353rd Special Operations Group
Published September 18, 2015
The 353d Special Operations Group is an integral part of the Air Force Special Operations Command and is home-based at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The group is comprised of more than 800 Airmen and is the only Air Force Special Operations unit in the Pacific.
The 353d Special Operations Group is the focal point for special operations aviation activities throughout the Pacific. Under operational control of the commander, Special Operations Command Pacific, the 353 SOG plans and executes general war and contingency operations using advanced aircraft, tactics and techniques to infiltrate, exfiltrate, resupply and support special operations forces.
Its mission is to provide combat ready, responsive, specialized airpower and enablers to execute the full spectrum of the SOF mission. It maintains a worldwide mobility commitment, participates in Pacific theater exercises as directed and supports humanitarian and relief operations.
Additionally, the group develops wartime and contingency plans, which effectively use the full range of fixed wing capabilities, to include the infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of U.S. and allied special operations forces.
The primary peacetime responsibility of the 353 SOG is to oversee the training and maintenance of its assigned units. The group ensures the combat readiness of these units through comprehensive involvement in numerous theater and Joint Chiefs of Staff -directed military exercises and training activities throughout the Pacific.
The 353 SOG comprises the U.S. Air Force's special operations air arm of the Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), a subunified command to the U.S. Pacific Command.
The group is comprised of five squadrons:
The 1st Special Operations Squadron operates the MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft in support of joint and allied special operations forces. This aircraft is capable of delivering troops and equipment into denied areas during adverse weather conditions at night by airdrop or landing. Aircrews are specially trained in night, low-level flying using night vision goggles.
The 17th Special Operations Squadron flies the MC-130J Commando II. The Commando II flies clandestine, or low visibility, single or multiship, low-level air refueling missions for special operations helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, and infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces by airdrop or airland intruding politically sensitive or hostile territories. The MC-130J primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats.
The 320th Special Tactics Squadron consists of Combat Controllers, Pararescuemen, Combat Weather personnel and Survival Resistance and Escape specialists. Enabled by deployed- ready combat support personnel, these Special Tactics operators can rapidly infiltrate into austere or hostile areas to enable airpower success in support of contingency operations.
The 353d Special Operations Support Squadron contains and operates the logistics and operations planning support functions for the entire group. The squadron maintains all of the communications assets assigned to the 353d SOG. The squadron also contains the intelligence function for the group. In contingency operations and wartime actions, the SOSS becomes the group commander’s combat staff.
The 353d Special Operations Maintenance Squadron provides full spectrum logistics support for the 353 SOG. The squadron's unique composition of airmen provides flexible combat support capability to execute dynamic mission sets associated with small fleet dynamics and special operations aircraft demands.
Point of Contact
353d Special Operations Group, Public Affairs Office; Unit 5249 Box 10 APO AP 96368; DSN (314) 634-6177 or Comm 011-81-611-6177.
(Current as of September 18, 2015)