Published January 15, 2015
We are America’s Air Commandos
We are Air Commandos, quiet professionals, Airmen personally committed to our craft. As the air component of U.S. Special Operations Command, we are capable and ready to conduct special operations anytime, anyplace. We are disciplined professionals dedicated to continuous improvement. Innovative and adaptable, our rigorous and realistic training helps us manage uncertainty and mitigate risk. By training smarter and harder than others, we define our limits, and learn when and where to push them. Inherently joint, we build credibility through habitual relationships that sustain us in the fight. We believe that one person makes a difference. And as our Air Commando heritage demands, we remain culturally bound to get the mission done, or find a way where none exists.
In August 1943, Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold met with British Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten to discuss plans for American air support of British commando expeditions in the China-Burma-India theater of operations. Arnold coined the term "Air Commando" to honor Lord Mountbatten. The term also came to represent solidarity between American flyers and British led ground forces.
Following demobilization of armed forces after World War II the U.S. Air Force inactivated Air Commando units. In April 1962, as the U.S. augmented its counter insurgency capabilities, the U.S. Air Force reestablished and activated the 1st Air Commando Group. By doing so, the link between one of WWII’s most famous combat units was reconnected with the Air Commandos of Vietnam.
More recently, after the 1980 failed rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran known as Operation EAGLE CLAW, the Department of Defense saw a need to establish a counterterrorism task force with a permanently assigned staff and forces and a panel to focus on special operations. This decision led to the formation of USSOCOM in 1987 and in 1990 AFSOC was established. AFSOC is now the home of America’s Air Commandos.
Air Commandos, highly trained, capable and ready to conduct special operations...Anytime...Anyplace
Organize, train and equip Airmen to execute global special operations...We are America's Air Commandos
After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Air Commandos have been deployed to southwest Asia for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and ODYSSEY DAWN. Air Commandos have also deployed to the Philippines, the Horn of Africa, Trans-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean and Central American regions to help aid partner nations’ efforts in countering insurgency, combating terrorism, and building partner capacity.
In addition to military conflicts, Air Commandos have supported major humanitarian assistance campaigns, such as Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Operation TOMODACHI after the 2011 earthquake in Japan, and Operation DAMAYAN after the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines.
Since standing up as an Air Force major command, AFSOC's Air Commandos have earned six Air Force Cross medals, more than 30 Silver Star medals and more than 260 Bronze Star medals with valor.