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AFSOC Airmen inducted into Air Commando Hall of Fame

Multiple people attending a banquet.

The Air Commando Association holds an awards banquet during the ACA convention at The Island Hotel in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Dec. 7, 2018. During the banquet, five retired AFSOC Airmen were inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame for making significant contributions to the readiness of AFSOC’s mission. (Courtesy photo)

Five people in a group photo

Five retired Air Force Special Operations Command Airmen were inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame during the Air Commando Association Convention at The Island Hotel in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Dec. 7, 2018. Retired Col. William Andersen, Col. Mark Race, Chief Master Sgt. Tom Baker, Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Green and Chief Master Sgt. John Varner received the induction for making significant contributions to the readiness of AFSOC’s mission. (Courtesy photo)

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