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SECAF visits Hurlburt for AFSOC mission immersion

  • Published
  • By Maggie Nave
  • Air Force Special Operations Command

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Hurlburt Field May 2-4 for her Air Force Special Operations Command mission immersion.

Wilson met with Air Commandos, and toured facilities and assets to get a better understanding of the strategic value AFSOC delivers on the high and low end of the conflict spectrum.

The secretary flew with a Joint Assault Force of Special Tactics operators from the 24th Special Operations Wing and soldiers from the 7th Special Forces Group to the Eglin Range via CV-22 Osprey where she participated in a Close Air Support (CAS) demonstration, and observed a personnel recovery exercise.

“It was a great day, it was a fun day, but you also gave me an opportunity to reflect,” said Wilson. “What I saw was competence, at a level that few Americans can even understand.”

The SOF Airmen and soldiers demonstrated their Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, mobility and CAS capabilities and Wilson called in a strike mission featuring an AC-130U Gunship, F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 96th Test Wing and F-35 Lightning IIs from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.

Her immersion into the AFSOC culture allowed her to see what it truly means to be a quiet professional.

“I saw the kind of humility that usually only comes with exceptional competence,” said Wilson. “You don’t have anything to prove, because you are who you are. It was pretty remarkable to see.”

The visit highlighted the special skills and unique capabilities of Air Commandos with an emphasis on the command’s progress with innovation and the link with the new National Defense Strategy.

“You all expand the competitive space, and those words are from the National Defense Strategy,” said Wilson. “You give us capabilities by working with your joint team members that we have nowhere else in the nation. For the first time in our National Defense Strategy, we are called upon to deepen our alliances and partnerships.”

This is Wilson’s second visit to Hurlburt Field, the first coming when she presented Staff Sgt. Richard Hunter with the Air Force Cross Medal.

“There are good days and there are not so good days in this job,” she said. “I wanted to thank everyone of you for everything you do, and everything you did for me yesterday. In almost 365- days in this job, in the top 10 of days, two of them were at Hurlburt Field.”