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.
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.