This article is organised as follows:

  • Part One: Background to AFSOC.
  • Part Two: Organisation of AFSOC.
  • Part Three: Miscellaneous.

You can read the old AFSOC (pre-2019) page here.

PART ONE: BACKGROUND

1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) which is the Air component of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

In August 1943, General Henry H. ‘Hap’ Arnold met with British Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten to discuss plans for American air support of British commando expeditions in the China-Burma-India theatre of operations. General Arnold coined the term ‘Air Commando’ to honour Lord Mountbatten, which also came to represent solidarity between US flyers and British-led ground forces.

Following demobilisation of armed forces after World War II the USAF inactivated Air Commando units.

In April 1962, as the US augmented its counter insurgency capabilities, the USAF re-established and activated the 1st Air Commando Group. By doing so, the link between one of WWII’s most famous combat units was reconnected with the Air Commandos of Vietnam.

More recently, after the 1980 failed rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran, known as Operation EAGLE CLAW, the Department of Defence saw a need to establish a counterterrorism task force with a permanently assigned staff and forces, and a panel to focus on special operations.

This decision led to the formation of USSOCOM in 1987 and in 1990 AFSOC was established. AFSOC is now the home of America’s Air Commandos.

Today, a core role of AFSOC is to provide Special Tactics personnel for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. They are USSOCOM’s tactical air and ground integration force and the US Air Force’s special operations ground force to enable global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.

There are nearly 1,000 Special Tactics operators within AFSOC and approximately 2,500 members make up the Special Tactics community, with almost 1,500 assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing.

This article is divided into three parts for easier reading. Part One is the introduction, aim, role of AFSOC, as well as outlining women’s progress in special warfare and defines special tactics. Part Two outlines the various special warfare roles in the Air Force, as well as the various units that make up AFSOC. Part Three provides a summary followed by useful publications and links, before finally providing a list of references.

1.1 Aim

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the US Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

1.2 What is AFSOC?

The AFSOC was established on 22 May 1990 and is located at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

It is one of four components of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida, and one of ten major Air Force Commands of the US Air Force.

AFSOC consists of military (Regular, Reserve and National Guard) and civilian personnel in operator, enabler and support roles (Vogel, 2015).

1.3 AFSOC Mission

The broad mission of AFSOC is to “Organize, train and equip Airmen to execute global special operations.” (USSOCOM, 2015a, p.26).

Core missions include:

  • Battlefield air operations;
  • Agile combat support;
  • Aviation foreign internal defence;
  • Information operations/military support operations;
  • Precision strike;
  • Specialised air mobility;
  • Command and control; and
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

1.4 Women and US Air Force Special Warfare

Women in the US military have, for a number of years, been able to serve in a variety of SOF-related roles, including:

  • Intelligence;
  • MISO and CA units;
  • Female engagement teams;
  • Cultural support teams; and
  • Air Force special operations aviation roles.

As of March 2015, approximately two-thirds of the roles in USSOCOM were integrated (Vogel, 2015).

On 04 December 2015, the US Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter, announced that beginning in January 2016, all military occupations would be open to women (Pellerin, 2015).

However, in a survey of over 7,600 special operations forces personnel by the RAND Corporation, the overwhelming view was negative: “Allowing women to serve in Navy SEAL, Army Delta or other commando units could hurt their effectiveness and lower the standards, and it may drive men away from the dangerous posts.” (Baldor, 2015).

In March 2019, it was confirmed that the first enlisted woman was attempting the “special operations weather career field.” (Pawlyk, 2019b).

Between 01 October 2017 and January 2019, there was:

  • A total of twelve female candidates talking to recruiters:
    • Six SERE (two were recruited).
    • Four EOD (three were recruited).
    • One TACP.
    • One SR.
  • In January 2019, seventeen female applicants were talking to recruiters.

Between December 2015 (when Air Force combat career fields were opened to women) and March 2019, there had been nine women in total who started Special Warfare training (i.e. recruited and in the training pipeline) (Pawlyk, 2019b):

  • One pursued PJ training (dropped out in first week due to injury);
  • Seven pursued TACP training; and
  • One pursued SR training.

1.5 What is Special Tactics?

Special Tactics is the US Air Force’s Special Operations ground combat forces. Special Tactics teams perform special operations missions to enhance air operations deep in enemy territory, or in remote locations in rugged terrain.

The easiest way to think about it is ‘Special Tactics’ is to US Air Force, as ‘SEALs’ is to the US Navy, and ‘Special Forces’ and ‘Rangers’ are to the US Army.

“Special Tactics teams assess, open, and control major airfields to clandestine dirt strips in either permissive or hostile locations, providing strategic access for our nation’s military.” (DVIDS, 2018).

PART TWO: ORGANISATION OF AFSOC

2.0 Air Force Special Warfare Roles

AFSOC consists of military (Regular, Reserve and Air National Guard) and civilian personnel in operator, enabler and support roles (Vogel, 2015). The military personnel of AFSOC can be divided into three broad categories:

  • Special Tactics:
    • Prior to 2018, all ground combat Airmen where known collectively as Battlefield Airmen; they are now known as Special Warfare Operators.
    • They are highly skilled operators who are trained and equipped to operate under difficult conditions using stealth, speed and teamwork.
    • In 2019, there was a change in which roles were considered special operations or combat support (Parker, 2018; Pawlyk, 2019a):
      • Special Operations (can also be referred to as Special Tactics/Special Warfare):
        • Pararescue Jumper (PJ) (enlisted only).
        • Combat Controllers (CCT) (enlisted only).
        • Special Reconnaissance (SR) (enlisted only).
        • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) (enlisted and officer).
        • Special Tactics Officer (officer only).
        • Combat Rescue Officer (officer only).
        • Non-rated Air Liaison Officer (ALO) (officer only).
      • Combat Support:
        • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) (enlisted only).
        • Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician (enlisted only).
    • Special Operations Surgical Teams (SOST):
      • An extremely lightweight, mobile and rapidly deployable element that provides highly advanced trauma life support, life-saving damage control surgery, pre/post-operative resuscitation and critical care, and casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) aboard special operations forces (SOF) aircraft and/or other opportune/civilian sea, air or land platforms.
    • Are JTACs in Special Tactics?
      • The term JTAC is a qualification or certification that any career field can obtain by attending the appropriate school, and is frequently misused to describe an individual.
      • Members in the CCT and TACP career fields predominantly hold the JTAC qualification.
  • Special Operations Aviators:
    • They fly a fleet of specially-modified aircraft (mainly under the cover of darkness) to provide battlefield air operations, agile combat support, aviation foreign internal defence, information operations/military support operations, precision strike, specialised air mobility; command and control; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance anywhere in the world.
  • Support Air Commandos:
    • Serve in a variety of mission support, maintenance and medical career fields; otherwise known as Combat Service Support (CSS).

