News Search


Army ground liaison officers advance pilot training with realistic scenarios

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Heather Leveille
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

Every U.S. military branch has its own form of communication, jargon, acronyms and abbreviations. Getting stationed at a base surrounded by others of a separate service could be overwhelming for any airmen, soldier, sailor or Marine.


For ground liaison officers, their job is to understand and translate the differences between each of the Armed Services’ forms of communication.


“Their job is to be the ground liaison to communicate what the soldiers on the ground are seeing and to translate what the ground troops are saying in a way that the Air Force will be able to understand, so we can effectively work together to complete the mission,” said Sgt. Maj. Timothy B. Murchison, 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment command sergeant major.


The 33rd Operations Support Squadron has two GLO’s on loan from the U.S. Army to advance the pilot’s training and understanding of a joint combined effort ultimately seen while deployed.


“Our job is to provide real-time knowledge of ground units location and information for pilots that deliver close air support,” said Sgt. 1st Class Russel Barker, 33rd OSS GLO. “We are the middleman that gives the details that we know to the pilots before their mission happens.”


GLO’s deploy from their various BCD’s to ensure the training they provide to pilots is accurate and up to date with current deployed strategies.


“We deploy a lot, so we are able to make the training as realistic as possible for the pilots here,” said Capt. John Logan III, 33rd OSS GLO.  “When they go downrange, they will not be able to just pick up a telephone and talk to the ground units, so our job is to be the conduit between the joint terminal attack controller there and the pilots before they fly.”


To be a GLO, soldiers must have ample training in integrating air and ground assets to ensure understanding of airspace deconfliction and must be the rank of captain, for officers, or sergeant 1st class, for enlisted.


“Pilots are not always familiar with the Army’s verbiage, and so it is important that we are here to bridge that gap between the pilots and the ground troops,” said Barker.


The Army’s GLO allows for a multi-domain approach and planning to train future generations of pilots.


“For both the instructor pilots and the B-course students, the level of knowledge when it comes to executing close air support varies a lot, so we help further their understanding of how it will be completed in real-life combat situations,” said Logan.


Joint operations allow for each branch’s unique capabilities to come together to defend national interests, and for this to be possible, each service needs to be able to communicate with one another effectively.


“Every operation from now and into the future will be accomplished with a joint effort, and having connectivity on a tactical level with these pilots here will further the relationship with the Army and the Air Force,” said Logan.