19th Special Operations Squadron

The 19th Special Operations Squadron (19th SOS), located at Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the Air Force's most advanced Weapons Instruction and Mission Rehearsal unit. The 19th Special Operations Squadron is the AFSOC formal school for AC-130H, AC-130U, and MC-130E training and mission rehearsal. The squadron teaches more than 1,100 classes in 70 distinct syllabi of instruction for initial mission qualification, instructor upgrade and continuation refresher training.

Training the way we fight is, and always will be the goal for mission qualification, preparation, and rehearsal. The 19th SOS, in partnership with a joint government and industry team, is leading the way in providing innovative solutions across the full spectrum of Joint Combat & Contingency Training, and Mission Preview/Rehearsal requirements. The squadron was recognized in this field when it received the Air Force Association's 2002 Citation of Honor for its revolutionary application of modeling and simulation in preparing the warfighter for combat

The 19th SOS has a long military history, originating as the 19th Bombardment Squadron, (Medium) Dec. 22, 1939, and activated Feb. 3, 1940, at Langley Field, Va. Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 19th BS moved to Muroc Field, Calif., to fly antisubmarine patrols off the West Coast until sent overseas in late January 1941. On April 5, 1942, aircrews flew their first combat missions from Garbutt Field, Townsfield, Australia, against Rabaul, New Britain. In addition to frequent raids against Rabaul, the 19th BS flew against enemy shipping, facilities and troop concentrations in New Guinea and provided close air support for Allied troops fighting there, until withdrawn from combat in January 1943. With refurbished B-26s, the 19th BS moved to New Guinea and returned to combat in mid-July 1943.

In January 1944, the squadron became a heavy bombardment unit (19th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy), equipped with B-24s. The 19th returned to combat status March 10, 1944, with a raid against Manus Island. Most operations were against targets in the Bismarck Archipelago until the 19th BS moved to Owi Island in late July. The squadron flew its first mission to the Philippines Islands Sept. 1, 1944, hitting Japanese installations at Davao, Mindanao. The B-24s blasted enemy facilities in the Celebes and on Mindanao, with an occasional raid against the oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo. Raids continued until the squadron moved in early December 1944 to Anguar, Palau Islands. From this station, the B-24s bombed targets throughout the Philippines. In January 1945, the 19th moved to Samar Island, Philippines, before finally relocating in March to Clark Field. Meantime, in mid-February the 19th raided Formosa for the first time, and on March 21, flew its first mission into China. In June 1945, for a week, the B-24s flew from Puerta Princesa, Palawan Island, to hit targets on Borneo in support of Australian forces landing there. The 19th flew its last bombing mission of the war July 18, 1945, to Formosa. The squadron moved in August to Okinawa and flew reconnaissance missions over Japan. The 19th BS ceased operations in October 1945.

Activated again in June 1946 and equipped with B-29s in December 1946, the 19th BS (Heavy) became the 19th BS (Very Heavy) April 30, 1946. The 19th flew training missions in the Far East until being moved to Smoky Hill Air Force Base, Kan., in May 1946. Deploying to England in November 1946, the 19th BS flew training missions to Accra, West Africa, Aden, and Yemen, Arabia, returning in February 1947 to Smoky Hill AFB, only to move in May to March Air Force Base, Calif. The 19th deployed to England from November 1949 to February 1950 where the squadron flew training sorties to Germany and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The squadron then deployed in July 1950 to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and flew its first combat mission over Korea July 13, hitting marshaling yards at Wonsan, North Korea. Bombing missions over both North and South Korea followed, with targets such as bridges, industrial facilities and railroads. The squadron flew its last combat mission October 19, and departed for the U.S. Oct. 30, 1950.

Back at March AFB, the 19th trained B-29 crews to be sent to the Far East Air Forces for combat duty in Korea. In February 1953, the 19th received the B-47 jet bomber to replace the B-29. The 19th BS made its last deployment to England between December 1953 and March 1954, flying training missions to Sidi Slimane and French Morocco. Later the 19th deployed from April-June 1957 to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and from there, flew missions to Japan and Korea. In November 1957, the 19th BS received a forward alert obligation, initially sending five B-47s to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, for six months of cold weather training, then rotating a single aircraft with aircrew for two to four weeks at a time. The alert aircraft were sent in November 1958 to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and then in January 1959 to Andersen AFB, Guam. The 19th BS ceased operational flying in February 1963, ferried its B-47s to other units and inactivated March 15, 1963.

