Driving over rough terrain battered the relatively fragile radios on TACP jeeps. They required constant maintenance, like that being done here by Airman 1st Class Rowland Straka. (U.S. Air Force photo)
TACP personnel lived alongside ground troops at the front, sharing the same danger and hardships. This forbidding view of the MLR (Main Line of Resistance) was taken from within a bunker by Airman 2nd Class Jerry Allen. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Lt. James Troublefield, a TACP forward air controller (on the right with headset and binoculars) is observing an airstrike he is directing in concert with an airborne T-6 Mosquito. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The smile on this TACP member belies the fact that he is dangling in mid-air on a 1/2-mile-long cable car wire, exposed to enemy artillery fire. It was the only practical way to reach a certain peak to control an airstrike. (U.S. Air Force photo)
An Air Force TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) consisted of an experienced Mosquito pilot, a radio operator, a radio mechanic and one or two radio jeeps. TACP personnel lived as soldiers during their tour at the front and carried weapons to defend themselves against attack -- they were unofficially nicknamed the "Air Force infantry."
The original mission of the TACP was to directly control air strikes at the front line. The visual limits of these ground-based observers in Korea's mountains, however, led to the creation of the highly successful Mosquito airborne forward air controllers (FACs). Though the airborne FACs directed most of the air strikes, the TACPs continued to play an important role.
The TACPs became communication links between ground commanders, airborne Mosquito FACs, and strike aircraft (the TACP jeeps were the only ground units at the front that could communicate between incompatible radio systems). They also coordinated artillery fire with air strikes. Further, having an experienced Mosquito pilot so close at hand enabled ground commanders to effectively use air power.
This jeep was restored, fitted with radio equipment and donated to the museum by the Mosquito Association in 2001.