Special Operations Support Command (Airborne) (SOSCOM-A)
The Special Operations Support Command (Airborne) (SOSCOM-A), along with the 528th Support Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne), was inactivated during a ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 6 December 2005. It was reflagged as the Sustainment Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne) (Provisional). The 528th Support Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) was reflagged as the Brigade's special troops battalion.
The Special Operations Support Command (Airborne) (SOSCOM-A) provided combat service support, combat health support, and signal support to Army special operations forces (ARSOF) in the full spectrum of conflict. It also provided operational and tactical communications for joint special operations task force commanders in support of wartime missions. To support this complex and demanding mission, the command's subordinate units, the 528th Support Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) and the 112th Signal Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne), provided the necessary connectivity to sustain and support ARSOF around the world.
The SOSCOM-A team designed modular support packages to make its support more efficient and easier on customers. Information on the number of soldiers involved in a deployment, its location and duration, and other criteria was used to decide what type and how much support was needed.
In an initial deployment package, or IDP, deploying units could have a "company minus" to provide support. This included a command-and-control element and teams to provide maintenance, repair parts, fuel, water, communications, medical, ammunition, food service and transportation. The IDP can be ready to go in 18 hours.
Once the operation was under way, a follow-on-force package, which included the remainder of the forward support company, the "storefront" initiative and additional elements from the headquarters and main support company, joined the support teams if needed. The storefront initiative provided avenues to repair equipment that cannot be repaired in theater.
SOSCOM also provides Special Operations Theater Support Elements, which are company-sized elements based in different theaters to support special operations in Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Germany. Another SOTSE activated to support operations in Qatar late in 2000.
Although the SOSCOM-A had taken care of the support needs of the special operations community since 1986, its lineages are far older. The 112th Signal Battalion evolved from the 512th Airborne Signal Company, which supported special operations in World War II. The 528th Support Battalion's history dated to the 528th Quartermaster Service Battalion, which served in Sicily, Italy, Southern France and Germany.
Army Special Operations Forces responded to continuing force reductions with a streamlined logistics structure with existing Department of Defense drawdown and realignment procedures. It pooled logistical and theater Army SOSCOM assets to create a centralized, US-based SOSCOM, with soldiers deployed worldwide. This centralization brought the Special Operations community within doctrinal force projection and support concepts.
The Special Operations Support Command (Airborne), which had existed provisionally since the mid-1980s, was formally activated on 1 November 1995, becoming the newest major subordinate unit in the US Army Special Operations Command. Its activation realigned the command and control organizational structure of the following units: 112th Signal Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne); 528th Support Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne); Material Management Center (Airborne), and 5 Special Operations Theater Support Elements (SOTSE). It also concentrated a dedicated, regionally oriented, combat and health services, communications planning, coordination and liaison base to assure support for all Army Special Operations Forces units.
The Material Management Center (Airborne) provided the ARSOF with centralized and integrated materiel management of property, equipment maintenance, logistical automation and repair parts and supplies.
Specializing in advanced communications and resupply capabilities, members of the 112th Signal Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) and the 528th Support Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne), had a difficult mission supporting ARSOF. In their respective fields, signal and support soldiers provided supplies, maintenance, equipment and expertise allowing Special Operation Forces to "shoot, move and communicate" on a continuous basis. As ARSOF often used SOF-unique items, soldiers assigned to these units were taught to operate and maintain a vast array of specialized equipment not normally used by their conventional counterparts. To meet the needs of ARSOF, the 2 battalions developed logistical and signal packages that are deployable on a moments notice. Soldiers assigned to these units were airborne qualified.
SOSCOM inherited its support legacy and customer orientation from the reorganization of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Special Operations Support Command (Airborne), Theater Army, which it replaced. This reorganization left a SOTSE in each of 5 geographical regions around the world. The SOTSE soldiers were embedded in theaters' Army staff. They planned and coordinated with theater Army, SOSCOM and ARSOF to ensure support during operations and training. As a theater Army staff member, these officers and non-commissioned officers' knowledge of theater-specific requirements and capabilities assist units in coordination with the theater.
In October 2001, 150 Soldiers from the Special Operations Support Command (Airborne), headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were among the first deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After that, USASOC Soldiers were continuously deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism until the inactivation of the SOSCOM-A in 2005. On 2 December 2005, the Sustainment Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne) (Provisional) was activated in support of an overall transformation concept involving ARSOF logistics. Under the new concept, ARSOF's Sustainment Brigade became a deployable unit instead of a garrison organization.