C-145As take final flight at Cannon AFB, relocate to Duke Field
By Senior Airman Alexxis Pons Abascal, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 01, 2013
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- As day broke to the east, crew members with the 318th Special Operations Squadron made preparations for the final two C-145As to depart the flightline for the last time at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 28.
The squadron's C-145A aircraft will continue its mission under the vision and leadership of the 6th Special Operations Squadron at Duke Field, Fla.
Originally activated May 1, 1944 as the 318th Troop Carrier Squadron at Camp Mackall, N.C., the squadron actively participated in the southwest pacific theater during World War II. The squadron was inactivated March 25, 1946 and reactivated November 15, 1971 at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., as the 318th Special Operations Squadron.
"A handful of C-145 personnel have already relocated to Duke Field after being selected to join the 6th SOS," said Capt. Scott Whitmore, 318th SOS executive officer. "Our crew members are sad to see these planes go, but with that comes an eagerness to see what new opportunities will be available in Air Force Special Operations Command."
Serving under the 1st Special Operations Wing, the 318th SOS provided unconventional warfare capabilities in Vietnam until it was again inactivated, June 1, 1974. On July 27, 2007, Hurlburt Field, Fla., reactivated the squadron once more and relocated aircrew members to Cannon. The squadron was officially re-designated as the 318th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon, May 16, 2008.
Under the 27th Special Operations Wing, the 318th SOS executed global mobility missions for AFSOC. The squadron utilized skilled Air Commandos and the C-145A, also known as the M-28 Skytruck, to enable special operations airlift support worldwide.
Non-Standard Aviation augments AFSOC operations by providing rapid mobility and transportation of Special Operations Forces in global theaters.
"The C-145A executed its first deployment on March 7, 2011 as a flight of three C-145As departed from Cannon to Afghanistan in support of village stability operations," said Capt. Christopher Sutton, 318th SOS pilot. "Three months after returning aircraft from Afghanistan, the C-145A crews assumed new mobility responsibilities and worked diligently to stand up a new site in Africa. The airdrop capability of the C-145A was a benchmark for combined operations in eastern Africa, allowing SOF teams to operate in isolated, forward-deployed locations."
The C-145A flew missions in support of two theater special operations commands in Africa and Afghanistan. The C-145A provides precision combat airdrop and short takeoff and landing capability to landing zones with minimal support.
Aircrew members with the C-145A operate in sensitive areas, providing efficient movement of the nation's elite SOF troops. The aircraft are routinely used to enable flights in austere, semi-prepared airfields.
While the C-145As are leaving Cannon, the 318th SOS will continue operation of PC-12 Pilatus aircraft at the 27th SOW.
"Our crews wanted to make this transition with the aircraft to the 6th SOS and are excited overall about the changes coming to the C-145As," Whitmore added. "The mission of the 6th SOS is unique and will provide new areas for growth."