AFSOC’s unique capabilities include airborne radio and television broadcast for Military Information Support Operations (MISO) [LINK], as well as aviation foreign internal defence instructors to provide other governments military expertise for their internal development. The command’s special tactics squadrons combine combat controllers, special operations weathermen, pararescuemen, and tactical air control party with other service SOF to form versatile joint special operations teams.

AFSOC is the second largest special operations organisation within USSOCOM with approximately 19,500 personnel (Feickert, 2015; USSOCOM, 2015a), up from 18,000 in 2013 (Robinson, 2013). Machina (2014) identifies 18,143 personnel of which 86% are military and 14% are civilian. In June 2019, it was reported that AFSOC had “20,800 active-duty, Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian professionals.” (USAF, 2019a).

2.1 AFSOC Units and Organisations

The HQ AFSOC is located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and is commanded by a Lieutenant General (OF-8), who is assisted by a Command Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).

AFSOC is organised as follows (AFSOC, 2019):

  • Headquarters (HQ).
  • Eight Special Operations Wings:
    • Active Duty (Regular):
      • 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
      • 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field.
      • 27th Special Operations Wing, Cannon AFB, New Mexico.
      • 352nd Special Operations Wing, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom.
      • 492nd Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field (replaced the US Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Centre in May 2017).
    • Air National Guard (ANG):
      • 137th Special Operations Wing, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
      • 193rd Special Operations Wing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
    • Reserve:
      • 919th Special Operations Wing, Duke Field, Florida.
  • One Special Operations Group:
    • 353rd Special Operations Group.

“The command has approximately 20,800 Total Force Airmen across 10 operational wings and two special operations groups.” (USAF, 2019b).

3.0 AFSOC HQ Key Personalities

Key personalities at AFSOC HQ include:

  • Commander: a Lieutenant General (OF-8).
  • Vice Commander: a Major General (OF-7).
  • ANG Assistant to the Commander: a Major General.
    • Provides insight and advice on the planning and integration for the command’s ANG personnel as well as direct access to senior National Guard leadership.
  • Mobilisation Assistant to the Commander: a Major General or Brigadier General (OF-6).
  • Special Assistant to the Commander AFSOC: a Brigadier General.
  • Executive Director: a civilian position.
    • Assists the AFSOC commander as the senior civilian focal point for ensuring all force development, combat capabilities, and resourcing allocations are effectively synchronised and integrated to meet war-fighter requirements.
    • The post holder plans, develops and implements mechanisms to validate current and future requirements; leveraging science and technology in support of equipment modernisation and training transformation initiatives.
  • Director – Plans, Programmes, Requirements and Assessments: a Brigadier General.
  • Deputy Director – Plans, Programmes, Requirements and Assessments: a Colonel (OF-5).
  • Chief, Personnel Support Division: a Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4).
  • Chief, Weapons and Tactics Branch: a Major (OF-3).
  • Senior Enlisted Leader: a Command Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).
    • Advises the commander on the readiness, training, education, and resiliency of the enlisted force.
  • Chief Enlisted Manager, Aircrew Standardisation & Evaluation Division, Headquarters AFSOC/A3V, a Master Sergeant?
  • Command Loadmaster Functional Manager, Aircrew Standardization & Evaluation Division, Headquarters AFSOC/A3VS, a Master Sergeant?

4.0 Special Operations Wings

This part of the article outlines the Special Operations Wings within AFSOC.

4.1 1st Special Operations Wing

The 1st Special Operations Wing is located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander 1st Special Operations Wing is assisted by the Vice-Commander, also a Colonel, and the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).

Both the 1st Special Operations Wing and 27th Special Operations Wing are composed of specialised aircraft to support special operations worldwide.

The broad mission of the 1st Special Operations Wing is to rapidly plan and execute specialised and contingency operations in support of US national priorities. Its core missions include:

  • Close air support;
  • Precision aerospace firepower;
  • Specialised aerospace mobility;
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations; and
  • Agile combat support.

At Hurlburt Field, in January 2016, there were approximately 10,500 personnel (8,500 military and 2,000 civilian); in August 2019, there were approximately 12,900 personnel (8,600 military and 4,300 civilian).

The 1st Special Operations Wing is organised into four groups, each consisting of a number of units:

  • 1st Special Operations Group:
    • 1st Special Operations Support Squadron.
    • 4th Special Operations Squadron, AC-130U Spooky Gunship.
    • 8th Special Operations Squadron, CV-22 Osprey.
    • 11th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron.
    • 15th Special Operations Squadron, MC-130H Combat Talon II.
    • 23rd Special Operations Weather Squadron.
    • 34th Special Operations Squadron, U-28A.
    • 65th Special Operations Squadron, MQ-9 Reaper.
    • 73rd Special Operations Squadron. AC-130J Ghostrider.
    • 319th Special Operations Squadron, U-28A.
  • 1st Special Operations Maintenance Group:
    • 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron.
    • 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
    • 901st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
    • Approximately 2,000 personnel.
  • 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group:
    • 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Contracting Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.
  • 1st Special Operations Medical Group:
    • 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Dental Squadron.
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Staff Agencies:
    • 1st Special Operations Air Operations Squadron.
    • 1st Special Operations Comptroller Squadron.
    • Various other wing agencies: Public Affairs, Staff Judge Advocate, Equal Opportunity, Inspector General, etc.

