Hero In Our Midst – Christoper Fantasia, Salem NH – Valley Patriot of the Month

Airman First Class Christopher Fantasia of Salem, NH is
originally from Everett, MA, and graduated from Everett High
School in 2001.

By: Tech Sgt. James Moore, USAF – February, 2008

SALEM, NH – Airman First Class Christopher Fantasia, home on Recruiting Assistance Duty at the Air Force Recruiting Office in Lawrence, Ma., is making a difference in the world.

He is a patriot and has a genuine enthusiasm for his work. Airman First Class Fantasia joined the Air Force in 2005 and plans on making a career of the Air Force. He’s just returned from Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 5.

His Air Force specialty, TAC-P (Tactical Air Control Party) allows him to work almost exclusively with the United States Army.

TAC-P personnel provide close air support (CAS) for all conventional and all Special Operation Forces missions within an area of responsibility.

TAC-P is considered a part of Air Force Special Tactics and is somewhat of an atypical Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) since most Airmen aren’t categorized as “Battlefield Airmen”.

TAC-P is one of only five Battlefield Airman Careers in the Air Force, meaning that the Airman must be combat mission ready (CMR) at all times. AFSC is to the Air Force as what is commonly known in the United States Marine Corps and Army as “MOS”, or Military Occupational Specialty.

Airman First Class Fantasia is originally from Everett, MA, and graduated from Everett High School in 2001.

He joined the United States Air Force as a resident of Salem, NH, where he spends most of his time at his mother’s house while home on leave. He is currently stationed at the Army Post, Fort Stewart, Georgia and is a proud father of a beautiful baby girl, Alexa Fantasia who was born in December, 2007.

Airman First Class Fantasia says he chose TAC-P because of its uniqueness and excitement. According to Airman Fantasia, “I wanted an exciting job that would uphold me to the highest standard and challenge me physically, mentally, and technically.”

“I get to do, all that an adrenaline junkie like me gets to do, and serve a great cause that I get paid well to do!” An adrenaline junkie, he is.

“If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change my decision to join the Air Force”, says Airman First Class Fantasia.

Working exclusively with the Army affords Fantasia the opportunity to wear distinctive unit and combat patches that your average Airman wouldn’t be able to wear.

Airman First Class Fantasia just recently returned home from an eight month deployment in Iraq, which he started five months earlier than anticipated to meet the requirements of the increased American troop surge in Baghdad.

Fantasia deployed from Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID). He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division/7th Cavalry Unit which fell under the 82nd Airborne Paratrooper Brigade during his time in Baghdad.

The distinguished service patches he wears proudly on his uniform raises some eyebrows with his fellow Airmen, current and former veterans from all other services.

Since joining the Air Force in 2005, Fantasia has earned multiple certificates and college credits by virtue of his Air Force training and is applying these credits towards his Associate’s Degree at the Community College of the Air Force.

He has earned awards and decorations while in the Air Force and for his time and service in Baghdad, Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom 5 (OIF 5). Most notably, Fantasia was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and an Army Achievement Medal for his distinguished service.

Airman First Class Fantasia graduated Basic Military Training (BMT) in San Antonio, Texas in September of 2005. After he completed BMT and prior to being fully qualified in his career field, he moved on to his required technical training at Hurlburt Field, Florida home of the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Airman First Class Fantasia spent 18 weeks learning small unit tactics, close air support procedures, radio etiquette, and troubleshooting. Additionally, he went through convoy training, day/night land navigation, HMMWV (aka. High-Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle, also known as Humvee) training with night vision devices and visible and non-visible lasers as well as stealth tactics.

When I asked him how he felt doing this type of work, day in and day out, he says with enthusiasm, “I have a blast!”

The physical demand for TAC-P is grueling, requiring trainees to complete, for example, 12 mile “ruck” marches, 2-10 mile runs, and “smoke” sessions.

“Smoke” sessions are what Airman Fantasia affectionately refers to as a combination of all physical training aspects in a circuit training-type of session, all of which is done before 8 a.m. He also had to endure S. E. R. E. training, at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA, SERE is an abbreviation for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape.

All Air Force members that are considered on “Flying Status” are required to undergo this training. This is known also known as survival training.

This is a unique Air Force Specialty, so there are always questions to be asked, even from myself.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Airman First Class Fantasia on a personal level and have gained a level of respect for the good job he had done in his two and a half year of service.

As for myself, well, I have had the pleasure of serving in the United States Air Force for a little over twelve years at this point and I haven’t had the opportunity to do half of the exciting things that Airman Fantasia has had the opportunity to do.

Since he’s been home, Fantasia has been spending his free time with friends and family, especially quality time with his little Alexa.

He will be on Recruiting Assistance Duty until the 8th of February and will be heading back to Fort Stewart, Georgia, soon thereafter.

The Valley Patriot wishes to thank Airman First Class Fantasia of the United States Ar Firce for his service to our country and we are proud to honor him as our Valley Patriot of the Month, Hero in our Midst. He is clearly a shining example of what a true patriot is and does.

Airman First Class Christopher Fantasia, The Valley Patriot Thanks you, the air forece thanks you and the poeple of the Valley also thank you. Be safe in your next assignment!

Technical Sergeant, James F. Moore, Jr. has been in the United States Air Force for more than 14 years and is the The Valley Patriot’s new Hero reporter. If you would like more information on how you can be a part of the World’s Greatest Air Force, please contact Technical Sergeant, James F. Moore, Jr. 160 Winthrop Ave., Stadium Plaza, Lawrence, MA 01841, 978-686-1464 or via e-mail: james.moore@rs.af.mil