The Air Force’s Only Special Tactics Wing
Hurlburt Field, Fla.
The 24th Special Operations Wing is one of three Air Force active duty special operations wings assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command. The 24 SOW is based at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The 24 SOW is the only Special Tactics wing in the Air Force.
The primary mission of the 24 SOW is to provide Special Tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. The 24 SOW is U.S. Special Operation Command’s tactical air and ground integration force, and the Air Force’s special operations ground force to enable global access, precision strike, personnel recovery operations and battlefield surgery.
Core capabilities encompass: airfield reconnaissance, assessment, and control; personnel recovery; joint terminal attack control and environmental reconnaissance.
Special Tactics is comprised of Special Tactics Officers, Combat Controllers, Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, Special Operations Weather Officers and Airmen, Air Liaison Officers, Tactical Air Control Party operators, Special Operations Surgical Teams and a number of combat support Airmen which compromise 58 Air Force specialties.
These unique skills provide a full-spectrum, air-focused special operations capability to the combatant commander in order to ensure airpower success. With their unique skill sets, Special Tactics operators are often the first special operations elements deployed into crisis situations. Special Tactics Airmen often embed with Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets and Rangers to provide everything from combat air support to medical aid and personnel recovery, depending on their specialty. The 24 SOW is the most decorated unit in the U.S. Air Force, as well as the most decorated group of Airmen for heroism and gallantry since the Vietnam War. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Special Tactics Airmen have 9 Air Force Crosses, 34 Silver Stars, more than 650 Bronze Stars, hundreds of Bronze Stars with valor, as well as 140 current wounded warrior and combat training related cases and 19 fallen heroes.
The wing has two operational groups, a training squadron and nine special operations recruiting liaison operating locations. Altogether, the wing has elements in 16 locations, with Airmen currently deployed to more than 73 locations.
The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron based at Standiford Field, Kentucky, and the 125th STS based at Portland International Airport, Ore., are Air National Guard units which augment the 24 SOW in support of national security objectives, combat operations, humanitarian efforts and training.