The 1st Special Operations Wing and Hurlburt Field also host 40 partner units from six major commands including HQ AFSOC, USAF Special Operations Air Warfare Centre, USAF Special Operations School, 505th Command and Control Wing, 24th Special Operations Wing, 25th Intelligence Wing, and the 823rd RED HORSE Squadron.

4.2 24th Special Operations Wing

The 24th Special Operations Wing (24 SOW) was established on 12 June 2012, with its headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Florida. It is the only special tactics wing in the USAF.

It is led by the Commander, a Colonel, who is assisted by the Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant.

Approximately 2,500 personnel make up the special tactics community, with almost 1,500 assigned to the 24 SOW. There are approximately 1,000 special tactics operators and 650 combat mission support Airmen (24 SOW, 2019).

The 24 SOW is organised as follows:

  • 720th Special Tactics Group (Hurlburt Field).
    • 720th Special Tactics Group, Detachment 1, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
    • 17th Special Tactics Squadron, Ft. Benning, Georgia.
    • 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina.
    • 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
    • 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
    • 26th Special Tactics Squadron, Cannon AFB, New Mexico.
    • 720th Operations Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
    • Approximately 800 personnel.
  • 724th Special Tactics Group (Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina).
    • 24th Special Tactics Squadron.
      • 24 STS provides special operations airmen for the Joint Special Operations Command, including CCT, SR, PJ’s, and TACP personnel.
      • They are the Air Force’s Tier 1 unit, and 24th STS members are provided as enablers to the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (aka Delta Force) and the Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU (aka SEAL Team 6) due to their specific skill sets.
      • As such, 24th STS members are also trained in conducting classified and clandestine operations including direct action, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, hostage rescue, and special reconnaissance.
    • 724th Operations Support Squadron.
    • 724th Intelligence Squadron.
    • 724th Special Tactics Support Squadron.
  • Special Tactics Training Squadron (Hurlburt Field, Florida).
    • The role of the squadron is twofold:
      • Recruit, assess, select, trains and develop five-level combat controllers, special reconnaissance, pararescue jumpers and special operations qualified TACP members for the 24th Special Operations Wing; and
      • Provide initial joint terminal attack control (JTAC) training to Army, Marine Corps and Air Force SOF.

The units of the Wing reside in 29 operating locations and have 16 geographically separated units.

The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron (Section 4.8), based at Standiford Field in Kentucky, and the 125th Special Tactics Squadron (Section 4.8), based at Portland International Airport in Oregan, are ANG units which augment the 24th Special Operations Wing in support of US national security objectives, combat operations, humanitarian efforts and training.

4.3 27th Special Operations Wing

The 27th Special Operations Wing is located at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander is assisted by the Vice-Commander, also a Colonel, and the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).

Both the 27th Special Operations Wing and 1st Special Operations Wing are composed of specialised aircraft to support special operations worldwide. Since its establishment in 1940, the Wing’s title has witnessed a number of iterations with its latest title being designated on 01 October 2007, following a move to AFSOC.

The role of the 27th Special Operations Wing is to provide and enable precise, reliable, flexible and responsive specialised airpower for joint forces. It conducts this role through seven core missions:

  • Precision strike missions;
  • Direct action;
  • Unconventional warfare;
  • Counter-terrorism;
  • Personnel recovery;
  • Psychological operations and military information support operations; and
  • Specialised mobility and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The 27th Special Operations Wing is organised into four groups and 23 squadrons operating a variety of aircraft (for example AC-130W, C-146, CV-22, MC-130J, MQ-1, MQ-9, PC-12 and U-28):

  • 27th Special Operations Group: Commanded by a Colonel (OF-5), provides a variety of specialised airpower missions including: lethal strike; ISR; fixed wing and tilt rotor battlefield mobility; helicopter aerial refuelling; and other specialised combat support missions.
    • 27th Special Operations Support Squadron, provides operational support to flight operations.
    • 3rd Special Operations Squadron, MQ-9 Reaper (formerly MQ-1 Predator).
    • 9th Special Operations Squadron, MC-130J Commando II.
    • 12th Special Operations Squadron, provides remotely piloted aircraft launch and recovery operations.
    • 16th Special Operations Squadron, AC-130W Stinger II.
    • 20th Special Operations Squadron, CV-22 Osprey.
    • 33rd Special Operations Squadron, MQ-9 Reaper.
    • 56th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron, provides specialised intelligence support.
    • 318th Special Operations Squadron, U-28A.
  • 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group: Commanded by a Colonel (OF-5), provides aircraft maintenance support for a variety of special operations aircraft. The group has approximately 1,800 military and civilian personnel across three Maintenance Squadrons and a Maintenance Operations staff.
    • 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, Accessories, AGE, Armament, Avionics, CV-22 Phase, Fabrication, Hydraulics, Maintenance Flight and Munitions.
    • 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 9th AUM and 16th AMU.
    • 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 3rd AMU and 20th AMU.
  • 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group: Commanded by a Colonel (OF-5), provides base support and services activities to ensure mission readiness of the Wing.
    • 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron.
    • 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron.
    • 27th Special Operations Contracting Squadron.
    • 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron.
    • 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron.
    • 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron
  • 27th Special Operations Medical Group: Commanded by a Colonel (OF-5), provides medical care (medical readiness and force health protection) to the Wing and population in the Northeast region of New Mexico and the panhandle of Northern Texas. The group has approximately 300 personnel.
    • 27th Special Operations Operational Medical Readiness Squadron (SOOMRS), focussing on active duty service members’ medical readiness.
      • Operational Medicine Clinic for active duty, non-flying units.
      • Flight Medicine Clinic for active duty, flying units.
      • Prior to 29 August 2019 it was the 27th Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Bioenvironmental, Dental and Optometry.
    • 27th Special Operations Health Care Operational Squadron (SOHCOS), focussing on non-active duty beneficiaries.
      • Family Health Clinic for active duty family members, retirees, retiree family members, and TRICARE Plus.
      • Paediatrics Clinic for active duty family members aged 17 or younger.
      • Prior to 29 August 2019 it was the 27th Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron, Family Medicine, Mental Health and ADAPT.
    • 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, Pharmacy and Radiology.
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Staff Agencies:
    • 27th Special Operations Air Operations Squadron: Provides command and control, and range operations.
    • 27th Special Operations Comptroller Squadron: Provides financial management and budgetary support.
    • Various other wing agencies: Public Affairs, Staff Judge Advocate, Equal Opportunity, Inspector General, etc.
  • Tenant Units:
    • 26th Special Tactics Squadron (part of 24th Special Operations Wing; Section 4.2).
    • 43rd Intelligence Squadron.
    • 551st Special Operations Squadron (part of 492nd Special Operations Wing; Section 4.5).

