1st Special Operations Wing mission

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The 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the Air Force's only active duty special operations wing and falls under the Air Force Special Operations Command.

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., Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Creech AFB, Nev.

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.

Hurlburt Field employs more than 8,000 military and 700 civilian personnel. The wing is divided into four groups:

1st Special Operations Group:
-- 1st Special Operations Support Squadron
-- 3rd Special Operations Squadron, MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
-- 4th Special Operations Squadron, AC-130U Gunship
-- 6th Special Operations Squadron, UH-1N Huey, MI-8, C130-E, AN-26, C-47
-- 8th Special Operations Squadron, CV-22 Osprey
-- 9th Special Operations Squadron, Eglin AFB, MC-130P Combat Shadow
-- 15th Special Operations Squadron, MC-130H Combat Talon II
-- 16th Special Operations Squadron, AC-130H Spectre Gunship
-- 19th Special Operations Squadron, formal training
-- 20th Special Operations Squadron, MH-53J/M Pave Low III/IV
-- 73rd Special Operations Squadron, MC-130W
-- 319th Special Operations Squadron, U-28A

1st Special Operations Maintenance Group:
-- 1st Special Operations Maintenance Operations Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Component Maintenance Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Helicopter 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 Mission Support Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Services Squadron

1st Special Operations Medical Group:
-- 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron
-- 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron

The 1st SOW and Hurlburt Field host several major partner units, including Air Force Special Operations Command, 505th Command and Control Wing, Joint Special Operations University, 823rd Red Horse Squadron and the 720th Special Tactics Group.

The wing' s motto of "Keeping the Air Commando promise to provide reliable, precise Air Force special operations air power ... Any Time, Any Place," has repeatedly shown to be true since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. MH-53 Pave Lows responded almost immediately to support relief efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Since the war on terrorism began in October 2001, 1st SOW aircraft have flown more than 25,000 combat sorties, amassing more than 75,000 combat hours. The wing has also deployed more than 8,500 personnel to 16 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."

The 1st SOW (formerly the 16th SOW) was re-established on Nov. 16, 2006. Today, it manages a fleet of more than 70 aircraft.

For more on the 1st Special Operations Wing's heritage, click here.