On this Day in 1991: The AC-130A Spectre “Azrael” was sent to the Al Jahra highway between Kuwait City and Basrah, Iraq, to intercept the convoys of tanks, trucks, buses and cars fleeing the battle. Facing numerous enemy batteries of SA-6 and SA-8 surface-to-air missiles, and 37mm and 57mm radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery, the crew attacked the enemy skillfully, inflicting significant damage on the convoys. Learn more here thanks to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
According to an update on the Tiger Stripe Products website, AFSOC personnel are testing the All Terrain Tiger camouflage pattern.
UPDATE 25 June 2015:
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) personnel begin Testing & Evaluation of All Terrain Tiger™ (ATT™). Details pending.
Who could blame them? Despite the Army’s transition to the Operational Camouflage Pattern, the Air Force continues to issue the four color grey-based digital tigerstripe camouflage pattern it adopted in 2006. Granted, deployers are issued kit in OCP and Air Force personnel assigned to AFSOC, select Battlefield Airmen and Security Forces personnel assigned to Global Strike Command wear MultiCam. However, the garrison uniform remains digital tigerstripe. It’s also used for may deployments includimg contingency operations.
All Terrain Tiger was actually envisioned by TSP as an operational alternative to the USAF’s digital Tigerstripe pattern. While All Terrain Tiger may end up being used for specialized applications on deployments, patterns such as this are often also used by OPFOR for training.
In the early 1960s the United States Air Force established a Special Air Warfare Center at Hurlburt Field, Florida the modern home of AFSOC. There, they trained Air Commandos in irregular warfare, a concept that the USAF has paid lip service to over the past ten years but done little actualize. To create this new Special Operations Air Warfare Center, AFSOC transformed the existing Special Operations Training Center and added a much needed, expanded aviation advisor capability.
BG Jon Weeks assumed command of the new Special Operations Air Warfare Center last week which also, interestingly enough, now also includes the 919th Air Force Reserve Special Operations Wing at Duke Field as well as two Air Guard units in Mississippi and Alabama.
Headquartered at Hurlburt Field with operating locations at the nearby Duke Field and Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, The Air Warfare Center will organize, train, educate and equip special operations forces; lead major command of counter-insurgency and irregular warfare missions; test and evaluate weapons programs; and develop tactics, techniques and guidelines for special operations missions.
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On June 1st, to little fanfare, the US Air Force activated it’s newest wing, the 24th SOW. It is comprised of the 720th Special Tactics Group and the Special Tactics Training Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, FL, the 724th Special Tactics Group, Pope Field, NC and 16 recruiting locations scattered around the country. It’s also the third wing under AFSOC alongside the 1st Special Operations Wing also located at Hurlburt Field and the 27 Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, NM.
Capabilities of the Wing include airfield reconnaissance, assessment and control. Special tactics Airmen also engage in joint terminal attack control, personnel recovery, weather and environmental reconnaissance.
“Establishment of the 24th Special Operations Wing allows a single commander to lead the recruiting, training and development of our special tactics warriors and ultimately provide combatant commanders with world-class Airmen to accomplish their mission,” said Lt Gen Eric Fiel, AFSOC Commander.
By creating the 24 SOW, not only is a single Special Tactics commander enabled to lead, but pressure is alleviated by removing the responsibility of logistical planning from the groups so they can concentrate on the operational mission. No word yet on what the additional Wing structure will consist of.
According to AFSOC, with Col Armfield’s assumption of command of the new 24th SOW, Col Kurt Buller assumed command of the 720 STG. I’m glad to see the ‘Bull’ get this command and I hope we see stars on Col Armfield and his Vice Wing commander, Col Eric Ray soon as well. I’ve worked for or with everyone of those men and they are an amazing bunch.
Having been assigned to the 720th STG and the 21st STS, I can tell you that the men and women assigned to Special Tactics are some of the finest Americans I have ever known and the most competent Special Operators I have served with throughout a variety of Army, Air Force and Joint SOF assignments.
Having spent several years of my military career assigned as an Intelligence Officer to the 720th Special Tactics Group and a couple of its subordinate squadrons, it makes me proud to hear that 18 of our Special Tactics Airmen are conducting a 812-mile memorial ruck march from Texas to Florida. They begin on 16 October, marching in three-man teams with each team walking about 144 miles carrying 50-pound rucksacks and a commemorative baton engraved with a fallen Special Tactics Airmanâ€™s name.