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2 October 09, we activated the 524th Special Operations Squadron to operate AFSOC’s fleet of medium non-standard aviation aircraft, the DHC Dash 8, ini- tially, and now the Dornier 328. On 15 January 10, the 20th Special Operations Squadron reactivated to become AFSOC’s newest CV-22 Osprey unit. Finally, on 7 April 11, we activated the 522nd Special Operations Squadron, AFSOC’s first MC-130J unit. While we continue to grow these

units to full operational capability, we’ve also activated a trio of partner units. On 28 November 07, the 25th Intelligence Squadron activated a detachment at Cannon to provide specialized airborne intelligence support to our aircraft. On 24 July 09, the 551st Special Operations Squadron activated at Cannon to con- duct much of our initial qualification and upgrade training. Lastly, on 29 July 10, a detachment from the 11th Intelligence Squadron grew into the 56th Intelligence Squadron to conduct processing, exploi- tation, and dissemination of intelligence products from airborne platforms. In less than four years, Cannon’s

operations grew from a guidon into the largest operations group in AFSOC. And

in the process, we’ve fielded a number of platforms and capabilities not seen else- where within the command. For instance, our MC-130Ws came off the battlefield in 2009 as a SOF mobility platform and underwent a rapid modification (sen- sors, small missiles, and 30mm cannon) to provide increased armed overwatch capability to our supported forces. This new capability was deployed in late 2010, only a year after the unit had returned from its mobility role. Meanwhile, we have rapidly expanded our RPA capa- bilities in the 3 and 33 SOSs. We are now at our long-term steady-state pos- ture in those units after years of “surge” operations. Additionally, we’ve fielded the command’s non-standard aviation capabilities globally in support forward- deployed SOF. In fact, even before its first deployment, our M-28 fleet under- went a rapid mission change and is now conducting tactical short-field and airdrop operations in a demanding com- bat environment. This rapid capability development and fielding speaks to the flexibility and responsiveness of today’s Air Commandos. As these capabilities have grown, so has our ability to effectively command

and control our forces in the field. Every day, the wing has Air Commandos deployed on five continents, conducting as well as commanding and control- ling air operations. As we’ve developed our command and control capabilities, we’ve pioneered new ways to execute global RPA operations. Our robust com- munications infrastructure and resident expertise in RPA operations now make it possible for us to partner with theater commanders around the world and sup- port their operations with a command and control node at Cannon.

We’ve Arrived: First ORI - “Excellent”

In the middle of all the plan-

ning, building, organizing, resourcing, training, and deploying, the AFSOC Commander, Lt Gen Wurster, directed we prepare for and execute an ORI…. “but don’t break the force”. While daunting, an ORI was the only way to formally validate the arrival of the 27 SOW as a combat capable unit to the rest of the Air Force and USSOCOM. However, we did not just want to get

27 SOW leadership, led by Col Stephen Clark, greet Air Com- mandos returning from Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

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