Military


Duke Field [Eglin Auxiliary Field 3]

The 919th Special Operations Wing (919 SOW), an Air Force Reserve Wing at Duke Field, trains at Eglin AFB to provide aerial refueling of special operations helicopters and long-range troop and supply infiltration missions in support of the Air Force Special Operations Command. Humanitarian missions are also conducted by 919 SOW, providing medical and other assistance to countries of the Western Hemisphere.

As part of Commando Vision, which started in 1994, the 919 SOW would not receive the AC-130Hs from the 16 SOW as had been planned. Instead the 919 SOW at Duke Field, Florida, retired its AC-130A gunships and gained MC-130P Combat Shadows, flown by the newly stood-up 5 SOS, and MC-130E Combat Talons, flown by the 711 SOS.

Approximately 300 people - members of the 8th Special Operations Squadron and 716th Maintenance Squadron - transferred 26 miles from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to Duke Field to serve with Air Force Reserve Command's 919th Special Operations Wing. With the move, the squadrons, which had called Hurlburt home for 26 years, together became the Air Force's only active associate unit. In addition to the people, the active duty also transferred six MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft to the Reserve, adding them to the eight MC-130Es already owned by the 919th and flown by the 711th SOS.

The transfer of the MC-130Es and active-duty people to Duke Field was the 919th SOW's second reorganization in a five-month period. In October the wing's other flying squadron, the 5th SOS, which flies MC-130P Combat Shadows, formed up with its active-duty counterpart, the 9th SOS, as an associate unit at Eglin AFB, 17 miles south of Duke. The move involved five aircraft as well as air crews and maintenance workers. The two reorganizations were part of an overall plan for Air Force Special Operations Command to combine Reserve and active-duty components onto common airframes.

One of the most notable missions supported by USAF special operations was the Son Tay prisoner of war (POW) camp raid in 1970. The Son Tay raiders trained at Hurlburt and Duke Fields, near Eglin AFB, Florida. Although no prisoners were found, the resulting boost in morale and improved treatment of our prisoners of war made the



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