The workforce at Cannon AFB consists of approximately 5,800 to 6,000 military and civilian personnel.

The Melrose Air Force Range training area, which is located 25 miles west of Cannon AFB is approximately 70,000 acres of land and 2,500 square miles of airspace, is utilised for a variety of training such as air to ground, small arms and electronic combat.

4.4 352nd Special Operations Wing

The 352nd Special Operations Wing is located at Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander is assisted by a Vice-Commander, also a Colonel, and the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).

The 352nd Special Operations Wing is the Air Force component for Special Operations Command Europe, and is the only Air Force special operations unit in the US European Command. It has approximately 1,100-1,200 personnel (up from 750 in 2013 (Comer, 2013)), as well approximately 50 personnel attached/associated as members of the Joint Special Operations Air Component-Europe and Detachment 2 of the 25th Intelligence Squadron.

Under the operational control of Special Operations Command Europe, the role of the 352nd Special Operations Wing is twofold:

  1. Plan and perform specialised operations using advanced aircraft, tactics and air refuelling techniques to transport and resupply military forces.
  2. Provide tilt-rotor aircraft aerial refuelling and special operations weather capabilities.

The 352nd Special Operations Wing is comprised of two groups and six squadrons and two different types of aircraft, the MC-130J Commando II and the CV-22B Osprey (a tilt-rotor aircraft, which arrived on station in June 2013), which includes:

  • 752nd Special Operations Group: It is responsible for planning and executing specialised and contingency operations using advanced aircraft, tactics and air refuelling techniques to infiltrate, ex-filtrate and resupply special operations forces. It consists of a command section, two flying squadrons, a diverse support squadron, and a special tactics squadron.
    • 7th Special Operations Squadron: Operates the CV-22B Osprey, executing night, adverse weather, long-range troop transport and resupply operations into potentially hazardous areas. The squadron also supports non-combatant evacuation, humanitarian relief and other operations. The Ospreys are employed using a combination of terrain-following radar, high-precision avionics and sensors, and electronic countermeasures.
    • 67th Special Operations Squadron: Operates the MC-130J Commando II to provide specialised air mobility. Utilising night vision goggles, the aircraft penetrate potentially hazardous areas to conduct single-or multi-ship infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of SOF via airdrop or air/land operations, and conduct long range refuelling operations of SOF vertical lift assets. The squadron also supports information operations, humanitarian relief, medical evacuations and non-combatant evacuations.
    • 352nd Special Operations Support Squadron: Provides in-garrison and deployed command and control and operational support for two flying squadrons, one special tactics squadron and one maintenance squadron. The support includes exercise, logistics and contingency planning; aircrew training; communications; aerial delivery; medical; intelligence; security and force protection; weather; information technologies and current operations.
    • 321st Special Tactics Squadron: Provides a fast reaction, rapidly-deployable force capable of establishing and providing positive control of the air-to-ground interface during special operations or conventional missions. Unit combat controllers and pararescuemen conduct the reconnaissance, surveillance, assessment and establishment of assault zone sites and provide air traffic control and long-range secure command and control communications. Additionally, the squadron provides combat trauma medical care, personnel recovery and terminal attack control of munitions delivered by fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. The squadron also has special operations weathermen assigned to provide weather support for other military forces.
  • 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Group: Provides all operational maintenance on the MC-130J Commando II and the CV-22B Osprey aircraft assigned to the two special operations flying squadrons.
    • 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron: Provides all organisational and intermediate level maintenance on the fleet of CV-22B Osprey aircraft assigned. The squadron also provides management for the group’s engine and equipment inventories.
    • 352nd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron: Provides all organisational and intermediate-level maintenance for the fleet of MC-130J Commando IIs.

4.5 492nd Special Operations Wing

The 492nd Special Operations Wing is located at Hurlburt Field, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander is assisted by the Vice-Commander, a Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4), and the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).

The Wing was activated in May 2017 replacing the US Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Centre (Holt, 2017). It has locations at Duke Field, Florida; Cannon AFB, New Mexico; and Robins AFB, Georgia. It is also the Air Force’s only Irregular Warfare wing executing Combat Aviation Advising and Non-Standard Aviation. Finally the Wing is responsible for:

  • The training and education of Air Force special operations forces (AFSOF), innovation, development, and operational testing in support of AFSOF throughout the world; and
  • For mission qualification and continuation training in SOF aviation assets.

The 492nd Special Operations Wing is organised as follows (Holt, 2017; 492 SOW, 2019; Travis, 2019a):

