Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)

USAF Special Tactics


Present combat ready Air Force Special Operations Forces to conduct and support global special operations missions.


America's specialized air power...a step ahead in a changing world, delivering Special Operations power anytime, anywhere.


More than 16,000 active-duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian personnel.


The command's active duty and reserve component flying units operate fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, including:

  • CV-22
  • AC-130H/U
  • C-130
  • EC-130
  • MC-130
  • U-28A
  • PC-12


Air Force Special Operations Command was established May 22, 1990, with headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Fla. AFSOC is one of ten major Air Force commands, and the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

AFSOC provides forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to regional unified commands. The command's SOF are composed of highly trained, rapidly deployable Airmen, conducting global 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 broadcast for psychological operations, as well as aviation foreign internal defense instructors to provide other governments military expertise for their internal development. The command's special tactics squadrons combine combat controllers, special operations weathermen and pararescuemen with other service SOF to form versatile joint special operations teams. Responsibilities:

  • Battlefield air operations
  • Agile combat support
  • Aviation foreign internal defense
  • Information operations
  • Precision aerospace fires
  • Psychological operations
  • Specialized air mobility
  • Specialized refueling
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance

Organization The command's forces are organized under two active-duty wings, one reserve wing, one National Guard wing, two overseas groups, and several direct reporting units. Numbered Air Force Tweny-Third Air Force, at Hurlburt Field, stood up January 25, 2008, to provide worldwide Air Force special operations command and control support to combatant commanders. 23rd AF is designated as the air component's unit of execution to U.S. Special Operations Command, providing a special operations liaison element to regional air operations centers and a forward command and control team to be the air component to a joint special operations task force commander. Wings 1st Special Operations Wing, at Hurlburt Field, and the 27th Special Operations Wing, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., are composed of specialized aircraft to support special operations worldwide. Groups 352nd Special Operations Group, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, is the Air Force component for Special Operations Command Europe. 353rd Special Operations Group, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, is the Air Force component for Special Operations Command Pacific. 720th Special Tactics Group, at Hurlburt Field, Fla. and the 724th Special Tactics Group, at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., train, organize, and equip more than 800 combat controllers, special operations weathermen, and pararescuemen for assignment to special tactics squadrons. Other Subordinate Units Air Force Special Operations Training Center consolidates multiple training functions into a single training organization allowing operational units to focus on war fighting. AFSOTC's mission is to recruit, assess, select, indoctrinate, train and educate Airmen for the Air Force Special Operations Command. 18th Flight Test Squadron, at Hurlburt Field and with detachments at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., conducts operational and maintenance suitability tests and evaluations for aircraft, equipment, concepts, tactics and procedures for employment of special operations forces. Gained Air Force Reserve Component 919th Special Operations Wing, at Duke Field, Fla., is the command's Reserve special operations wing. It provides MC-130E and MC-130P aircraft supporting helicopter refueling requirements to USSOCOM. Gained Air National Guard Units 193rd Special Operations Wing at Harrisburg International Airport, Pa., provides the only airborne psychological operations platform in the Department of Defense with the EC-130 Commando Solo. 123rd Special Tactics Squadron at Standiford Field, Ky. and the 125th Special Tactics Squadron at Portland International Airport, Ore., provide combat controllers and pararescuemen for worldwide operational needs. 209th Civil Engineer Squadron located at Gulfport, Miss., is AFSOC's only Guard civil engineer squadron supporting the command's transportable collective protection system mission. 150th Special Operations Flight at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., provides modified C-32B aircraft supporting worldwide airlift operations. 280th Combat Communications Squadron at Dothan, Ala., is AFSOC's only Guard communications squadron. 107th Weather Flight at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.; 146th Weather Flight at GTR Pittsburgh Air Guard Station; and the 181st Weather Flight at Dallas Naval Air Station, are the command's three National Guard weather units.

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Related Topics

Special Operations