Consolidated with the 19th Tactical Airlift Squadron (constituted 19th Air Commando Squadron, Troop Carrier, and activated, Sept. 14, 1964), the 19th Air Commando Squadron was organized October 8, 1964, at Tan Son Nhut Airfield, just outside of Saigon, South Vietnam. The 19th received the C-123B aircraft and personnel in 1964 but did not become operational as a unit until March 1965. Combat missions included cargo drops, flare missions at night in support of hamlets and outposts under attack, transporting troops and supplies to combat areas and air evacuation of wounded and refugees from battle areas. Cargo included munitions, vehicles, spare parts, fuel and various foods. Missions were flown in support of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese forces. A Royal Thai Air Force contingent was attached to the squadron from mid-1966 until inactivation. Redesignated as the 19th Air Commando Squadron, Tactical Airlift, Aug. 1, 1967, several C-123Bs were converted to C-123Ks by the addition of two jet engines, to provide the aircraft with greater power. Again the 19th was redesignated as the 19th Special Operations Squadron Aug. 1, 1968 and again as the 19th Tactical Airlift Squadron Jan. 1, 1970. Whenever Tan Son Nhut Air Base came under rocket and mortar attacks, the 19th would operate for up to two weeks at a time from Phan Rang Air Base. The 19th also flew increased missions during the Tet Offensive of 1968 and shared in a Navy Presidential Unit Citation for support to U.S. Marines defending Khe Sanh from January to March 1968. In June to August 1970, the 19th flew airlift, airdrop, and evacuation missions in support of Allied forces fighting in Cambodia. On April 19, 1971, the 19th SOS began to transfer the C-123s to South Vietnam and the squadron flew its last combat mission April 30. The 19th ceased all operations in early May and inactivated June 10, 1971. On Sept. 19, 1985, the unit was redesignated and combined with the 19th Tactical Intelligence Squadron.

The 19th SOS was reactivated May 24, 1996, at Hurlburt Field. Its original mission was to conduct all formal aircrew training for the AC-130H, AC-130U and MC-130E aircraft. That training included the initial mission qualification, requalification, aircraft commander upgrade, instructor upgrade and refresher training. The 19th SOS used advanced aircrew training devices (simulators) as well as training coded aircraft (two AC-130Us, one AC-130H, and one C-130E) for flight and ground training. The Special Operations Forces Aircrew Training System contractor provided the 19th SOS administrative support to training operations, courseware development and maintenance, classroom and flightline instruction and operations and maintenance of training and mission rehearsal devices.

The 19th SOS continues its distinguished lineage by providing the SOF community the world's most advanced mission rehearsal and training capability in order to prepare SOF warriors for combat and maintain the proud Air Commando tradition of executing special operations "Any Time, Any Place."

Constituted 19th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Redesignated: 19th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 3 Feb 1944; 19th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 30 Apr 1946; 19th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 28 Jul 1948. Discontinued, and inactivated, on 15 Mar 1963. Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the 19th Air Commando Squadron, Troop Carrier, which was constituted, and activated, on 14 Sep 1964. Organized on 8 Oct 1964. Redesignated: 19th Air Commando Squadron, Tactical Airlift, on 1 Aug 1967; 19th Special Operations Squadron on 1 Aug 1968; 19th Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 Jan 1970. Inactivated on 10 Jun 1971. Redesignated: 19th Tactical Intelligence Squadron on 19 Sep 1985; 19th Special Operations Squadron on 1 Apr 1996. Activated on 24 May 1996.

22d Bombardment Group, 1 Feb 1940 (attached to 22d Bombardment Wing, 10 Feb 1951-15 Jun 1952); 22d Bombardment Wing, 16 Jun 1952-15 Mar 1963. Pacific Air Forces, 14 Sep 1964; 315th Troop Carrier Group, Assault (later, 315th Air Commando Group, Troop Carrier), 8 Oct 1964; 315th Air Commando Wing, Troop Carrier (later, 315th Air Commando Wing; 315th Special Operations Wing; 315th Tactical Airlift Wing) 8 Mar 1966-10 Jun 1971. 16th Operations Group, 24 May 1996-15 November 2006. 1st Special Operations Group, 16 November 2006-.

