Air Force Special Operations Command officials held a ceremony to mark the move of the 6th Special Operations Squadron—a combat aviation advisory unit—from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to nearby Duke Field. The shift is part of the squadron’s transition from under the 1st Special Operations Wing to the oversight of the Air Force Special Operations Training Center. Along with the transfer, the squadron is relinquishing its legacy fleet of helicopters (see below) and turboprop airplanes for a force of new C-145A Skytrucks, which are light-cargo and passenger airplanes, according to an Oct. 1 Hurlburt release. “The 1st SOW is going to lose an important part of its legacy and history,” said Col. Jim Slife, wing commander, during Hurlburt’s Sept. 27 ceremony. However, he added, AFSOC retains within the center “a tremendous core of combat aviation advisors dedicated to one of our most historic and strategically important mission areas.” Col. William Andersen, AFSOTC commander, said the 6th SOS’ activities at Duke “will become the centerpiece of a far larger irregular warfare effort for AFSOC than previously seen.” (Hurlburt report by A1C Michelle Vickers)
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.