  • 492nd Special Operations Group, Hurlburt Field.
    • 492nd Special Operations Support Squadron, Duke Field.
    • 592nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, Duke Field.
    • 524th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field.
    • 6th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field. Its role is threefold:
      • Assess, train, advise and assist foreign aviation units in special operations airpower employment, sustainment and force integration. When required, execute operations directly employing inherent tactical skills.
      • Apply mission capabilities across the operational continuum with emphasis on combating terrorism, foreign internal defence, unconventional warfare and coalition support.
      • Advise and assist combatant commanders, civilian agencies and foreign internal aviation units on planning and integrating foreign airpower into theatre campaign plans, contingencies, and other joint and multi-national activities.
  • 492nd Special Operations Training Group, Hurlburt Field.
    • It is the AFSOC focal point for training, SOF education and professional development, operational test and evaluation, tactics development and evaluation and rapid capability development.
    • Delivers qualification flight training and specialised combat training.
    • US Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS).
      • Provides (SOF) indoctrination, as well as political, military, and cultural studies supporting SOF operations in the various combatant theatres.
      • The school also provides language training, and specialised instructions on irregular warfare principles; building partner nation aviation capacity; aviation foreign internal defence; dynamics of international terrorism; and command, control and integration of Air Force SOF assets and AFSOF leadership development.
    • 371st Special Operations Combat Training Squadron, Hurlburt Field.
      • Provides ground training to AFSOC’s Airmen.
    • 18th Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron, Hurlburt Field.
      • Prior to 30 July 2019 was known as the 18th Flight Test Squadron (Travis, 2019b). At this point it was the only AFSOC flying squadron not to have the words ‘Special Operations’ in its title.
      • Evaluates aircraft, equipment, and tactics in realistic battlespace environments.
    • 19th Special Operations Squadron.
      • It is the Air Force’s most advanced Weapons Instruction and Mission Rehearsal unit.
      • It is the AFSOC formal school for AC-130H, AC-130U, and MC-130E training and mission rehearsal.
      • The squadron teaches more than 1,100 classes in 70 distinct syllabi of instruction for initial mission qualification, instructor upgrade and continuation refresher training.
    • 551st Special Operations Squadron, Cannon AFB.
      • It is responsible for mission qualification training of AFSOC AC-130W, and MQ-9 crewmembers, as well as continuation and refresher training for MC-130J and CV-22 crewmembers.
      • Trains upwards of 1,400 Air Commandos each year.
    • 492nd Special Operations Advanced Capabilities Squadron, Hurlburt Field.

4.6 137th Special Operations Wing

The 137th Special Operations Wing is located at Will Rogers ANG Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5) (Creech, 2015). The Commander is assisted by the Vice-Commander, also a Colonel, and the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9).

It is one of two ANG units, and joined AFSOC in 2015 being retitled (and rerolled) from the 137th Air Refuelling Wing (Creech, 2015). The role of the 137th Special Operations Wing is to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support directly to AFSOC ground forces serving overseas. This role is enabled through the use of the MC-12W, a medium-to-low altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft. It consists of approximately 1,200 personnel, three groups and 10 staff offices:

  • 137th Special Operations Wing Headquarters.
    • 137th Special Operations Comptroller Flight.
  • 137th Special Operations Group.
    • 185th Special Operations Squadron.
    • 189th Intelligence Squadron.
    • 285th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron.
  • 137th Special Operations Mission Support Group.
    • 137th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron.
    • 137th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.
    • 137th Special Operations Communications Flight.
    • 137th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron.
    • 137th Special Operations Force Support Squadron.
  • 137th Special Operations Medical Group.
  • Tenant Units:
    • 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
    • 146th Air Support Operations Squadron.
    • 205th Engineering & Installation Squadron.

4.7 193rd Special Operations Wing

193rd Special Operations Wing is located at Harrisburg International Airport, Pennsylvania, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander is assisted by the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9). It is one of two ANG units and has approximately 1,900 Guardsmen.

  • 193rd Special Operations Group.
    • 193rd Special Operations Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Support Squadron.
  • 193rd Special Operations Maintenance Group.
    • 193rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Maintenance Operations Flight.
  • 193rd Special Operations Mission Support Group.
    • 193rd Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Communications Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron.
    • 193rd Special Operations Force Support Squadron.
  • 193rd Special Operations Medical Group.
    • 193rd Special Operations Medical Group Detachment 1.
  • 193rd Air Operations Group.
    • 193rd Air Intelligence Squadron.
    • 193rd Combat Operations Squadron.
    • 193rd Air Communications Squadron.
  • 193rd Regional Support Group.
    • 148th Air Support Operations Squadron.
      • Provides combat-ready TACP for combat manoeuvre units of the 28th Infantry Division, including the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
      • The squadron’s primary role is to provide mission planning of direct combat air support and operate and supervise communications nets to support USAF air resources and Army ground manoeuvre units.
    • 201st RED HORSE Squadron.
      • The role of the squadron is to directly support combat air power and provide Commander in Chiefs, Federal and State authorities a flexible, well-rounded, heavy construction and repair capability.
    • 203rd Weather Flight.
      • Is a small, elite unit that analyses and predicts atmospheric conditions for pilots, war planners and decision makers.
    • 211th Engineering Installation Squadron.
      • The role squadron is to engineer, install, and relocate fixed command, control, communications, and computer (C4) systems in facilities.
    • 271st Combat Communications Squadron.
      • The role of the squadron is to deploy, operate and maintain tactical communications packages in support of USAF missions worldwide, or civil and disaster-relief missions within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
      • The squadron can provide command and control satellite nets, intra-site telephone services, data services, tactical switchboard, communications centre operations, network, and multi-site voice communications.
    • 553rd Air Force Band.
      • ANG Band of the Northeast.
    • Bollen Air-to-Ground Weapons Range, Detachment 1.
    • Lightning Force Academy.
      • The Academy is committed to developing the level of knowledge and skill needed to train personnel (both Active Duty and ANG) to support the engineering installation role.
    • Regional Equipment Operators Training Site (REOTS).
      • The role of the REOTS is to provide additional readiness training for upgrading proficiency levels of civil engineer heavy equipment operators, throughout the Department of Defence.
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing Agencies:
    • Provides command management and a wide variety of services to almost everyone on base.
    • The agencies working directly for the wing commander, vice wing commander and the command chief include: the Comptroller Flight, Wing Administration, Public Affairs, Wing Plans, the Inspector General, Staff Judge Advocate, Wing Safety, Equal Opportunity, Chaplain, Command Post, and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection.

