HomeAbout UsFact SheetsFact Sheets

Air Commandos

Airmen assigned to the 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform routine maintenance on an engine of a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 9, 2017. The 801st SOAMXS maintenance responsibilities include servicing, phase inspections, troubleshooting, repair, modifications and launch and recovery of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Callaway)

Airmen assigned to the 801st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform routine maintenance on an engine of a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 9, 2017. The 801st SOAMXS maintenance responsibilities include servicing, phase inspections, troubleshooting, repair, modifications and launch and recovery of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Callaway)

Master Sgt. James Albanesi, the team chief for the forward area refueling point program with the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, assists a student as they anchor a fuel hose during a class demonstration at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. A fuel hose is anchored by Airmen to ensure little movement while a squeegee, a metal tool with two rolling pin like devices, is used to push residual fuel back into an aircraft to save space and reduce risk of leaks or spillage. The FARP program is a United States Special Operations Command initiative that trains petroleum, oils and lubrication Airmen to perform covert, nighttime refueling operations in deployed locations where fueling points are not accessible or when air-to-air refueling is not possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrea Posey)

Master Sgt. James Albanesi, the team chief for the forward area refueling point program with the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, assists a student as they anchor a fuel hose during a class demonstration at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 10, 2017. A fuel hose is anchored by Airmen to ensure little movement while a squeegee, a metal tool with two rolling pin like devices, is used to push residual fuel back into an aircraft to save space and reduce risk of leaks or spillage. The FARP program is a United States Special Operations Command initiative that trains petroleum, oils and lubrication Airmen to perform covert, nighttime refueling operations in deployed locations where fueling points are not accessible or when air-to-air refueling is not possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrea Posey)

Staff Sgt. Jerred Brown, an aircrew flight equipment craftsman with the 34th Special Operations Squadron, straps down cargo during pallet build-up training at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Dec. 12, 2016. AFE Air Commandos were trained how to properly document and load cargo onto aircraft, ensuring readiness to execute global special operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal M. Garrett)

Staff Sgt. Jerred Brown, an aircrew flight equipment craftsman with the 34th Special Operations Squadron, straps down cargo during pallet build-up training at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Dec. 12, 2016. AFE Air Commandos were trained how to properly document and load cargo onto aircraft, ensuring readiness to execute global special operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal M. Garrett)

Senior Airman Sean Mackinnon, a traffic management journeyman with the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, left, and Airman Terrel Akins, a traffic management apprentice with the 1st SOLRS, in-check a package at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 29, 2016. In-checking a package is the process of verifying the contents of a container to ensure the correct parts and number of parts are in the package. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Dennis Spain)

Senior Airman Sean Mackinnon, a traffic management journeyman with the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, left, and Airman Terrel Akins, a traffic management apprentice with the 1st SOLRS, in-check a package at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 29, 2016. In-checking a package is the process of verifying the contents of a container to ensure the correct parts and number of parts are in the package. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Dennis Spain)

Maj. Brian Pesta, a pilot with the 1st Special Operations Group, Detachment 2, pilots an AC-130J Ghostrider with the number 13 written on his hand during a training mission over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Dec. 13, 2016. Pesta writes down the number of crew on his hand before each flight for quick reference in the event of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jeff Parkinson)

Maj. Brian Pesta, a pilot with the 1st Special Operations Group, Detachment 2, pilots an AC-130J Ghostrider with the number 13 written on his hand during a training mission over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Dec. 13, 2016. Pesta writes down the number of crew on his hand before each flight for quick reference in the event of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jeff Parkinson)

Air Commandos with the 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron, secure a Ku Spread Spectrum antenna to a stand to conduct an operational check at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 29, 2016. The KuSS Antenna is an airborne broadband satellite communication system that transmits data, such as full motion video that is crucial to real time decision making, from pilots to command and control sites where deployed units are operating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrea Posey)

Air Commandos with the 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron, secure a Ku Spread Spectrum antenna to a stand to conduct an operational check at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 29, 2016. The KuSS Antenna is an airborne broadband satellite communication system that transmits data, such as full motion video that is crucial to real time decision making, from pilots to command and control sites where deployed units are operating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrea Posey)

Air Commandos with the 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group take cover behind a Humvee during Task Force Exercise Southern Strike at Camp Shelby, Miss., Oct. 25, 2016. The simulated firefight lasted about 10 minutes, with the Air Commandos jumping into action to return fire.  They took cover behind their armored Humvees and slowly advanced on enemy positions to suppress their would-be assailants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jeff Parkinson)

Air Commandos with the 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group take cover behind a Humvee during Task Force Exercise Southern Strike at Camp Shelby, Miss., Oct. 25, 2016. The simulated firefight lasted about 10 minutes, with the Air Commandos jumping into action to return fire. They took cover behind their armored Humvees and slowly advanced on enemy positions to suppress their would-be assailants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jeff Parkinson)

Senior Airmen Giann Recapuna and Adam Gleason, engineering specialists with the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, set up a GPS to survey and verify the location and elevation of facilities at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 7, 2016. Engineering specialists use surveys to collect input data for the installation geobase database and typography to assist engineering designs for new structures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac O. Guest IV)

Senior Airmen Giann Recapuna and Adam Gleason, engineering specialists with the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, set up a GPS to survey and verify the location and elevation of facilities at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 7, 2016. Engineering specialists use surveys to collect input data for the installation geobase database and typography to assist engineering designs for new structures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac O. Guest IV)

A flight engineer with the 8th Special Operations Squadron operates the hoist of a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft above the Eglin Range, Fla., Nov. 8, 2016. The Osprey has been used operationally since 2006 to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces globally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

A flight engineer with the 8th Special Operations Squadron operates the hoist of a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft above the Eglin Range, Fla., Nov. 8, 2016. The Osprey has been used operationally since 2006 to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces globally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

Senior Airmen Dacota Napolitano, left, and Chris Coney, water and fuels system specialists with the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, remove a fuel pump from a fuel tank at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. The fuel tanks are used to hold fuel for lawn maintenance equipment that maintain Hurlburt’s Gator Lakes Golf Course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 11

Senior Airmen Dacota Napolitano, left, and Chris Coney, water and fuels system specialists with the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, remove a fuel pump from a fuel tank at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. The fuel tanks are used to hold fuel for lawn maintenance equipment that maintain Hurlburt’s Gator Lakes Golf Course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

America's Air Commandos -- Anytime...Anyplace
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 11

America's Air Commandos -- Anytime...Anyplace

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.

Background
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.

Vision
Air Commandos, highly trained, capable and ready to conduct special operations...Anytime...Anyplace

Mission
Organize, train and equip Airmen to execute global special operations...We are America's Air Commandos

Recent History
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.

Units