Changes . . . and the 16th SOW way ahead

  • Published
  • By Col. Norman Brozenick Jr.
  • 16th SOW Commander
The winds of change are blowing at Hurlburt Field. 

Permanent change of station and retirement season is upon us, with a host of “goodbyes” to the best of friends and combat comrades.

Seasoned Air Commandos are returning to our ranks, wearing the 16th SOW patch again after completing assignments at other locations. We’re also saying hello to hundreds of eager Airmen joining our wing for the first time.

Those remaining at Hurlburt are noticing new faces of group and squadron commanders as well as first sergeants. Fall classes begin soon at local universities, and in a couple weeks your children will begin studies in the “next grade.”

Dealing with change is nothing new to Air Commandos. Our “adapt or perish” philosophy communicates the intolerability of finishing second in our no-fail environment. We desire and require change to enhance pursuit of our aimpoints.

We embrace change that improves our capability to fight and win, creates new opportunities to take best care of our wingmen, families, and resources, and forwards development of the next generation of Air Force and Air Commando leaders.

Know that we are going to do more than sit back and wait for change. We’re going to exploit and drive it. Here’s a preview of what’s coming our way in the months ahead.

Fight and win. Organizationally, we’ll pay final tribute to our current 16th SOW designation in early November in anticipation of the eventual second wing stand up at Cannon AFB. At an appropriate ceremony, we’ll unfurl the 1st SOW flag…and immediately add to its long string of combat successes.

Our 3rd SOS MQ-1 Predator Airmen at Nellis will help shape the way ahead regarding Predator operations center beddown requirements.

We’ll look across the wing, command, and Air Force, and joint community for talented Airmen to serve as 6th SOS combat aviation advisors while simultaneously finalizing plans to add 120 personnel to this exciting mission area.

Our maintenance leaders will crosscheck their existing organizational structure to ensure we are best postured to maintain new CV-22 and MC-130W airframes.

The 16th SOW will “retire” the venerable MC-130E Combat Talon from active duty flying next month. The 8th SOS begins re-equipping with CV-22 Osprey aircraft in November.

Our wing’s 29th squadron, the 73rd SOS, will stand up this fall as we introduce the MC-130W combat loss replacement aircraft into our inventory. Further, we eagerly await arrival of the “plus four” AC-130U Spooky gunships complete with 30mm cannon and integrated sensor suites.

Finally, Airmen from our newest squadron, the 319th SOS, will evaluate the combat performance of the U-28 aircraft. We’ll discuss and shape the requirement for a seventh fully configured U-28 for home station training and systems development.

Take best care of our wingmen, families, and resources.

The stand up of the 16 SOW at Cannon AFB, and what it means to our wingmen and families, remains a top priority. On 20-21 July approximately 32 SOW Airmen from all ranks will travel to Cannon.

They’ll visit schools, health care systems, and on/off base housing. The group will meet with community leaders from Clovis and Portales. We hope to learn about employment environment for family members. Headquarters AFSOC information regarding specific units, manpower billets, and numbers of personnel envisioned for transfer has not been finalized. It will be released when available.

Hurlburt and Eglin housing privatization remains of great importance to our way ahead. We hope to begin construction of our new houses as soon as 2008.

Over the next several months we also hope to break ground on the new joint operational planning facility and consolidated club complex south of Highway 98. The new club complex will include visiting quarters. A new fire and crash station is also on the near term construction horizon.

And yes, you can expect to hear about additional CV-22 and MC-130W related construction.

Develop the next generation of Air Force and Air Commando leaders. It is time to move out on discussions to transform an existing structure into an “Airman’s Hangar.” This high tech concept will provide our younger Air Commandos a place to relax in a facility hot wired to support a variety of computer gaming interests.

We also need to place significant emphasis be-hind our engineering planning efforts for a new Airman’s Leadership School building. You can expect the return of Airman’s night later this summer. We’ll introduce another new forum affording our Air Commandos increased opportunities to interact with Gulf Coast community leaders.

We’ll also spend considerable time game planning key officer and enlisted leadership billets at the group and wing levels
I can assure you the wing, group, and squadron leadership will do our very best to keep you and your families in the know regarding changes, big and small, impacting our 16th SOW and Team Hurlburt families.

I very much appreciate your every continued effort, at home and overseas, to fight and win, take best care of each other, and grow tomorrow’s leaders. As engines of change, we’re going to shape opportunities for us to be an even more capable, credible, and faithful force tomorrow. Our people and mission deserve nothing less. No fail.