4.8 Others ANG Units of AFSOC

There are a number of ANG units that come under the AFSOC umbrella, including:

  • 280th Special Operations Communications Squadron.
    • Located at Dothan Regional Airport, Hall Air Guard Station, Alabama.
    • Re-designated in April 2014 and has supported special operations missions since 1999 (Burylo, 2014).
    • Provides over 44% of AFSOC’s deployed communications capabilities.
    • Provides strategic air defence and sovereignty, air tactical warning and assessment to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) Commander and Combined Air Operations Centre in support of homeland defence and security of the South-Eastern US (Alabama ANG, 2019).
    • The unit is responsible for monitoring air traffic in the world’s busiest air corridor, and is one of three NORAD Sectors that combine the use of military and FAA radar facilities to accomplish its mission.
  • 209th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron.
    • Refer to Section 6.0 for details.
  • 123rd Special Tactics Squadron.
    • Located at Standiford Field, Kentucky, it provides combat controllers and pararescuemen for worldwide operational needs.
    • In July 2015, it had the only Department of Defence search and rescue (SAR) dog, Callie (Horton, 2019).
  • 125th Special Tactics Squadron.
    • Located at Portland International Airport, Oregan, it provides combat controllers and pararescuemen for worldwide operational needs.
  • 107th Special Operations Weather Flight:
    • The 127th Wing supports AFSOC with its 107th Weather Flight located at Selfridge ANG Base, Michigan.
    • This unit gathers, assesses and interprets weather and environmental intelligence from deployed locations while working primarily with Air Force and Army SOF.
  • 146th Weather Flight.
    • Located at Pittsburgh ANG Base, Corapolis, Pennsylvania.
    • The unit has two missions, ground-support (weather mission) and special operations (combat weather mission).
  • 181st Weather Flight:
    • The 136th Airlift Wing supported AFSOC with its 181st Weather Flight located at Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Texas (Overton, 2017).
    • The unit decommissioned in the fall (winter) of 2017 (DVIDS, 2017).

4.9 919th Special Operations Wing

919th Special Operations Wing is located at Elgin AFB, Duke Field, Florida, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander is assisted by the Vice Commander, also a Colonel, and the Wing Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9). It is the only Reserve Special Operations Wing in the USAF and has approximately 1,300 reservists, with about 280 air reserve technicians and 35 civilians.

It is a subordinate unit of the 10th Air Force headquartered at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, and the Air Force Reserve Command, with headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. In wartime or a contingency, the wing reports to AFSOC.

The role of the Wing is to:

  • Perform the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support mission as well as its Combat Aviation Advisor and Non-Standard Aviation programs utilising C-145A and C-146A aircraft.
  • Conduct flight instruction and deploy as required in the U-28, AC-130U, C-145A and C-146A aircraft.
  • Employ the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft in support of combatant commanders worldwide.

The Wing works closely with 27 SOW and 492 SOW.

The Wing is organised as follows:

  • 919th Special Operations Group.
    • 2nd Special Operations Squadron.
    • 5th Special Operations Squadron.
      • The role of the 5th Special Operations Squadron is to deliver formal special operations aircrew training in the form of covert night infiltration, resupply and combat infiltration and exfiltration operations.
    • 311th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron.
    • 711th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field.
    • 859th Special Operations Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Support Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Wing Development and Training Flight.
  • 919th Special Operations Maintenance Group.
    • 919th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
    • 919th Maintenance Operations Flight.
  • 919th Special Operations Mission Support Group.
    • 919th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Communications Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron.
    • 919th Special Operations Force Support Squadron.
  • 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron.

5.0 Special Operations Groups

Unlike other Special Operations Groups which come under the command of a Special Operations Wing, the 353rd Special Operations Group is home-based in Japan and comprises the Air Force’s special operations air arm of the Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), a sub-unified command to the US Pacific Command.

5.1 353rd Special Operations Group

The 353rd Special Operations Group is located at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and is commanded by a Colonel (OF-5). The Commander is assisted by a Deputy Commander, also a Colonel, and the Group Command Chief, a Chief Master Sergeant (OR-9). The group is comprised of more approximately 800 personnel and is the only Air Force special operations unit in the Pacific.

The role of the 353rd Special Operations Group is fourfold:

  1. Provide air support of joint and allied SOF in the Pacific.
  2. Participates in Pacific theatre exercises as directed.
  3. Support humanitarian and relief operations.
  4. Develop wartime and contingency plans, which effectively use the full range of fixed wing capabilities, to include the infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of US and allied SOF.

The primary peacetime responsibility of the 353rd SOG is to oversee the training and maintenance of its assigned units. The 353rd Special Operations Group is the Air Force component for Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), a sub-unified command to the US Pacific Command.

The 353rd Special Operations Group has approximately 750-800 personnel and is comprised of five squadrons and one detachment:

  • 1st Special Operations Squadron: Operates the MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft in support of joint and allied SOF.
  • 17th Special Operations Squadron: Operates the MC-130J Commando II (previously the MC-130P Combat Shadow). The primary mission of this aircraft is to aerial refuel special operations helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft. It is also capable of day and night low-level delivery of troops and equipment via airdrop or airland operations. Just as the aircrews of the Combat Talon, these crews are trained in NVG flying.
  • 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1: Provides dedicated, real-time threat warning and enhanced situational awareness in support of AFSOC. The unit serves as the conduit between the USAF Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency and provides maintenance and support to the group.
  • 320th Special Tactics Squadron: Provides pararescuemen and combat controllers for the establishment of drop and landing zones, air traffic control to the landing zone, combat medical care and evacuation, and combat search and rescue for both fixed and rotary wing assets.
  • 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron: Operates the logistics and operations planning support functions for the entire group, and also contains and maintains all of the communications assets assigned to the group. The squadron also contains the intelligence function for the group. In contingency operations and wartime actions, the squadron becomes the group commander’s combat staff.
  • 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron: Provides the majority of off-aircraft and ‘back shop’ maintenance for the assets of the group, and also contains the majority of the supply function for the group

6.0 Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Centre

The Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Centre – Battlefield Airmen Centre (CRTC-BAC) is located adjacent to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Gulfport, Mississippi. It is a 277 acre USAF training centre commanded by a Colonel.

The role of the CRTC-BAC is to provide Battlefield Airmen (now Special Warfare) a unique cross-domain training venue that enables global combat effectiveness (Mississippi National Guard, 2019). It trains and supports both global contingency operations and stateside domestic responses.

The CRTC-BAC has two tenant Mississippi ANG units:

  • 209th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron.
    • Re-designated in early 2015.
    • Specialises in supporting special operations forces in a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) environment.
  • 255th Air Control Squadron.
    • A Control and Reporting Centre with radar control, data links and communications capability.
  • 1108 Theatre Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (not a tenant of CTRC-BAC, a co-located unit of the Mississippi Army National Guard).

