Inspired, driven AFSOC Airmen ready to lead fight against global terrorism

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Dan Grillone
  • 6th SOS commander
Special Operations Airmen today are inspired and driven by the same passion for flight that shaped the Air Force 60 years ago.
As the next generation of air-minded leaders comes of age, it is critical that our history, values and vision are instilled so they are prepared to lead the fight against terrorism in this new era of global conflict.
Although today's Air Force Special Operations Command is a relatively young organization, Air Commandos have influenced the battlefield in every conflict since World War II. In every operation, a common theme resonates among the Air Commando it's a theme of ingenuity in the face of necessity and a common desire to leverage the air in ways few thought possible. Examples of this ingenuity are evident in Air Commando planes called Skyraiders, Goons and Talons.
Since Sept. 11, 2001 a new generation of Air Commandos has shaken the stick and assumed the lead in the latest global struggle; again Air Commando ingenuity is evident as Predators and Ospreys join the ranks of the longstanding AC/MC-130 fleet that has been the backbone of AFSOC since its inception. But, as much as things change, some things stay the same. 

The unwavering spirit of the Air Commando is driven by a common set of values and enduring leadership qualities that has stood the test of time. The inspiration of the Air Commando has passed from generation to generation through the men and women that understand what it means to be a "Quiet Professional." 

Their success was built on the same common principles found in today's core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.
These are not slogans or bumper stickers, they are words that Air Commandos have lived, died and sworn to in places like Burma, Korea, Son-Tay, Desert One and Afghanistan, and fostered by men named Landsdale, Aderholdt, Turczynski and Schwartz. They are the words your co-pilot, gunner, loadmaster or wingman must swear to for every mission to be a success.
To ensure that future Air Commando missions succeed, every Airman's spirit, dedication and ingenuity, backed by the core values must be focused on a common vision. Today's vision brings back the history of the 1st Commando Wing as the 1st Special Operations Wing and AFSOC prepare to take on a new shape and location, while its Airmen are fighting on multiple unprecedented fronts across the world.
This transformation ensures AFSOC Airmen are capable of executing highly specialized missions supporting a wide range of joint and combined customers while maintaining its relevance through a strong foundation of training, improved aircraft technology and effective risk management.
The world has changed dramatically over the last 60 years and will do the same for the next 60 years. One thing that has not changed is the spirit and commitment of the Air Commando. 

As long as the history and values of the Air Commando are preserved, the vision of our leaders will continue to drive the extraordinary airpower of the Air Commando for generations to come.