Updated On: 12/9/2012 6:35:37 PM
Established at Hurlburt Field, Fla., on May 22, 1990, AFSOC is a major command and the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
AFSOC is America's specialized air power, delivering Special Operations power anytime, anywhere. AFSOC is responsible to U.S. Special Operations Command for the readiness of Air Force special operations forces in the conduct of the War on Terrorism to disrupt, defeat and destroy terrorist networks that threaten the United States, its citizens and interests worldwide.
AFSOC responsibilities include Shaping and Stability Operations, Battlefield Air Operations, Information Operations, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), SOF Mobility, Precision Engagement, Agile Combat Support. The command's special operations forces are comprised of highly trained, rapidly deployable Airmen who are equipped with highly specialized aircraft.
AFSOC is responsible to USSOCOM for the readiness of Air Force SOF for worldwide deployment. These forces provide global ability to conduct special operations missions ranging from precision application of firepower, to infiltration, exfiltration, resupply and refueling of SOF operational elements.
AFSOC's unique capabilities include airborne radio and television broadcasts for psychological operations, as well as combat aviation advisors to provide other governments with military expertise for their internal development. The command's special tactics squadrons combine combat control, special operations weather and pararescuemen to ensure air power is integrated and operable with other special operations and conventional forces.
AFSOC has more than 14,800 active duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian personnel. The command's four active duty and five Reserve component flying units are composed of more than 130 fixed-wing, rotarywing and tilt-rotor aircraft, including the AC-130H/U, C-130, EC-130, MC- 130E/H/P/W variants, MH-53 helicopter and CV-22, PC-12 and U-28. Forces are organized under two active duty wings, one Reserve wing and one Air National Guard wing, two overseas groups and several direct reporting units. The command operates two major active duty bases, Hurlburt Field and Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
The 1st Special Operations Wing
The 1st Special Operations Wing, at Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the largest special operations wing in the Air Force Special Operations Command.
The 1 SOW mission is to organize, train and equip Air Force special operations forces for global employment. It focuses on unconventional warfare, including counter-insurgency and psychological operations during low intensity conflicts.
The 1 SOW falls under the Air Force Special Operations Command, the air arm of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. At the direction of the National Command Authority, the 1 SOW deploys with specially trained and equipped forces from each service, working as a team to support national security objectives. Special operations are often undertaken in enemy controlled areas and can cover a myriad of activities. Special operations allows the United States to better protect its interests in low-intensity conflicts throughout the world.
The 1 SOW manages a fleet of more than 80 aircraft with a military and civilian work force of more than 8,000 people. There are nine flying squadrons and six maintenance squadrons
The primary missions of the AC-130 gunship are close air support, air interdiction and force protection. Missions in close air support are troops in contact, convoy escort and urban operations. Air interdiction missions are conducted against preplanned targets or targets of opportunity. Force protection missions include air base defense and facilities defense.
These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets - Any Time, Any Place. The AC-130U employs synthetic aperture strike radar for long-range target detection and identification. The gunship's navigational devices include the inertial navigation systems and global positioning system. The AC-130U employs the latest technologies and can attack two targets simultaneously. It also has twice the munitions capacity of the AC-130H.
The AC-130H's call sign is "Spectre." The AC-130U's call sign is "Spooky." The U-model is the third generation of C-130 gunships. All gunships evolved from the first operational gunship, the AC-47, used in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. The AC-130 gunship has a combat history dating to Vietnam. Gunships destroyed more than 10,000 trucks and were credited with many life-saving close air support missions. During Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in 1983, AC-130s suppressed enemy air defense systems and attacked ground forces enabling the successful assault of the Point Salines Airfield via airdrop and air land of friendly forces. The aircrew earned the Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner Award for the mission. AC-130s had a primary role during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989, when they destroyed Panamanian Defense Force Headquarters and numerous command and control facilities.
Aircrews earned the Mackay Trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year and the Tunner Award for their efforts. During Operation Desert Storm, AC-130s provided close air support and force protection (air base defense) for ground forces. Gunships were also used during operations Continue Hope and United Shield in Somalia, providing close air support for United Nations ground forces. Gunships also played a pivotal role in supporting the NATO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The AC-130H provided air interdiction against key targets in the Sarajevo area.
In 1997, gunships were diverted from Italy to provide combat air support for U.S. and Allied ground troops during the evacuation of American noncombatants in Albania. Gunships also were part of the buildup of U.S. forces in 1998 to convince Iraq to comply with U.N. weapons inspections. More recently, both aircraft have been employed in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Gunships provided armed reconnaissance, interdiction and direct support of ground troops engaged with enemy forces.
The MC-130E Combat Talon I and MC-130H Combat Talon II provide infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces and equipment in hostile or denied territory. Secondary missions include psychological operations and helicopter air refueling. The Combat Shadow flies clandestine or low visibility, single or multi-ship, low-level missions intruding politically sensitive or hostile territory to provide air refueling for special operations helicopters.
