Hurlburt Field hosts first-ever Air Commando Invitational with regional football teams

  • Published
  • 1st Special Operations Wing
Hurlburt Field hosted the Air Commando Invitational, June 24, 2023, bringing together eight teams from nearby high school football programs as well as an elite team and military teams.

The event aimed to bring together players to hone their skills against other talent in the area, build upon long-standing relationships between Hurlburt Field and community schools and introduce participants and their families to Air Force Special Operations Command and the United States Air Force.

“The Air Commando 7v7 Invitational is a great example of an impactful event we can execute together as a community” said Col. Allison Black, 1 SOW Commander. “In Special Operations, we grow leaders and problem solvers who demonstrate grit, determination, and have the perseverance to win. The athletes in this tournament have already demonstrated those same attributes.

“In fact, Northwest Florida is home to many programs with talented players who are ready to showcase those skills, so we want to host them on Hurlburt… it feels like a very natural connection point.”

Players and coaches represented Bay High, Destin, Lighthouse Private Christian Academy, Pine Forest, and North Bay, as well as two military teams with service members from throughout Northwest Florida and the C3 Elite National Team. The eight teams participated in round-robin play followed by an official tournament of single elimination.

The championship game came down to the C3 Elite National Team versus Destin High School. C3 walked away with the win.

During the closing ceremony, awards were given to players for best offense, best defense, and highest spirit. Black thanked the coaches and players for coming out. She also coined the two winning coaches: Eric Divens with Destin and Dwayne Carter with C3.

“I have such a tremendous respect for the coaches and young athletes that came out to participate in the Air Commando Invitational,” said Black. “The players have a lot in common with our Air Commando community as they displayed their skills and teamwork during the tournament.”

The invitational is set to become a recurring event, promising to foster growth and engagement in the years to come. In the meantime, Hurlburt Field is actively increasing its sports outreach.

“Growing the partnership with our high school athletes across Northwest Florida is a priority for the 1 SOW. To ensure we keep this momentum going, I started a sports ambassador program that will link high school athletic directors and coaches with our AFSOC team. We have incredible facilities with incredible Airmen, so we aim to host many sporting competitions on our Hurlburt Field,” added Black. “This program stands as an incredible opportunity to build stronger relationships between our Airmen on Hurlburt Field, high school coaches, students, community leaders, and educators.”