Blackbirds return to Hurlburt nest, await new wings

An Airman from the 8th Special Operations Squadron nears Hurlburt Field Aug. 9 with the unit's guidon. As part of the 8th SOS transition festivities, a team of Airmen ran the guidon 26 miles back to Hurlburt Field the same way it was delivered to Duke Field six years ago. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Andy Kin)

An Airman from the 8th Special Operations Squadron nears Hurlburt Field Aug. 9 with the unit's guidon. As part of the 8th SOS transition festivities, a team of Airmen ran the guidon 26 miles back to Hurlburt Field the same way it was delivered to Duke Field six years ago. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Andy Kin)

Gen. Norton Schwartz, U.S. Transportation Command commander, chats with members of the 8th Special Operations Squadron during social hour of the active-duty Combat Talon farewell dinner Aug. 9.  (U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

Gen. Norton Schwartz, U.S. Transportation Command commander, chats with members of the 8th Special Operations Squadron during social hour of the active-duty Combat Talon farewell dinner Aug. 9. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

The 8th SOS returns the MC-130 Talon I to Duke Field, Fla., July 14. This flight marked the last active-duty deployment in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Jessica Klinger)

The 8th SOS returns the MC-130 Talon I to Duke Field, Fla., July 14. This flight marked the last active-duty deployment in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Jessica Klinger)

Col. Mark Alsid, 16th Operations Group commander, (left) and Lt. Col. Ted Corallo take part in a ceremonial passing of the flag to signify the historical transition from the Combat Talon I to the CV-22. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Orly Tyrell)

Col. Mark Alsid, 16th Operations Group commander, (left) and Lt. Col. Ted Corallo take part in a ceremonial passing of the flag to signify the historical transition from the Combat Talon I to the CV-22. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Orly Tyrell)

A couple observe a static display of 8th SOS memorabilia at the active-duty Combat Talon farewell dinner Aug. 9. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

A couple observe a static display of 8th SOS memorabilia at the active-duty Combat Talon farewell dinner Aug. 9. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

Members of the 8th Special Operations Squadron stand in front of their squadron at Duke Field, Fla., before participating in a 26-mile relay run from Duke Field to Hurlburt Field Aug 9. The run kicked off the start of the 8th SOS deactivation festivities prior to the official ceremony.  (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Andy Kin)

Members of the 8th Special Operations Squadron stand in front of their squadron at Duke Field, Fla., before participating in a 26-mile relay run from Duke Field to Hurlburt Field Aug 9. The run kicked off the start of the 8th SOS deactivation festivities prior to the official ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Andy Kin)

Lt. Col. Paul Caltagirone, 8th SOS director of operations, takes the squadron guidon on its first leg of the return home at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Andy Kin)

Lt. Col. Paul Caltagirone, 8th SOS director of operations, takes the squadron guidon on its first leg of the return home at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Andy Kin)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The 8th Special Operations Squadron ran its flag the 26 miles back to Hurlburt Field Wednesday after running it to Duke Field in February 2000.

The run marked the beginning of festivities celebrating the squadron's return to Hurlburt Field and the beginning of its transition from the MC-130E Combat Talon I to the CV-22 Osprey.

The squadron, originated in 1917, was based at Hurlburt Field from March 1974 until its move to Duke Field in 2000.
Airmen gathered at Freedom Hangar Thursday morning to witness the ceremony that re-established its place on Hurlburt Field. Following the ceremony, the Combat Talon I took its final active-duty flight. The plane will continue to be flown by the Air Force Reserves.

A ceremonial passing of the flag took place to signify the historical transition from the last flight of the Combat Talon I to the home of the 8th SOS squadron flying the CV-22.

The hand-off of the 8th SOS guidon went from the 16th Special Operations Wing Commander Col. Norman Brozenick Jr. to 16th Operations Group Commander, Col. Mark Alsid to 8th SOS Commander Lt. Col. Theodore Corallo to Senior Master Sgt. Raymond Marston to complete the transition home.

"As we say good-bye to the Talon I and prepare for the arrival of the CV-22 in November of this year, the traditions of the 8th SOS will carry on," Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley, Air Force Special Operations Command commander said at the ceremony Thursday.

The squadron will be Air Force Special Operations Command's first operational CV-22 Osprey squadron.

"It's very exciting," said Colonel Corallo about flying the CV-22. "We have a lot to look forward to. This unit (8th SOS) has always performed tremendously and we will continue to do so."

The guest speaker for the active-duty Combat Talon I Farewell dinner Wednesday evening was Gen. Norton Schwartz, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command and the highest ranking Talon "crew dawg".
"This is a reunion of a team who is devoted to mission and precision, who few outside of special operations know," said General Schwartz.

"This past year, the 8th SOS and the Talon have simultaneously supported operations in South America and Afghanistan. They're al-ways poised to execute missions anytime, anywhere, helping make the world a better place by defending the innocent."