Tuesday, October 07, 2008

17th ASOS transitions from ACC to AFSOC

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The 17th Air Support Operations Squadron transitioned from Air Combat Command to the 720th Special Tactics Group, Air Force Special Operations Command, in a ceremony at the Hurlburt Field Air Park Oct. 1.

The 17th ASOS has 61 special operations forces Tactical Air Control Party Airmen and support personnel. The squadron will join the ranks of more than 900 special tactics combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weathermen and support personnel.

"The men of the 17th are the crown jewel of all TACPs- the top 10 percent of their career field," said Col. Bradley Thompson, 720th STG commander. "They are the most highly decorated TACP unit in the Air Force and have been involved in every contingency since 1983. The Air Force knows how valuable they are and we are so lucky to have our SOF brothers join us."

Among the many awards the 17th ASOS has earned are four Outstanding Unit Awards, one with valor, and the Gallant Unit Citation. The Gallant Unit Citation recognizes organizations for outstanding heroism in combat and is only second to the Presidential Unit Citation. Units must have performed with marked distinction under difficult and hazardous conditions in accomplishing its mission so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same conflict.

The 17th ASOS is bringing a rich history of proven combat experience and this move is beneficial to everyone involved, said Lt. Col. Christopher Cronk, 17th ASOS commander.

"Not only am I the commander of the best TACP squadron in the Air Force, but now we join the ranks of the most outstanding group in the Air Force," said Colonel Cronk. "This move is beneficial because we provide Joint Terminal Attack Controllers - JTACs - to all special operations forces and the SOF mission belongs in AFSOC."

The squadron provides terminal attack and liaison services to the 75th Ranger Regiment and its 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Regimental Special Troops Battalions, and the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 10th Special Forces Groups.

"These men have the right leadership and the right synergy and this transition was the right thing to do," said Colonel Thompson.

The 17th ASOS will remain at Fort Benning, Ga., with operational locations at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Carson, Colo. And Fort Lewis, Wash.