniel Curtin (left) and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menzto switch out more weight prior to another repetition of the overhead squat. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Cody Canfield performs a back squat as Staff Sgt. Matthew Denault encourages and spots him during a weighted lift. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Cody Canfield performs a back squat as Staff Sgt. Matthew Denault encourages and spots him during a weighted lift. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menz performs chest to bar pull ups as Capt. Daniel Curtin conducts burpees as a team croosfit workout. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menz performs chest to bar pull ups as Capt. Daniel Curtin conducts burpees as a team croosfit workout. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Master Sgt. Jonathan Oliver performs an incline dumbbell press as Technical Sgt. Michael Belleau spots and encourages him during a weighted press. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Master Sgt. Jonathan Oliver performs an incline dumbbell press as Technical Sgt. Michael Belleau spots and encourages him during a weighted press. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Capt. Daniel Curtin conducts burpees as part of a team crossfit workout. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Capt. Daniel Curtin conducts burpees as part of a team crossfit workout. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menz performs chest to bar pull ups in a team crossfit workout. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menz performs chest to bar pull ups in a team crossfit workout. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Cody Canfield gets set for a back squat as Staff Sgt. Matthew Denault helps encourage and spots him during a weighted lift. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Staff Sgt. Cody Canfield gets set for a back squat as Staff Sgt. Matthew Denault helps encourage and spots him during a weighted lift. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Technical Sgt. Michael Belleau performs an incline dumbbell press as Master Sgt. Jonathan Oliver spots and encourages him during a weighted press. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Technical Sgt. Michael Belleau performs an incline dumbbell press as Master Sgt. Jonathan Oliver spots and encourages him during a weighted press. Both Airman from the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron, Peoria, IL, train together on a regular basis to maintain a high fitness requirement there career field requires on January 10, 2015. As Joint Terminal Attack Controllers the demanding job needs each airman to perform at peak performance alongside their Army counterparts out in the field. Besides the fitness benefits the members are getting teamwork, camaraderie and morale building are big advantages they are creating. They are building physical strength but more importantly the strength of teamwork to take to the battlefield. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

PEORIA, Ill. -- Physical fitness is not just a regular part of being an Airman assigned to a Tactical Air Control Party with the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron in Peoria. It is just as vital as any other type of job training.

Building Teamwork for the Battlefield

The TACP career field is demanding on the body, and requires each member to maintain a higher fitness status than average in order to perform his duties at peak performance.

Staff Sgt. Cody Canfield, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller from the 169th ASOS, spends countless hours with his teammates in the gym.

"Fitness is very important in our career field. Obviously, we have to keep up with the Army, we don't want to be the Air Force guy dragging," he said. "It also builds a lot for us with camaraderie. Us TACP guys push each other, heckle and trash talk one another other to achieve new limits."

Teamwork and espirit de corps are just as important as physical strength for these Airmen. They must be able to depend and trust their fellow JTACs downrange when situations in the field escalate. Team workouts are just one way that these Airmen build that bond.

Like Canfield, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Menz is also a TACP with the 169th ASOS.

"Every time my buddy pushes me during a workout, I know I am doing it for the betterment of the team, and I never want to let them down," he said.

For the TACPs of Peoria, muscular fitness and agility cannot only mean a mission's success, but the very life of that Airman and the man fighting next to him. The same teamwork they build in the gym is what binds them together in the field. The spotter in the gym is also the battlefield Wingman.

Their very lives depend on it.