4th Special Operations Squadron

4th Special Operations Squadron

4th Special Operations Squadron Patch
Active 8 April 1942 – 31 March 1944
27 October 1949 – 8 March 1954
2 August 1965 – 15 December 1969
1 April 1970 – 30 September 1992
1 May 1995 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Special Operations
Part of Air Force Special Operations Command
1st Special Operations Wing
1st Special Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Hurlburt Field
Nickname(s) Ghostriders
Decorations PUC
AFOUA w/V Device
RVGC w/ Palm
An AC-130U "Spooky II" gunship from the 4th Special Operations Squadron jettisons flares over an area near Hurlburt Field, Fla., 20 August 2008.
Detail of Douglas AC-47D (S/N 45-0927) of the 4th Air Commando Squadron in February 1968 at Nha Trang Air Base, South Vietnam. This aircraft was reassigned to South Vietnam AF after USAF pullout in 1971.

The 4th Special Operations Squadron (4 SOS) is part of the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. It operates AC-130U Spooky aircraft providing special operations capabilities.


Directly supports unified and theater special operations commands by conducting close air support, armed reconnaissance, and interdiction missions worldwide in support of Secretary of Defense taskings.[1]

The AC-130U aircraft flown by the 4th SOS are maintained by the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.


The 4th ferried aircraft to locations in Alaska, Africa, and Europe from, April 1942 – February 1944. It also airlifted cargo and evacuated wounded to US military hospitals.[2]

The 4th Air Commando Squadron flew night combat missions in South Vietnam manning the AC-47 gunship beginning in November 1965. By year's end, the 4th had flown 277 combat sorties, used 2,458 illumination flares, and expended 137,136 rounds of ammunition in support of friendly positions under attack. In February 1966, four of the squadron's gunships were moved to Thailand to operate against the Ho Chi Minh Trail. There they would serve several roles. They were equipped to assume Airborne Command and Control Center duties in lieu of C-130s. They both struck and directed forward air control in the Operation Barrel Roll area of the Kingdom of Laos. They also hunted supply trucks along the Trail. Between December 1965 and July 1966, they were credited with destroying 243 trucks. However, they lost four AC-47s and 26 air crew members in the process, as enemy anti-aircraft fire became steadily more effective. The 4th was then assigned solely to defense of hamlets and troops under attack.[3]

It provided an auxiliary command post and a communications link for the Fifteenth Air Force and Strategic Air Command from, 1 April 1970 – 30 September 1992.[2]

In September 1996, the squadron deployed to Brindisi, Italy, supporting Operation Joint Endeavor in the skies over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The squadron saw its first combat operations since the Vietnam War in April 1999 over Kosovo while supporting Operation Allied Force. The 4th was called upon to strike Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan In the fall of 2001. In the spring of 2003 the 4th participated in the invasion of Iraq. During the initial 2 months of the conflict the 4th flew more than 1000 combat hours from 3 separate forward operating locations.[1]




Bases stationed[2]

Pleiku Air Force Base, Viet Nam 1965-1969

Aircraft Operated[2]

4 SOS AC-130 flying over Florida

See also




External links

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