Tactical air control came into being during World War II. Air control was exercised by means of air support control units, first used by the Germans and British and later adopted by the U.S. in the campaign at Guadalcanal and, to a lesser extent, in North Africa . As a result of these experiences, a concentrated effort was made to set up and train groups of personnel for air support parties. These air support parties first saw action in the Aleutian Islands Campaign of 1943. In the Attu operations in May of that year, the first Air Support Control Unit (ASCU) afloat was employed. Consisting of three officers and a radioman, they operated from a card table while embarked in USS PENNSYLVANIA.
In spite of inclement weather, ten close air support missions were flown and controlled by this unit during the amphibious phase of the operation. From this unit evolved the modern day Tactical Air Control Squadron.
Experience demonstrated the need to embark the naval, landing, and air commanders on one ship so that the overall commander could more effectively coordinate the entire amphibious operation. The invasion of the Marshall Islands in January 1944 saw the first use in the Pacific of the Amphibious Flagship (LCC). Two of these ships were employed, each embarking one ASCU. Iwo Jima brought about the final development of the methods used throughout the remainder of the war. At that time, the control units were not commissioned and drew their personnel for each campaign from the amphibious staffs. When the war in the Pacific ended, the air support organization had grown from its humble beginnings to 24 air support control units comprised of 2,328 men and officers and commanded by a Rear Admiral.
In late 1946, the air control units were commissioned and re-designated as Tactical Air Control Squadrons (TACRONs). Tactical Air Control Squadron Two Two was initially commissioned as TACRON Four on 3 December 1949. On 2 April 1955, the current designation was adopted. The squadron reports to Commander, Amphibious Group Two. Individual afloat detachments report to the commander of the amphibious squadron embarked in the Expeditionary Strike Group. At present, there are four “active duty” TACRON Squadrons. Two serve the Atlantic Fleet (TACRON Two One and Two Two), and two serve the Pacific Fleet (TACRON One One and One Two). In addition, Reserve Tactical Air Control Squadrons augment the active duty squadrons.
Recent command achievements include the successful deployment of TACRON Two Two detachments with IWO JIMA Expeditionary Strike Group in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, with USS KEARSARGE in support of Operation CONTINUING PROMISE, a short notice deployment onboard USS IWO JIMA in support of Presidential tasking, and with USS WASP in support of theater security cooperation missions, during Operation SOUTHERN PARTNERSHIP STATION. During these deployments, squadron detachments have participated in the full range of Expeditionary Strike Group missions from Humanitarian Assistance operations in Haiti to combat support missions.