24th Special Operations Wing

24th Special Operations Wing

Active 1942–1944; 1946–1948; 1967–1987; 1989–1991; 1992–1999; 2012–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Special Operations
Part of Air Force Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ Hurlburt Field
Motto(s) Los Professionales Spanish The Professionals
Engagements War in Afghanistan
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Colonel Michael E. Martin
24th Special Operations Wing emblem (approved 1968, reinstated 2012)
24th Composite Wing emblem (approved 16 August 1994)[1][note 1]

The 24th Special Operations Wing is a United States Air Force active-duty wing that was activated on 12 June 2012.[2] Its headquarters is at Hurlburt Field, Florida and it has component groups located in North Carolina, Georgia and Washington. It is the third special operations wing in Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

The 24th SOW is a reactivation of the 24th Wing, previously assigned with the Twelfth Air Force, stationed at Howard Air Force Base, Panama. It was inactivated on 1 November 1999. The inactivation of the 24th Wing and the closure of Howard Air Force Base ended an 82-year United States Air Force presence in Panama, which began with the formation of the 7th Aero Squadron on 29 March 1917.


World War II

It was activated on 25 December 1942 to control all Army Air Forces units on Iceland. Disestablished in June 1944.[1]

Post war era

From August 1946 until replaced by the Antilles Air Division in July 1948 the wing supervised large numbers of major and minor bases and Air Force units in the Caribbean area from Puerto Rico to British Guiana.[1]

Panama and special operations

A 24th TASS O-2A and an Illinois ANG OA-37B over Honduras, 1984.

It was organized once more in November 1967 in the Panama Canal Zone, replacing the 5700th Air Base Wing. The wing assumed operation and maintenance responsibilities for Howard and Albrook Air Force Bases and a special operations mission that included air transport, paramilitary operations, exercise participation, civic actions in Central and South America, search and rescue missions, humanitarian operations, mercy missions, aeromedical evacuation, and support of Army Special Forces, U.S. military assistance units, and training of Latin American air forces. From its activation in 1967 until mid-1972, the 24th Wing operated the USAF Tropic Survival School at Albrook. It also controlled various rotational detachments from 1967–1987. The wing lost UH–1 helicopters and control of search and rescue missions in the area after 1 March 1983. The wing inactivated on 31 January 1987, its subordinate components reassigned directly to the USAF Southern Air Division.

The 24th was reactivated on 1 January 1989, as the 24th Composite Wing assuming responsibilities for Howard AFB and Albrook AFS. The wing flew combat sorties in the Invasion of Panama, December 1989 – January 1990. The wing trained foreign and domestic pilots in forward air control. It again flew search and rescue, aeromedical airlift and disaster relief missions in the Latin American region from 1989–1990. Members of the wing deployed to Southwest Asia to provide air liaison support between ground forces and air operations from 1 October 1990 – February 1991. When the 24th Composite Wing inactivated in 1991, its assets were placed under Air Forces in Panama.

On 11 February 1992 the wing again reactivated as the 24th Wing and became the senior USAF organization in Panama and replaced the previous command and division-level Air Force host units. In June 1992, it began operating the only C–21, CT–43, C–27 and special mission C–130s in Air Combat Command. The wing provided control and support to multi-service units directed by United States Southern Command and United States Southern Air Force from 1992–1999. Missions included counter-narcotics operations, aerial command and control, intratheater airlift, security assistance and defense of the Panama Canal. The wing operated both Howard Air Force Base and Albrook Air Force Station.

On 1 April 1997 the 310th Airlift Squadron was reassigned to Air Mobility Command's 21st Air Force. The 24th Wing was inactivated on 1 November 1999 with the closure of Howard AFB and its turnover to the Panamanian government.

Special tactics

When the wing was reactivated in June 2012 it comprised the 720th Special Tactics Group and the Special Tactics Training Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, the 724th Special Tactics Group based at Pope Army Airfield and 16 recruiting locations across the United States.[2][3] The Special Tactics Squadrons are made up of Special Tactics Officers, Combat Controllers, Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, Special Operations Weather Officers and Airmen, Air Liaison Officers, Tactical Air Control Party operators, and a number of combat support airmen which comprise 58 Air Force specialties.[3]


Activated on 25 December 1942
Disestablished on 15 June 1944
Activated on 25 August 1946
Inactivated on 28 July 1948
Organized on 8 November 1967
Redesignated 24th Air Commando Wing on 15 March 1968
Redesignated 24th Special Operations Wing on 15 July 1968
Redesignated 24th Special Operations Group on 30 June 1972
Redesignated 24th Composite Group on 15 November 1973
Redesignated 24th Composite Wing on 1 January 1976
Inactivated on 31 January 1987
Inactivated on 15 February 1991
Redesignated 24th Wing on 1 February 1992
Activated on 11 February 1992
Inactivated on 1 November 1999[4]
Activated on 12 June 2012[3]









  1. Azure, a stylized square-rigged ship of three mast sails set, flag and pennants flotant sailing to sinister above an arced olive branch to dexter and an arced lightning flash to sinister conjoined in base Or, all within a diminished bordure of the like. Motto: Los Profesionales—The professionals
  1. 1 2 3 Robertson, Patsy (November 28, 2007). "Factsheet 24 Wing". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Air Force launches first special tactics wing". 13 June 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Fact Sheet 24th Special Operations Wing". Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs. August 7, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lineage, including assignments, stations, aircraft and components through 1999 in AFHRA Factsheet, 24 Wing


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/18/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.