AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- Seeing a B-52 Stratofortress drop bombs is a breathtaking sight, but a lot happens behind the scenes before that first bomb is released on the enemy. One vital tool in ensuring the mission is successful is clear communication between the Ground Liaison Officer and the aircrews here.
U.S. Army Capt. Bryan Tauzer, deployed with the 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, is one of the GLOs who provide the critical link from the ground to the aircrews of the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.
“As a GLO, we brief every bomber aircrew about the ground operations that they will be supporting before they leave for a mission,” Tauzer said. “We tell them where friendly forces are, what their plan is while the crew is overhead supporting them, and how the aircrew can expect to support the ground commander.”
Locally, Tauzer supports not only the 20th EBS, but also the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing by ensuring the air mission planners and intelligence for missions have the most up-to-date information on all current and future ground operations.
Tauzer spends his day contacting other GLOs and ground force commanders around the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, gathering information on all of the activities across the entire CENTCOM AOR. Tauzer and other GLOs create products used to brief aircrews to help them visualize ground forces missions and prevent incidents of fratricide.
Despite the long hours and fluctuating schedule, Tauzer said that serving as one of the B-52 GLOs here has been a rewarding experience for him.
“Knowing that I’m here helping fight ISIS makes me proud,” Tauzer said. “I wanted to contribute after hearing about all of the damage that ISIS has done in the last two years.”
Tauzer, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot, explained that the common aircrew experience he shares with the B-52 aircrew makes it easier for him to communicate as a GLO.
“Being a pilot helps me be an effective GLO because before I brief the aircrew operations, I already have an idea about what they’re going to be expecting, what they need from the ground forces commander, and what questions they might have,” he said. “I can ask those questions prior to the brief and have the answers available for them at the time of the brief.”
Every job has its challenges, but that doesn’t stop Tauzer from learning and becoming a better Soldier while deployed with the Air Force. According to him, being a GLO requires him to coordinate across a network of contacts throughout the region to ensure he has the most accurate information for aircrews.
“We are expected to know all of the ground forces’ activities across the CENTCOM AOR. Reaching out and building those relationships with people you haven’t even met has been a learning experience for me,” Tauzer said. “It was uncomfortable at first, but knowing that this fight is real and the consequences are real, it’s important for me to get the right information.”
At the end of the day, what matters to Tauzer is getting the mission done, which is to defeat Daesh.
“It’s a privilege to know that what we’re doing here is directly impacting the enemy,” he said. “The best part is seeing the videos the next day on what the aircrew I just briefed accomplished.”