DUKE FIELD, FL – The Air Force stood up the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center and hosted an assumption of command ceremony at Duke Field, Fla., Feb. 11.
During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Jon Weeks assumed command of AFSOAWC, which is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla. with operating locations at Duke Field and Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
The ceremony was held at Duke Field to emphasize AFSOAWC’s total force partnership between active-duty members and reservists.
“The Air Force Special Operations Command partnered with the 919th Special Operations Wing to help execute aviation for internal defense missions and build partnership capacity,” said Col. Jonathan Duncan, AFSOAWC deputy commander.
With the activation of the center, the Air Force Special Operations Training Center was inactivated. As a result the major units that fall under the center include: U.S. Air Force Special Operations School, 371st Special Operations Combat Training Squadron, 19th Special Operations Squadron, 551st SOS from Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., 18th Flight Test Squadron, 6th SOS and the 745th SOS reserve unit, which were formerly assigned to AFSOTC.
“We have accomplished an incredible amount since June 17th, when General Fiel and I first discussed the creation of the Special Operations Air Warfare Center, welcoming five new units, gaining at least that many new missions, receiving and exercising new personnel, authorities and responsibilities from AFSOC,” said outgoing AFSOTC commander Col. William Andersen.
Weeks said creation of the AFSOAWC will help integrate the capabilities of various units under one command. Previously, the capabilities were spread amongst directorates, headquarters and other units within AFSOC. Manning for the center will also come directly from the units impacted by the consolidation resulting in neither a fiscal loss nor gain of positions.
AFSOAWC is modeled after the Special Air Warfare Center, which activated in 1962 and stood down after the Vietnam War.
“Every unit in this new organization walks in the historic footsteps of the 1960s Special Air Warfare Center, and continues to contribute to these truly timeless mission sets, now executed by a modern force,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, AFSOC commander.
Similar to its predecessor, the AFSOAWC will organize train, educate, and equip forces to conduct special operations missions; lead major command irregular warfare activities; execute special operations test, evaluation and lessons learned programs; and develop doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures for AFSOC.
“The center is here to train and educate Air Commandos,” Duncan said. “We also train sister services from the larger interagency community and other partner nations.”
AFSOAWC’s major responsibilities will be airframe and aircrew focused to ensure Airmen are well trained and equipped to conduct integrated combat operations. The center will also consist of mission-ready combat aviation advisors, enablers and augmenters who will assess, train, advise and assist foreign partner nations in aviation.
“We’ve grown from a training-only organization to a training and operations organization,” Duncan said.
AFSOAWC combines the efforts of units from AFSOC and the Air Force Reserve Command that work with doctrine development, education, training and execution of the command’s irregular warfare capabilities. This total force partnership is also part of a long range plan to integrate irregular warfare capabilities and leverage costs by using facilities and manpower already in place.
“Every unit assigned to the Special Operations Air Warfare Center has a distinguished record of success and demonstrated ability to accomplish the missions our nation reserves for its special operations forces,” Fiel said.