The MC-130P primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats. Secondary mission capabilities may include airdrop of leaflets, small special operations teams, bundles and combat rubber raiding craft, as well as night vision goggles, takeoff and landing procedures and in-flight refueling as a receiver.
Both aircraft features terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radars capable of operations as low as 250 feet in adverse weather conditions. Structural changes to a basic C-130 include the addition of an in-flight refueling receptacle, and strengthening of the tail to allow high speed/ low-signature airdrop. Their navigation suites include dual ring-laser gyros, mission computers and integrated global positioning system. They can locate, and either land or airdrop on small, unmarked zones with pinpoint accuracy day or night.
An extensive electronic warfare suite enables the aircrew to detect and avoid potential threats. If engaged, the system will protect the aircraft from both radar and infrared-guided threats. Currently, the MC-130E is equipped with aerial refueling pods to provide in-flight refueling of Special Operations Forces and combat search and rescue helicopters.
The MC-130H will be modified to provide this capability in the near future. The primary difference between the MC-130E and MC-130H involves the degree of integration of the mission computers and avionics suite. The Combat Talon I was conceived originally and developed during the 1960s, and although extensively upgraded in the 1980s-90s it still features analog instrumentation and does not fully integrate the sensors and communications suites. The Combat Talon II, designed in the 1980s, features an integrated glass flight deck which improves crew coordination and reduces the crew complement by two.
Recent modifications to the MC-130P feature improved navigation, communications, threat detection and countermeasures systems. The Combat Shadow fleet has a fully-integrated inertial navigation and global positioning system, and night vision goggle compatible interior and exterior lighting. It also has forward looking infrared, radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers, night vision goggle compatible heads-up display, satellite and data-burst communications, as well as in-flight refueling capability as a receiver (on 15 aircraft).
The Combat Shadow can fly in the day against a low threat. The crews fly night low-level, air refueling and formation operations using night vision goggles. To enhance the probability of mission success and survivability near populated areas, employment tactics incorporate no external lighting and no communications to avoid radar and weapons detection.
MH-53J/M PAVE LOW
The PAVE LOW's mission is low-level, long-range, undetected penetration into denied areas, day or night, in adverse weather, for infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces.
The MH-53J PAVE LOW III heavy-lift helicopter is the largest, most powerful and technologically advanced helicopter in the Air Force inventory. The terrain following and terrain-avoidance radar, forward-looking infrared sensor, inertial navigation system with global positioning system, along with a projected map display, enable the crew to follow terrain contours and avoid obstacles, making low-level penetration possible. The MH-53M PAVE LOW IV is a Jmodel that has been modified with the Interactive Defensive Avionics System/ Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal or IDAS/MATT. The system enhances present defensive capabilities of the PAVE LOW. It provides instant access to the total battlefield situation, through near real-time Electronic Order of Battle updates. It also provides a new level of detection avoidance with near real-time threat broadcasts over-the-horizon, so crews can avoid and defeat threats, and re-plan en route if needed.
Under the PAVE LOW III program, the Air Force modified nine MH-53Hs and 32 HH-53s for night and adverse weather operations. Modifications included forward- looking infrared, inertial global positioning system, Doppler navigation systems, terrain-following and terrain avoidance radar, an on-board computer and integrated avionics to enable precise navigation to and from target areas. The Air Force designated these modified versions as MH-53Js.
The CV-22's mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
This versatile, self-deployable aircraft offers increased speed and range over other rotary-wing aircraft, enabling Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews to execute long-range special operations missions in one period of darkness. The CV-22 can perform missions that normally would require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The CV-22 is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared radar and other advanced avionics systems that allow it to operate at low altitude in adverse weather conditions and medium to high-threat environments.
The CV-22 is an Air Force-modified version of the V-22 Osprey transport/ utility aircraft. The first two Air Force test aircraft were delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in September, 2000, for flight testing.
The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M., began CV-22 aircrew training with the first two production aircraft in August, 2006. The first two operational CV-22s were delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command's 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in fiscal 2007. Initial operating capability is scheduled for fiscal 2009. A total of 50 CV-22 aircraft will be delivered by fiscal 2017.
1st Special Operations Wing Staff Agencies
The Public Affairs Office is tasked with keeping the base, the public and the news media informed about Hurlburt Field. It manages the command information, community relations and media relations programs for the 1st Special Operations Wing. Public affairs now also encompasses the base photo lab, video and graphics, Web pages and the Commander's Access Channel, a special access channel provided to facilities on base as well as cable subscribers in base housing areas. Public affairs also works closely with the Northwest Florida Daily News and the Bay Beacon for production of the new base papers - the Hurlburt Warrior and the Hurlburt Patriot. With the nature of the special operations mission, news media interest of the base remains high. Public affairs' responsibilities include arranging interviews with subject matter experts, answering queries and serving as the official spokespersons for the base. Public affairs' customer service element is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday. The public affairs staff can be reached during normal duty hours at 850-884-7190 or through the 1st SOW Command Post after hours.
