HURLBURT FIELD, FL (Staff Sgt. Erica Horner) – After three years, three months in a front row seat to the dynamic mission of special operations, Chief Master Sgt. William Turner, command chief of Air Force Special Operations Command, will be heading to the U.S. Transportation Command as the command senior enlisted leader.
“[AFSOC] has been my heart. It’s been my passion. It’s what I believe in,” said Turner. “I know what these guys do, I know what their families give to this mission and I know the sacrifices that are being made every day to make sure that our nation is safe.”
In 1986 the Kentucky native enlisted in the Air Force as an F-15 weapons loader, but moved into AFSOC after only a few years.
“In 1990, I applied to be a gunner on the AC-130H gunship,” said Turner, who received orders to the 16th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. “As soon as I arrived and met the people at the squadron, they took me under their wing and showed me the way. I’ve loved it ever since.”
The chief said he’s seen the command go through numerous changes throughout the years.
“When I showed up [to Hurlburt Field] in 1991, there were about 4,500 service members and civilians working on the base and we were flying the Vietnam era aircraft,” he said. “The new kids on the block were the Talon IIs.”
Today Hurlburt has more than doubled their number to approximately 11,000 while AFSOC has grown to more than 19,000 personnel and has expanded its aircraft fleet to support the warfighter’s capabilities.
“AFSOC is a step ahead in the changing world,” he said. “And as this world continues to change, AFSOC will always be at the forefront of getting things done and getting out on the battlefield and executing the mission of our nation; because we can’t fail at this. [The mission] is too precious.”
Turner, who has served 21 years of his 28-year career in AFSOC, speaks fondly of the Air Commandos.
“I’m proud of our Air Commandos,” said Turner. “Everybody everywhere talks about AFSOC forces. They talk about the great pride and professionalism that our Air Commandos possess. And I can tell you with great confidence that we have the best leadership team assembled taking care of our great force.”
Although Turner will miss his Air commandos, he is excited for his assignment at U.S. TRANSCOM.
“They do everything,” he said. “Whether it’s moving stuff by rail, by ship, or plane, they move stuff to the warfighter and make sure they have what they need to execute the mission. It’s going to be a very important mission and I look forward to the challenge.”