Taking a test of toughness

For one challenging week in August, a select group of ADF members came together as candidates in Combat Control Suitability Screening (CCSS).

CAPTIONADF candidates participating in the 4 Squadron Combat Control Suitability Screening do a 3.2km run in the rain as part of the Special Forces entry test. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Hodgson. Photos by Aircraftwoman Laura Flower.

The week-long event had candidates undertaking a series of physically and mentally demanding activities to allow 4 Squadron to determine an individual’s base suitability for further training in the combat control role.

Activities included high-level testing in strength and fitness, runs, swims and pack marches.

Combat controllers are specially selected, trained and equipped air-land integration specialists supporting deliberate and contingency special operations and Air Force missions, domestically and internationally.

The role of the combat control team is to integrate, synchronise and control the elements of air and space power at the tactical level to support the execution of precision strike and military advance force operations. To do this, combat controllers must be capable of working for prolonged periods in austere conditions and non-permissive environments.

Combat control applications are open to any service or career field. The training trajectory is attainable for capable and motivated individuals regardless of previous mustering, specialisation or service.

Candidates must be able to assimilate information quickly in order to meet the constant but graduated demands of preparation and reinforcement training courses.

Regardless of previous field or combat skills, candidates graduate as competent and credible controllers capable of working with Special Forces units as air power specialists.

CAPTIONCandidates rest after the 400m swim component.

Leading Aircraftman C (name withheld), a participant during CCSS, commented on the intensive nature of the selection-week activities.

“The most rewarding part about this week is being able to test yourself in ways that I don’t think a lot of other courses in the ADF would require,” he said.

“You will find out a lot about yourself, and how your personality comes to the forefront.

“But when push comes to shove and the fatigue sets in, your character comes through and you have to rely on your level of training.”

On completion of the screening week, successful candidates are panelled on the combat control indoctrination course in preparation for the Special Forces selection course.

Flight Lieutenant I (name withheld) said she looked forward to pursuing a career in this specialised role.

“I want to be a combat control officer as I am looking for a career that is physically and mentally challenging,” she said.

“I am looking for a job that is adventurous and demanding and not the sort of job I could find anywhere else.”

CAPTIONCandidates climb the Stockton sand dunes as part of the signature session component of assessment.


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