Combat Jobs in the Air Force


Nearly every Air Force career field supports combat operations. However, some Air Force careers place airmen on the front lines. These jobs vary from rescue operations to bare-base establishment, but most can be categorized in one of three ways: airmen embedded with Army and Marine combat units, bare-base establishment and support and aerial operations.

Army Airmen

  • In the Air Force, some specialties are so unique that they have no counterpart in the Army or Marine Corps. Often these airmen are "loaned" to Army units to support their operations. Explosive ordnance disposal technicians work as part of Air Force and sister service units, seeking out and disposing of improvised explosive devices. Combat weather airmen are assigned to Army units and provide them with battlefield weather information. Tactical air party airmen are assigned to Army units with the sole responsibility of calling in close air support strikes.

Bare Base Support

  • Many airmen conduct offensive and defensive combat operations in establishing bare-base operations. Combat controllers are trained as classical air traffic controllers but are also trained in advanced combat techniques that allows them to control airspace in hostile environments. Security forces airmen perform base defense operations. Other units like Red Horse, are civil engineer units that perform construction and base support functions in austere environments.

Aviation Combat Units

  • Nearly every Air Force unit deployed to a combat zone work to support combat air operations. Whether bombers, fighters, reconnaissance or airlift, these airmen conduct combat operations sometimes deep within enemy territory.

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