Patterson Field, OH, 1 Feb 1940; Langley Field, VA, 16 Nov 1940; Muroc Field, CA, 9 Dec 1941-28 Jan 1942; Brisbane, Australia, 25 Feb 1942 (air echelon at Hickam Field, HI, 15 Feb-c. 22 Mar 1942); Ipswich, Australia, 2 Mar 1942; Townsville, Australia, 29 Mar 1942; Woodstock, Australia, 4 Jul 1942; Iron Range, Australia, 15 Sep 1942; Woodstock, Australia, 4 Feb 1943; Dobodura, New Guinea, 11 Jul 1943; Nadzab, New Guinea, c. 24 Jan 1944; Owi, Schouten Islands, 22 Jul 1944; Anguar, Palau Islands, 2 Dec 1944; Guinan, Samar, [Philippine Islands], 15 Jan 1945; Clark Field, Luzon, 15 Mar 1945; Okinawa, 14 Aug 1945; Ft William McKinley, Luzon, 23 Nov 1945; Kadena AB, Okinawa, 15 May 1946-13 May 1948; Smoky Hill AFB, KS, 18 May 1948 (deployed at Lakenheath RAF Station, England, 16 Nov 1948-12 Feb 1949); March AFB, CA, 10 May 1949-15 Mar 1963 (deployed at Marham RAF Station, England, 26 Nov 1949-17 Feb 1950; Kadena AB, Okinawa, c. 9 Jul-30 Oct 1950; Lakenheath RAF Station, England, 5 Sep-3 Dec 1951; Upper Heyford RAF Station, England, 12 Dec 1953-5 Mar 1954; Andersen AFB, Guam, 2 Apr-2 Jul 1957). Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam, 8 Oct 1964-10 Jun 1971. Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field #9 (Hurlburt Field), FL, 24 May 1996-.

B-18, 1940-1941; B-26, 1941-1944; B-24, 1944-1945; B-29, 1946-1953; B-47, 1953-1963. C-123, 1964-1971. AC/MC-130, 1996-.

Service Streamers

Campaign Streamers
World War II
Antisubmarine, American Theater
East Indies
Bismarck Archipelago
New Guinea
Southern Philippines
China Defensive
China Offensive
Western Pacific
Air Offensive, Japan
Air Combat, Asiatic-Pacific Theater

UN Defensive
UN Offensive

Vietnam Advisory
Vietnam Defensive
Vietnam Air
Vietnam Air Offensive
Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II
Vietnam Air/Ground
Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III
Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV
TET 69/Counteroffensive
Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970
Sanctuary Counteroffensive
Southwest Monsoon
Commando Hunt V

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers

Distinguished Unit Citations
Papua, 23 Jul 42-9 Jan 43
New Guinea, 5 Nov 43

Presidential Unit Citations
21 Jan-12 May 68
1 Apr-30 Jun 70

Gallant Unit Citation
6 Oct 01-30 May 03

Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 20 Jan-31 Mar 68

Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device
1 Mar-30 Ap 65
30 Jun-9 Jul 65
15 Oct 66-30 Apr 67
10 Jun-31 Dec 67
15 Jul 68-30 Jun 69
1 Jan-1May 71
1 Jun 97-31 May 99
1 Jul 03-30 Jun 05
1 Sep 06-30 Jun 07

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
24 May 96-31 May 97
1 Jul 99-30 Jun 01
1 Jul 01-30 Jun 03
1 Sep 04-31 Aug 06

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
World War II

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
10 July-24 October 50

Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
1 Apr 66-1 May 71

Emblem Significance
Blue represents the sky, the primary theater of Air Force operations. Yellow refers to the sun and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. The divided background stands for dusk and night and represents the unit's primary night-flight work environment. The wing and book symbolize the unit's flying training mission. The sword with its point down reflects peace and identifies the instructors, students, and personnel of the unit as active parts of the command mission.