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Commando Chronology

Mar 29, 1944
The 1st Air Commando Group, operating in the Burma-India-China theater, stands up.

Nov 21, 1964
Twenty-two streets are renamed at Hurlburt Field in honor of air commandos who died in Vietnam.

Nov 21, 1970
The Son Tay prisoner of war raid. 1st Special Operations Wing pilots fly 25 hours under automatic weapons fire in support of the mission. The operation is successful, but the mission fails because the prisoners had been moved from Son Tay.

Apr 25, 1980
Operation RICE BOWL. Five 8th Special Operations Squadron crewmembers lose their lives in the attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran.

May 1, 1983
Operation BAHAMAS and TURKS begins. Hurlburt Field airmen provide support for the South Florida Drug Task Force.

Oct 22, 1983
Operation URGENT FURY. Gunships and Combat Talons from Hurlburt Field were used in the rescue of Americans from Grenada.

Dec 18, 1989
Aircraft from the 1st SOW deploy for Operation JUST CAUSE, the plan to capture General Manuel Noriega and return him to the U.S.

Jan 16, 1991
The air war begins in Operation DESERT STORM. Aircrews from the 20 SOS lead a team of Army Apache helicopters as part of Task Force Normandy. These initial actions of the operation open a corridor for coalition aircraft to begin the air war.

Jan 21, 1991
A 20th Special Operations Squadron Pave Low aircrew rescues downed Navy pilot Lt. Devon Jones; the first combat rescue behind enemy lines since Vietnam.

Jan 31, 1991
A 16 SOS AC-130H Spectre gunship, call-sign "Spirit-03," and its crew of 14 were shot down resulting in the largest single loss by any Air Force unit in Operation DESERT STORM. The gunship, supporting U.S. Marines in a battle for the town of Khafji, remained in the area too long, and the enemy was able to shoot it down in the morning light.

1992 - 2000
The 16 SOW supported the following operations: PROVIDE COMFORT, NORTHERN/SOUTHERN WATCH, PROVIDE PROMISE, DENY FLIGHT, DECISIVE ENDEAVOR, CONTINUE HOPE, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, AND NOBLE ANVIL.

Oct 1, 1993
As part of the Air Force unit renumbering, the 1 SOW is redesignated 16 SOW.

Mar 14, 1994
While supporting Operation CONTINUE HOPE in Somalia, a 16 SOS AC-130H Spectre gunship, call-sign JOCKEY-14, crashed off the Kenyan coast killing eight of the 14 crewmembers.

Oct 2001
The 16 SOW begins supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF).

Jun 12, 2002
While supporting OEF the 15 SOS loses an MC-130H Combat Talon II and two crewmembers, TSgt Sean Corlew and SSgt Anissa Shero, during a crash at a desert landing strip. SSgt Shero becomes the first female Air Commando to die in combat operations.

Aug 7, 2002
While conducting a training mission in Puerto Rico, the 15 SOS loses the entire crew of 10 in an MC-130H crash. 

Mar 19, 2003
The 16 SOW begins supporting Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).

Nov 23, 2003
The 20 SOS loses three crewmembers in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan while supporting OEF.

May 30, 2005
The wing's first casualty of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) occurs when a member of the 6 SOS, Maj William Downs, dies in an aircraft crash in Iraq.

Oct 2005
The 3rd Special Operations Squadron (flying the MQ-1 Predator) and the 319th Special Operations Squadron (flying the U-28A) are activated.

Aug 10, 2006
The 8th SOS returned to Hurlburt Field after operating from Duke Field, FL for the past five years. The unit ceased flying the MC-130E Combat Talon I and prepared for the new CV-22 Osprey.

Oct 17, 2006
The 73rd Special Operations Squadron, operating the MC-130W, is activated at Hurlburt Field.

Nov 16, 2006
The Air Force redesignated the 16th Special Operations Wing back to the 1st Special Operations Wing. The redesignation evolved from the Air Force's announcement in the summer of 2006 the stand-up of a second active duty Air Force Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB, NM. Because of the proud and rich heritage of special operations and Hurlburt Field, Air Force leadership decided that it would return the Hurlburt based wing back to its original 1 SOW designation and activate a new 16 SOW at Cannon AFB. The 1 SOW retained all the honors the 16 SOW garnered in its 13 year existence at Hurlburt Field.

Sep 16, 2008
The Pave Low era at Hurlburt Field came to an end when the last 20 SOS MH-53, #68-0369, assigned to Hurlburt Field, departed for static display at the Hill Aerospace Museum, Hill AFB, Utah.

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