New wing commander leads Special Tactics Airmen
By 1st Lt Katrina Cheesman, 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 25, 2014
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
Colonel Matthew Davidson took command of the 24th Special Operations Wing during an assumption of command ceremony here Sept. 19.
Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presided over the ceremony, in which Davidson, former Chief of Staff at Special Operations Command Central Forward Headquarters, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, took charge of the wing led by the former commander, Brig. Gen. Robert Armfield.
Davidson is responsible for preparing Special Tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success and leads more than 1,500 assigned Special Tactics Airmen and combat support personnel encompassing 58 Air Force specialties.
“Every Airman that shares the honor of wearing the feet and lightning bolt of Special Tactics is afforded a tremendous legacy created by our predecessors,” Davidson said after accepting the guidon, representing his assumption of command. “But we must do so with the full recognition that our reputation is a result of our last mission; yet our worth, our value is judged by our next mission.”
The 24th SOW is U.S. Special Operations Command's tactical air and ground integration force, and the Air Force's special operations ground force to enable global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.
The wing has two operational groups, a training squadron and 16 special operations recruiting liaison operating locations. Altogether, the wing has elements in 29 locations, with Airmen deployed to more than 73 locations.
The 24th SOW is the most decorated unit in the U.S. Air Force since the Vietnam War. Davidson was quick to add the Airmen within the 24th SOW are also the most decorated group of Airmen for heroism and gallantry since Vietnam.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Special Tactics Airmen have seven Air Force Crosses, 31 Silver Stars, 105 Purple Hearts, as well as 60 current wounded warrior and combat training related cases and 17 fallen heroes.
“I have learned that Special Tactics Airmen will fight as long as there is an enemy in front of them, a family behind them, and at least one breath of life left in them,” Davidson said of the Airmen he leads. “I am honored to re-join their ranks.”
An assumption of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit to a commanding officer.