NFNS 99-01

March 5, 1999


HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (Air Force Special Operations Command Night Flyer News Service) -- Air Force officials announced changes in force structures today that will affect Air Force Special Operations Command units.

According to AFSOC officials, the changes are designed to help transition the command to the introduction of the CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft into the inventory.

The major force structure changes include the inactivation of one squadron at Hurlburt Field, reduction in the number of MC-130P's, establishing a groundbreaking relationship with Air Force Reserve Command, and the creation of an additional aviation advisory team. Overall, with certain manning increases and decreases, command officials said the impact on the command would be a net decrease of 433 manning billets.

"These changes are all designed to help us down the road toward bringing the CV-22 into the AFSOC inventory," said Maj. Gen. Charles Holland, AFSOC commander. "The CV-22 is a significant leap ahead in capability for vertical lift platforms. The aircraft will provide a dramatic increase in the ability to clandestinely insert, exfiltrate and resupply special forces in the uncertain combat environment of the future," said the commander.

Specific actions announced in the force structure include:

-- The 55th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt will inactivate on or about Sept. 30. The unit's six MH-60G's will transfer to Air Combat Command to build up conventional search and rescue assets.

-- The 6th SOS at Hurlburt will gain an additional Aviation Advisory Team. These teams conduct foreign internal defense missions, by advising friendly foreign aviation units on airpower employment and sustainment. Currently, the 6th SOS has five such teams.

-- In October, AFSOC and Air Force Reserve Command will establish a Reserve Associate program at Eglin, and an Active Associate program at Duke Field, Fla. According to AFSOC officials, these programs will help eliminate the redundancies of maintaining and operating a small number of unique aircraft in two separate locations. Currently, both active duty and Reserve units at Eglin, Hurlburt Field and Duke are operating MC-130E Combat Talons and MC-130P Combat Shadows. The program will co-locate similar aircraft and support teams.

The program at Eglin will bring the 9th SOS and the Reserve's 5th SOS together to jointly operate eight primary, and two backup, MC-130P Combat Shadows. The 5th SOS will relocate from Duke to Eglin. A joint active duty and Reserve maintenance team will maintain the aircraft. In a Reserve Associate program the active duty unit owns the aircraft, and an active duty and Reserve unit work together as a team to operate them.

At Duke Field, the program brings the Reserve's 711th SOS and the 8th SOS together to operate 10 primary, two trainer and two backup MC-130E Combat Talons. The 8th SOS will relocate from Hurlburt to Duke Field. An active-duty maintenance squadron will standup at Duke to jointly maintain the Talons with the Reserve's 919th Maintenance Squadron. In an active associate unit, the Reserves own the aircraft.

-- In response to a 1998 budget initiative, U.S. Special Operations Command will excess four MC-130P's from the worldwide fleet. The four aircraft are currently possessed by the Air Force Reserves at Duke Field, Fla. These aircraft will transfer to the Air National Guard at Moffett Field, Calif., to increase conventional search and rescue assets.

"These force structure changes will help AFSOC prepare for the future. Now is the time to start preparing for the delivery of the first CV-22 in 2003," said Holland. "It is vital we ensure our command is ready for this transition, and can make the migration without any adverse impact to the mission," said the general.

Specific information about inactivation and relocations will be announced closer to the date these changes will be made.

-- 30 --