PART THRE: MISCELLANEOUS

7.0 Summary

The US Air Force’s Special Warfare roles are open to all appropriately qualified male and female personnel of the US Air Force. Special Warfare training seeks to attract determined, highly-motivated, intelligent, reliable and physically fit individuals to serve with the US Air Force’s SOF community. This article provides an outline of the units that form the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

7.1 Useful Publications

  • Air Force Policy Directives (AFPD):
    • AFPD 10-30 – Personnel Recovery. Dated 09 February 2012.
    • AFPD 10-35 – Battlefield Airmen.
    • AFPD 16-12 – Pararescue. Dated 01 July 1998.
    • AFPD 16-13 – Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape (SERE). Dated 01 March 2000.
  • Air Force Instructions (AFI):
    • AFI 13-112, Volume 1 – Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Training Programme.
    • AFI 13-112, Volume 2 – Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Standardisation/Evaluation Programme.
    • AFI 13-219, Volume 1 – Combat Control & Special Tactics Officer Training. Dated 21 April 2011.
    • AFI 13-219, Volume 2 – Combat Control & Special Tactics Officer Standardisation & Evaluation. Dated 21 April 2011.
    • AFI 15-128 – Air Force Weather Roles & Responsibilities, Air Combat Command Supplement.
    • AFI 15-135, Volume 1 – Special Operations Weather Training.
    • AFI 15-135, Volume 2 – Special Operations Weather Standardisation & Evaluation.
    • AFI 15-135, Volume 3 – Special Operations Weather Team Operations.
    • AFI 16-1202, Volume 1 – Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officer Training Programme.
    • AFI 16-1202, Volume 2 – Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officer Standardisation and Evaluation.
      • AFGCM Supplement 16-1202, Volume 2, Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officer Standardisation and Evaluation.
    • AFI 31-501 – Personnel Security Programme Management.
    • AFI 36-2210 – Airfield Operations Officer Training Programme.
    • AFI 48-123 – Medical Examinations and Standards.
  • Career Field Education & Training Plans (CFETP):
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 13DX, Combat Rescue Officer. Dated 01 February 2015.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 15WX, Weather Officer. Dated 15 March 2012.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1C2X1, Combat Control. Dated 01 September 2014.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1T2XX, Pararescue Specialty. Dated 15 May 2008.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1W0X1-A, Weather. Dated May 2001.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1W0XX, Weather – Change 2. Dated 01 June 2010.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1W0XX, Weather – Change 5. Dated 15 March 2012.
  • Reports and Studies:
    • Allen, T.P. (2002) Improving USAF Special Tactics Readiness to meet the Operational Demands of the USAF and US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Master’s Thesis. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA404585. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].
    • Baumgartner, N. (2015) AF Tier Two Physical Fitness Tests and Standards Study. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.nsca.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=36507225370. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].
    • Cassidy, J.F. (2013) A History of the Implementing and Evolving of Medical Instruction and Medical Training given to USAF Pararescuemen from 1947 to 2000. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.alaska.net/~jcassidy/pdf_files/Pararescue%20Medical%20Training%20History.pdf. [Accessed: 13 March, 2016].
    • Coble, B.B. (1997) Benign Weather Modification. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air Univeristy Press.
    • Manacapilli, T., Hardison, C.M., Gifford, B., Bailey, A. & Bower, A. (2007) Common Battlefield Training for Airmen. Santa Monica, California: RAND Corporation. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG624.pdf. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].
    • Occupational Analysis Programme (1998) Occupational Survey Report: Weather, AFSCs 1W0X1/A and 15WX/A, AFPT 90-1W0-098. Available from World Wide Web: www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a343938.pdf. Accessed: 10 march, 2016].
    • Physical Fitness Tests and Standards for Battlefield Airmen Study. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/wisr-studies/USAF%20-%20Physical%20Fitness%20Tests%20and%20Standards%20for%20Battlefield%20Airmen%20Study.pdf. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].
    • Rose, M.R. & Barron, L.G. (2015) Validation Review and Documentation for CRO, STO, CCT, and SOWT Assessment Programs. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/wisr-studies/USAF%20-%20Validation%20Review%20and%20Documentation%20for%20CRO%20STO%20CCT%20and%20SOWT%20Assessment%20Programs.pdf. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].
    • Rush, S., Boccio, E., Kharod, C.U. & D’Amore, J. (2015) Evolution of Pararescue Medicine During Operation Enduring Freedom. Military Medicine. 180(3), pp.68-73. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273318279_Evolution_of_Pararescue_Medicine_During_Operation_Enduring_Freedom. [Accessed: 13 March, 2016].
    • Walker, T.B., Lennemann, L.M., McGregor, J.N., Mauzy, C. & Zupan, M.F. (2011) Physiological and Psychological Characteristics of Successful Combat Controller Trainees. Journal Of Special Operations Medicine. 11(1), pp.39-47.
  • Books:
    • Caldwell, M.F. (2015) Pararescue – It’s a Fine Madness: Volume One – Through the Looking Glass. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.
    • Allen, R.C. (ed) (2001) Pararescue Medication and Procedure Handbook. 2nd Ed. 28 February, 2001. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.ciomr.org/download/res/PARARESCUE_MEDICATION_AND_PROCEDURE_HANDBOOK-1.pdf. [Accessed: 13 March, 2016].
    • US Air Force Special Operations School Factbook 2018.

7.2 Useful Links

  • US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM): http://www.socom.mil/.
  • Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC): http://www.afsoc.af.mil/.
  • Hurlburt Field: http://www.hurlburt.af.mil/.
  • Cannon Air Force Base: https://www.cannon.af.mil/.
  • 24th Special Operations Wing: http://www.24sow.af.mil/FAQs.aspx.
  • 352nd Special Operations Wing: https://www.352sow.af.mil/.
  • 492nd Special Operations Wing: https://www.492sow.af.mil/.
  • 137th Special Operations Wing: https://www.137sow.ang.af.mil/.
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing: https://www.193sow.ang.af.mil/.
  • 919th Special Operations Wing: https://www.919sow.afrc.af.mil/.

7.3 References

24 SOW (24th Special Operations Wing). (2019) Unit Fact Sheet. 15 May 2019. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/Portals/80/Images/ST%20fact%20sheet_CAO%2015%20May%2019.pdf?ver=2019-05-17-130355-003. [Accessed: 15 August, 2019].