The Command Post is the primary 1st Special Operations Wing command and control facility. The building also houses the Emergency Operations Center, the Maintenance Operations Control Center and 1 SOW Battlestaff function. The Command Post and Maintenance Operations Control Center are manned 24 hours a day. The facility is located at 217 Terry Ave, Bldg. 90208, adjacent to the wing headquarters building and may be reached at 850-884-8100 and 850-884-8106.
The History Office maintains a library and repository of historical information for the 1st Special Operations Wing. The historians are responsible for compiling an annual classified wing history, documenting deployments, maintenance operations, service support, changes of command, new inventories, outstanding unit awards and lineage and honors. After each historical edition is approved, one is stored at the wing while copies are forwarded to the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. The History Office also has background information on the individuals who have streets named in their honor, the original emblem design for all wing units and oral history interviews with two original Air Commandos, Lt. Col. Philip Cochran and Lt. Col. John Allison. Aside from compiling information, historians provide Air Park tours, conduct heritage briefings and take inquiries from the wing, government agencies and the general public.
The 1st Special Operations Civilian Personnel Flight provides the full range of civilian personnel support to the commanders, managers, supervisors, employees and families of appropriated fund federal civilian employees. The flight provides management advisory services in the areas of employee relations, labor relations, position classification, training and staffing. Recruitment, benefits and entitlements (insurance, retirement, Thrift Savings Plan) and personnel records and coding for base employees is handled by the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC), Randolph AFB, Texas. The civilian personnel flight is located in Bldg. 90210, Rm. 135.
Inspector General Office
The 1st Special Operations Wing Inspector General function is twofold. First, it oversees the base's complaints and Fraud, Waste & Abuse programs. As its primary charge, the IG ensures a viable, responsive complaints program characterized by fairness, integrity and impartiality. Secondly, it assesses unit readiness through a combination of base wide exercises and the installation's self inspection program. In this regard, it's also responsible for planning, executing and evaluating exercise scenarios in order to provide wing leadership a site picture of the wing's response capability. The office is located in Bldg. 90325. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 850-884-5534.
Equal Opportunity Office
Effective Jan. 1, 2008, the Military Equal Opportunity and Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity offices merged becoming the Equal Opportunity office. The EO office provides guidance in assisting commanders, staff agency chiefs, military and civilian personnel, family members and retirees on equal opportunity and human relations issues. Additionally, EO processes informal and formal discrimination/sexual harassment complaints and conducts human relations education. EO makes referrals to appropriate agencies as necessary. Their office is in Bldg. 90210, Ste. 241. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fax 884-2630. For more information, call 850-884-7888 or 850-884-6844 or 850-884-2631 or 850-884-5879.
Manpower & Organization
Manpower and Organization provides advice on manpower resource requirements, manages the wing's unit manpower document and validates UTC and deployment requirement document changes for exercises and contingency planning. The flight provides management services and evaluations, management advisory services, wartime manpower support, facilitation of process improvement teams, application of process improvement tools and techniques, development and implementation of performance measures and the application of Capability Manpower Standards. The unit also manages wing-level Office of Management and Budget A-76 Competitive Sourcing and Privatization studies, productivity and IDEA programs and the base manpower programming and execution system. For more information, call850-884-7594.
Plans & Programs
Wing Plans and Programs is the focal point for wing-level, cross-functional operations and plans. It conducts wing strategic planning and implements this plan through worldwide deployments, training, exchanges and exercises. It is also the focal point for "Wing Focal Point Inbrief," conducted in the XP Auditorium.
• In-briefs and Badge Issue: Tuesday at 10 a.m., Friday at 2 p.m.
• Out-briefs and Badge Re-Issue: Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Wing XP is located in Bldg. 90736. For briefings and badge information, call 850-884-8868 or 850-884-3407. For general information, call 850-884-3187.
Information Operations Office
The Information Operations Office provides wing-level oversight for the development and implementation of new technologies, systems and processes allowing the wing's components to exploit their operational information to the fullest extent possible, while minimizing the risk of an adversary exploiting the same information. Additionally, the office provides the wing commander with a Defensive Counter Information capability and Operations Security oversight through the coordination of all primary and associated areas within the wing. Their office is in Bldg. 90319. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 580-884-4522.
The 1st Special Operations Wing Safety office combines the disciplines of flight, ground and weapons safety to prevent and respond to mishaps that impact the special operations mission, the people or the equipment. They do so by acting as field consultants and technical experts, providing professional safety guidance, performing inspections and evaluations and conducting trend analysis.