HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
The Air Commando Association hosted a convention from Dec. 7-9 at Hurlburt Field, honoring Air Commandos from Air Force Special Operations Command.
Five AFSOC Airmen were inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame at the awards banquet on Dec. 7.
The Air Commando Hall of Fame recognizes service members who made significant contributions to the readiness of AFSOC’s mission, served honorably and were assigned to AFSOC for no less than three years.
“One of the greatest services the Air Commando Association provides all Air Commandos is selecting an elite few for induction into the Air Commando Hall of Fame,” said retired Col. Dennis Barnett, Air Commando Association president. “Individuals selected for this prestigious honor have served and contributed in an outstanding manner both on and after active duty.”
Retired Col. William Andersen served AFSOC throughout his 24-year career. Andersen led the streamlining of separate AFSOC units into one training enterprise, ultimately called the 492nd Special Operations Wing.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Tom Baker dedicated 28 years of service to AFSOC. Baker’s career involved service as AFSOC’s career enlisted aviator function manager, A3 (operations directorate) chief enlisted manager and 23rd Air Force chief enlisted manager. Baker mastered the specialized mission qualifications associated with the MC-130 Combat Talon.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Green served AFSOC for 25 years. Green wrote the special duty assignment pay package, which provided increased benefits for AFSOC enlisted aircrew.
Retired Col. Mark Race served AFSOC throughout his 30-year military career. Race worked relationships with Joint Special Operations Command, United States Special Operations Command, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to guarantee special operators have the most current technology.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. John Varner served AFSOC for over 36 years. Varner impacted AFSOC’s newest weapon system, the AC-130U Spooky, as the logistics test superintendent. Varner’s efforts achieved first flight for the platform, first live fire for the 25-millimeter gun, and on-time delivery of the first production aircraft to Hurlburt Field. The AC-130U is a $1.2 billlion acquisition program.
In addition to Hall of Fame inductions, the ACA hosted a heritage seminar breakfast and announced the following ACA Commander’s Leadership Award recipients:
Capt. Nicholas Albert 524th Special Operations Squadron
Capt. Anthony Belviso 7th Special Operations Squadron
Capt. Geoffrey Barnes 33rd Special Operations Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Jason Chase 919th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Kevin Connell 16th Special Operations Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Cesar Fernandez 901st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Master Sgt. Michael Guarino 24th Special Tactics Training Squadron
Capt. Sarah Hartenstein Geographically Separated Unit
Capt. Erin Howell 73rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit
Tech. Sgt. Aaron Jackson 18th Flight Test Squadron
Capt. Benjamin Larsen Detachment 1, 58th Operations Group
Capt. Casey Mathews 353rd Special Operations Group
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Mills 352nd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Moody 71st Special Operations Squadron
Senior Airman Michael Orozco 17th Special Operations Squadron
Capt. Kyle Oestreich 24th Special Tactics Training Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Ronald Wheeler Geographically Separated Unit