352nd SOG Plans Expansion

The 352nd Special Operations Group at RAF Mildenhall, England, is expected to receive the first two of 10 CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and the first of 12 MC-130J Commando II aircraft this month. In addition, the number of personnel assigned to the group will increase by about 900, including family members, according to a release. “We are welcoming back vertical airlift to (special operations forces) in Europe,” said Col. Christopher Ireland, 352nd SOG commander. “It’s been almost six years since we’ve had it here.” The remaining eight Ospreys are slated to arrive by the end of 2014, while the additional MC-130Js are scheduled to arrive over the next five years. Originally, AFSOC announced it would begin deploying Ospreys to Mildenhall in Fiscal 2012, but those plans were delayed due to “crew maturation” and changing requirements that necessitated additional host nation coordination, AFSOC spokesman Don Arias told the Daily Report on June 10.The Air Force also intends to forward deploy some of its CV-22s in the Pacific region, although officials have yet to release an exact location or timeline. The Pentagon announced last year it had reached an agreement with Japan that would allow operation of the V-22 in country.