special operations

special operations command

Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), with headquarters at HurlburField, Fla., was established May 22, 1990. AFSOC is a major command and the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command.

Mission

AFSOC is America's specialized air power. It is a step ahead in a changing world, delivering special operations combat power anytime, anywhere.

 The command is committed to continual improvement to provide Air Force special operations forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to regional unified commands to conduct: unconventional warfare; direct action; special reconnaissance; counterterrorism; foreign internal defense; humanitarian assistance; psychological operations; personnel recovery and counternarcotics.

Personnel and Resources

AFSOC has approximately 9,700 people, 22 percent of whom are stationed overseas. The command's three active-duty flying units epitomize the composite wing/group concept. They are composed of more than 100 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

Organization

The 16th Special Operations Wing, at Hurlburt Field, is the oldest and most seasoned unit in AFSOC. It includes the 6th Special Operations Squadron, which is the wing's aviation foreign internal defense unit; the 4th SOS, which flies the AC-130U Spectre gunship; the 8th SOS, which flies the MC-130E Combat Talon; the 15th SOS which flies the MC-130H Combat Talon II; the 16th SOS, which flies the AC-130H Spectre gunship; the 20th SOS which flies the MH-53J Pave Low helicopter; and the 55th SOS, which flies the
MH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. The 9th SOS, located on nearby Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., flies the HC-130N/P Combat Shadow.

The 352nd Special Operations Group, with headquarters at RAF Mildenhall, England, is the designated Air Force component for Special Operations Command Europe. Its squadrons are the 7th SOS, which flies the MC-130H Combat Talon; the 21st SOS, equipped with the MH-53J Pave Low; the 67th SOS, with the HC-130N/P Combat Shadow; and the 321st Special Tactics Squadron.

The 353rd Special Operations Group, with headquarters at Kadena Air Base, Japan, is the Air Force component for Special Operations Command Pacific. The squadrons are the 1st SOS, which flies the MC-130E Combat Talon; the 17th SOS, with the HC-130N/P Combat Shadow; the 31st SOS at Osan Air Base, Korea, which flies the MH-53J Pave Low helicopter; and the 320th STS.

 The 720th Special Tactics Group, with headquarters at Hurlburt Field has special operations combat controllers and pararescuemen who work jointly in special tactics teams. Its squadrons include the 23rd STS at Hurlburt Field and the 24th STS at Pope AFB, N.C. Their missions include: air traffic control for establishing air assault landing zones, close air support for strike aircraft and Spectre gunship missions, establishing casualty collection stations, and providing trauma care for injured personnel.

The U.S. Air Force Special Operations School at Hurlburt Field, provides special operations-related education to Department of Defense personnel, government agencies and allied nations. Subjects covered in its 15 courses range from regional affairs and cross-cultural communications to antiterrorism awareness, revolutionary warfare and psychological operations.

The 18th Flight Test Squadron, with headquarters at Hurlburt Field, provides expertise to improve the capabilities of special operations forces worldwide. The center conducts operational and maintenance suitability tests and evaluations for equipment, concepts, tactics and procedures for employment of special operations forces. Many of these tests are joint command and joint service projects.

Air Reserve Components

AFSOC gains two Air Reserve Component units when the organizations are mobilized. One is the 919th Special Operations Wing (AFRES) at Duke Field, Fla. Its 711th SOS flies the AC-130A Spectre gunship, while its 5th SOS flies the HC-130N/P Combat Shadow. The other is the 193rd Special Operations Group (ANG) at Harrisburg International Airport, Pa., which flies the EC-130E Commando Solo.

Point of Contact

Air Force Special Operations Command
Public Affairs Office; 100 Bartley St., Hurlburt Field, Florida 32544

DSN 579-5515 or (904) 884-5515

July, 1995


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