Hurlburt Field, home of the Air Force Special Operations Command and the 16th Special Operations Wing, was originally designated as Auxiliary Field No. 9, one of the original small pilot and gunnery training fields built on the Eglin Air Force Base complex in the 1940s. The field was named for 1st Lieutenant Donald W. Hurlburt, World War II pilot, who was killed in an aircraft accident on the Eglin reservation in 1943.
Air Force Special Operations Command provides Air Force special operations forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to regional unified commands throughout the spectrum of conflict. Air Force special operations forces' core tasks are functionally grouped into four mission areas: - Forward Presence and Engagement - Information Operations - Precision Employment/Strike - Special Operations Forces Mobility.
Air Force active duty special operations units were created to counter Soviet support of "wars of liberation" in the Third World. General Curtis E. LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff, established the 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS) in April 1961. Nicknamed "Jungle Jim," the CCTS was based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, with a two-fold mission: counterinsurgency training and combat operations. Aircraft such as U-10s, C-46s, C-47s, B-26s, and AT-28s soon showed up on the Hurlburt flight line. The CCTS devised FID tactics and techniques for building a counterinsurgency capability in Third World countries from Latin America to Africa, and from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.
In April 1987, the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) was established at MacDill AFB, Florida, and Army Gen James J. Lindsay assumed command. Four months later, 23 AF moved to Hurlburt Field, Florida. In August 1989, Gen Duane H. Cassidy, MAC Commander in Chief, divested all non-special operations units from 23 AF. Thus, 23 AF served a dual role--reporting to MAC, but also functioning as the air component to USSOCOM.
More reorganization occurred on Hurlburt Field to include the 1720 STG becoming the 720 STG in March 1992; the transfer of ownership of Hurlburt Field from Air Mobility Command (AMC, and formerly MAC) to AFSOC in October 1992, followed by the merger of the 834th Air Base Wing (ABW) into the 1 SOW who assumed host unit responsibilities. A year later the 1 SOW became the 16 SOW in a move to preserve Air Force heritage.
Hurlburt Field is known as the home of Air Force Special Operations. But there are several other organizations located at the base that are assigned to other Air Force commands and play an important role in national defense.
Air Force Command and Control Training and Innovation Group (C2TIG) conducts instruction and wargaming responsibilities for joint air ground operations, including several exercises a year, and develops and evaluates warfighter tactics, techniques and procedures to support joint air operations worldwide. More than 4,000 military personnel participate each year in the group's Battlestaff Training School's Blue Flag and Warrior Flag exercises.
Also noteworthy at Hurlburt Field is the 823rd Red Horse Squadron, a heavy civil engineering construction unit that is self-contained and can rapidly deploy to support U.S. forces around the world. Red Horse airmen have supported operations in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Somalia, and Bosnia. Squadron airmen are often the first DoD military personnel in a theater of operations and are prepared to meet all civil engineering challenges, in keeping with their motto "Can Do, Will Do, Have Done."
In addition to ACC units, Hurlburt also is home to the Air Force Combat Weather Center. The organization operates under the Air Force Weather Agency, a field operating agency reporting to the Air Force Director of Weather (HQ USAF/XOW). AFCWC examines Air Force, Army, and special operations battlefield weather needs and evaluates emerging weather technologies to assist battlefield commanders.
Other organizations at Hurlburt Field include Det. 1, 334th Training Squadron, Detachment 7 of the 373rd Training Squadron, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Hurlburt Field has 680 military family housing units located on the main base, across U.S. Highway 98 and five miles NE of the main base. Housing waiting list is 10 to 24 months. All eligible personnel may apply for housing at either Hurlburt Field or Eglin AFB, which is located 11 miles away.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would establish a Mobility Air Forces Logistics Support Center at Scott Air Force Base by realigning Regional Supply Squadron positions from Hurlburt Field and Sembach (non-BRAC programmatic) and LRS positions from Little Rock Air Force Base and Altus Air Force Base. This recommendation would be a transformational opportunity consistent with eLog21 initiatives that would standardize Air Force materiel management command and control.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation would realign RSS manpower (from three MAJCOM locations) and base-level LRS manpower (from three installations) into two LSCs in support of Combat Air Forces and Mobility Air Forces. Consolidation would provide a seamless transition from peace to war for 3,012 aircraft and weapons systems associated with CAF/MAF forces and the Airmen that use them. It would also provide a single point of contact to the warfighter, whether at home station or deployed. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 98 jobs (54 direct jobs and 44 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (less than 0.1 percent).
Community Concerns: There were no formal expressions from the community.
Commission Findings: The Commission found operational efficiencies gained by this recommendation. The Commission noted a risk to material management support to the Air Force during the transition period, but the Commission also recognized that the Air Force has, in-place, a detailed implementation plans to mitigate this risk.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found the Secretary's recommendation consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission approves the recommendation of the Secretary.
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