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Special Operations Overview

Called upon to perform the toughest duties in the armed forces, Special Operations Forces directly affect the protection of America's freedom.

Army

Army Special Forces
Learn More About the Green Berets

75th Ranger Regiment
Learn More About the Army Rangers

160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Learn More About the Night Stalkers

Marines

Marine Force Reconnaissance
Learn More About Marine RECON

Marine Corps Special Operations Command
Learn More About Marine MARSOC

Marine RECON Missions
Learn More About Marine RECON

Air Force

Air Force Special Tactics
Learn More About Special Tactics

Spec Ops Profile: 1st Special Operations Wing

1st Special Operations Wing shield

Mission

The 1st Special Operations Wing (1st SOW) at Hurlburt Field, Fla. is one of two Air Force active duty special operations wings and falls under the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). 

The 1st SOW mission focus is unconventional warfare: counter-terrorism, combat search and rescue, personnel recovery, psychological operations, aviation assistance to developing nations, "deep battlefield" resupply, interdiction and close air support. The wing has units located at Hurlburt Field, Fla. and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. 

The wing's core missions include aerospace surface interface, agile combat support, combat aviation advisory operations, information operations, personnel recovery/recovery operations, precision aerospace fires, psychological operations dissemination, specialized aerospace mobility and specialized aerial refueling. 

The 1st SOW also serves as a pivotal component of AFSOC's ability to provide and conduct special operations missions ranging from precision application of firepower to infiltration, exfilitration, resupply and refueling of special operations force operational elements. In addition, the 1st SOW brings distinctive intelligence capabilities to the fight, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance contributions, predictive analysis, and targeting expertise to joint special operations forces and combat search and rescue operations. 

In addition, the 1st SOW brings distinctive intelligence capabilities to the fight, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance contributions, predictive analysis, and targeting expertise to joint special operations forces and combat search and rescue operations.

Organization

Hurlburt Field employs more than 8,000 military and almost 3,000 civilian personnel. The wing is divided into four groups:

1st Special Operations Group:

  • 1st Special Operations Support Squadron
  • 4th Special Operations Squadron, AC-130U Spooky Gunship
  • 6th Special Operations Squadron, UH-1N Huey, MI-8/17, C130-E, UV-18B
  • 8th Special Operations Squadron, CV-22 Osprey
  • 9th Special Operations Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, MC-130P Combat Shadow
  • 15th Special Operations Squadron, MC-130H Combat Talon II
  • 34th Special Operations Squadron, U-28A
  • 319th Special Operations Squadron, U-28A

1st Special Operations Maintenance Group:

  • 1st Special Operation Maintenance Operations Squadron
  • 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 1st Special Operations Component Maintenance Squadron
  • 1st Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Squadron
  • 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 1st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron

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

The 1st SOW and Hurlburt Field also play host to several major partner units including Air Force Special Operations Command, 505th Command and Control Wing, Air Force Special Operations Training Center, Joint Special Operations University, 823rd RED HORSE Squadron and the 720th Special Tactics Group.

Background

The wing was redesignated from the 16th SOW to the 1st SOW Nov. 16, 2006. Today, it manages a fleet of more than 81 aircraft.The wing's motto of "Any Time, Any Place," has repeatedly shown to be true since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. MH-53 Pave Lows, now retired from the Air Force inventory, responded almost immediately to support relief efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Since the Global War on Terrorism began in October 2001, 1st SOW aircraft have flown more than 68,000 combat sorties, amassing more than 210,000 combat hours. The wing has also sent personnel on more than 28,000 deployments to 57 geographic locations around the world. The continued high operations tempo of the 1st SOW truly put the Air Commandos assigned here at the "tip of the spear."

Related Topics

Special Operations Forces
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