AFSOC (United States Air Force Special Operations Command). (2019) Home Page. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.afsoc.af.mil/. [Accessed: 16 August, 2019].

Alabama ANG (Alabama Air National Guard). (2019) Hall Air Guard Station. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.goang.com/locations/alabama/hall-air-guard-station.html. [Accessed: 19 August, 2019].

Baldor, L.C. (2015) US Special Operators Say No to Women in Special Operations Jobs. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/12/11/us-special-operators-say-no-to-women-in-special-operations-jobs.html. [Accessed: 07 January, 2016].

Burylo, R. (2014) Dothan National Guard Unit to be Re-Designated. Available from World Wide Web: https://eu.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/local/alabama/2014/04/12/dothan-national-guard-unit-to-be-re-designated/7633373/. [Accessed: 19 August, 2019].

DVIDS (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service). (2017) 181st Weather Flight conducts Static Line Jumps over Corpus Christi, Texas. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/542938/181st-weather-flight-conducts-static-line-jumps-over-corpus-christi-texas?fbclid=IwAR04nbKWrGNatG0tuOUw1PGMrNCfpOY-BPSHMEG4222h8t43XfBJ9ueY-vg#.WYxzBCqAxkQ.facebook. [Accessed: 19 August, 2019].

DVIDS (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service). (2018) 125th STS trains alongside joint teammates to sharpen readiness [Image 1 of 5]. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.dvidshub.net/image/5365302/125th-sts-trains-alongside-joint-teammates-sharpen-readiness. [Accessed: 19 August, 2019].

Feickert, A. (2015) U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

Holt, K. (2017) 492nd Special Operations Wing activation completes circle of history, heritage. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.492sow.af.mil/News/Article/1778420/492nd-special-operations-wing-activation-completes-circle-of-history-heritage/. [Accessed: 16 August, 2019].

Horton, J. (2019) Kentucky Air Guard home to DoD’s only search and rescue dog. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1916046/kentucky-air-guard-home-to-dods-only-search-and-rescue-dog/. [Accessed: 19 August, 2019].

Losey, S. (2016) Air Force to cut battlefield airmen training locations in half to save money, time. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2016/10/01/air-force-to-cut-battlefield-airmen-training-locations-in-half-to-save-money-time/. [Accessed: 15 August, 2019].

Losey, S. (2018a) New wing aims to transform how special warfare airmen are trained. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/10/18/new-wing-aims-to-transform-how-special-warfare-airmen-are-trained/. [Accessed: 15 August, 2019].

Losey, S. (2018b) Here’s how sports medicine is transforming battlefield airmen’s training. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/11/23/heres-how-sports-medicine-is-transforming-battlefield-airmens-training/. [Accessed: 15 August, 2019].

Machina, F. (2014) Resourcing Special Operations. Available from World Wide Web: www.asmconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/30-Machina.pdf. [Accessed: 16 December, 2015].

Mississippi National Guard. (2019) Combat Readiness Training Center Battefield Airmen Center. Available from World Wide Web: https://ms.ng.mil/installations/crtc/Pages/default.aspx. [Accessed: 19 August, 2019].

Parker, D. (2018) Battlefield Airmen now Developed using Tech Advantages. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article/1651793/battlefield-airmen-now-developed-using-tech-advantages/. [Accessed: 15 August, 2019].

Pawlyk, O. (2019a) SpecOps Recruiting Squadron Helps Air Force Combat ‘Runaway Attrition’. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/01/17/specops-recruiting-squadron-helps-air-force-combat-runaway-attrition.html. [Accessed: 13 August, 2019].

Pawlyk, O. (2019b) First Enlisted Woman to Try for Air Force Special Operations Weather Career. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/03/22/first-enlisted-woman-try-air-force-special-operations-weather-career.html. [Accessed: 13 August, 2019].

Pellerin, C. (2015) SecDef Opens all Military Occupations to Women. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.therecruiterjournal.com/secdef-opens-all-military-occupations-to-women.html. [Accessed: 04 December, 2015].

Rempfer, K. (2019) Spec Ops Weathermen get name Change, New Mission to Better Fight Great Powers. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/05/13/spec-ops-weathermen-get-name-change-new-mission-to-better-better-fight-great-powers/. [Accessed: 13 August, 2019].

Robinson, L. (2013) Council Special Report No.66. The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces. New York, NY: Council on Foreign Relations.

Travis, C. (2019a) Col. Andrew Jett assumes command of 492nd Special Operations Wing. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.492sow.af.mil/News/Article/1847891/col-andrew-jett-assumes-command-of-492nd-special-operations-wing/. [Accessed: 16 August, 2019].

Travis, C. (2019b) 18th Flight Test Squadron Redesignates as 18th Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.492sow.af.mil/News/Article/1924673/18th-flight-test-squadron-redesignates-as-18th-special-operations-test-and-eval/. [Accessed: 16 August, 2019].

USAF (United States Air Force). (2018a) 330th Recruiting Squadron. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.recruiting.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/1663285/330th-recruiting-squadron/. [Accessed: 14 August, 2019].

USAF (United States Air Force). (2018b) New Squadron Specializes in Battlefield Airmen Recruiting. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.recruiting.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1564516/new-squadron-specializes-in-battlefield-airmen-recruiting/. [Accessed: 14 August, 2019].

USAF (United States Air Force). (2019) Lieutenant General James C. “Jim” Slife. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/467467/lieutenant-general-james-c-jim-slife/. [Accessed: 16 August, 2019].

USAF (United States Air Force). (2019b) Chief Master Sergeant Cory M. Olson. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.afsoc.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/795620/chief-master-sergeant-cory-m-olson/. [Accessed: 16 August, 2019].

USSOCOM (US Special Operations Command) (2015a) USSOCOM Fact Book 2016. Tampa, Florida: USSOCOM.

Vogel, J.L. (2015) Statement of General Joseph L. Vogel, U.S. Army Commander United States Special Operations Command before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, March 18, 2015. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.socom.mil/Documents/2015%20USSOCOM%20Posture%20Statement.pdf. [Accessed: 29 December, 2015].

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