An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

13th ASOS Airmen take top prizes in Phantom Challenge

TACP carries teammate during Phantom Challenge

Staff Sgt. Joshua Walton, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller program manager, carries teammate Staff Sgt. Alex Mutcher, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron strike team supervisor, during the 3rd field skills event during the Phantom Challenge at Fort Carson, Colorado August 6, 2020. The pair won the Phantom Challenge and earned a 13th ASOG Gunslinger trophy, which is a replica single action revolver on a stand. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox)

TCAP pulls sled to test Tactical Combat Casualty Care field skills

Staff Sgt. Alex Mutcher, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron strike team supervisor, pulls sled for the Tactical Combat Casualty Care field skills event during the Phantom Challenge at Fort Carson, Colorado August 6, 2020. Mutcher and Staff Sgt. Joshua Walton, 13th ASOS joint terminal attack controller program manager, took home the award for best overall team, and Mutcher was awarded best individual performer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox)

TACP performs radio task evaluations

Staff Sgt. Alex Mutcher, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron strike team supervisor, performs radio task evaluations during the 2nd field skills event for the Phantom Challenge at Fort Carson, Colorado August 6, 2020. Phantom Challenge originated in 2016 when the Tactical Air Control Party community started to bring back events that were held in the past. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox)

TACP's change Humvee tire

1st Lt. Parker Gray, 13 Air Support Operations Squadron team leader, changes the tire on a Humvee for the first field skills event during the Phantom Challenge at Fort Carson, Colorado August 6, 2020. Each Air Support Operations Group under the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing holds a competition that leads up to Lightning Challenge which is a Tactical Air Control Party-wide competition that incorporates TACPs across all major commands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox)

TACP's run during a 'buddy drag'

Tactical Air Control Party airmen of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron run for a buddy drag event during the Phantom Challenge at Fort Carson, Colorado August 6, 2020. Phantom Challenge is designed to test teams on fundamental skills associated with the TACP career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox)

FORT CARSON, Colo. --

Two members of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron took top prizes at the 2020 Phantom Challenge, which took place at and around Fort Carson, Colorado Aug. 3-7, 2020.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Walton, 13th ASOS joint terminal attack controller program manager, and Staff Sgt. Alexander Mutcher, 13th ASOS strike team supervisor, took home the award for best overall team, and Walton was awarded best individual performer.

“On all tasks, [Walton] outperformed the majority of individuals, and he was just the most consistent throughout the week,” said 1st Lt. Stephen Stein, 13th ASOS tactical air control party officer and JTAC evaluator. “Whether it was a physical event, a job related task [or] an academic test… SSgt Walton outperformed his peers.”

The 2nd place winners of the phantom challenge were SSgt Joel Fierro and SSgt Jonathan Anderson, 9th ASOS, Fort Hood, Texas and 3rd place went to SSgt Brandon Malinowski & SrA George Alverio, 13th ASOS, Fort Carson, Colorado.

The week long competition culminated with a 13 mile hike to the top of Pikes Peak, where each competition team and members of the 13 ASOS conducted the annual Major David Gray Memorial Pikes Peak Ascent.  These two Airmen received their awards at a ceremony August 7, which took place at the 13 ASOS on Fort Carson. 

“Phantom Challenge is significant because it pulls together Tactical Air Control Party members from across the Air Support Operations Squadrons allied with III Corps, in order to test their skills in a competitive environment,” said Col. Leland Cowie, 3rd Air Support Operations Group commander. “This event also serves as a stepping stone to prepare these Airmen for the global TACP competition, Lightning Challenge, to be held at Fort Hood the last week of October.”

Typically, each of the squadrons sends three teams, making a total of 12. However, concerns related to COVID-19 resulted in the 9th ASOS of Fort Hood, Texas, sending two teams, and the 10th ASOS of Fort Riley, Kansas, sending one, while the 7th ASOS of Fort Bliss, Texas, was not represented this year.

Lightning Challenge, like Phantom Challenge, is designed to test TACP Airmen’s mental and physical capabilities, provide direct and honest feedback regarding unit’s training effectiveness, and promote camaraderie during the week long competition. Unlike the Phantom Challenge, , TACPs from around the globe will travel to Fort Hood, Texas to participate in this year’s competition being hosted by 3 ASOG.  The 13 ASOS will be sending Mutcher and Walton to Lightning Challenge to represent the 13 ASOS and 3 ASOG.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui