352nd SOW, two groups activate at RAF Mildenhall
By Tech Sgt. Stacia Zachary, 352nd Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 23, 2015
RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The 352nd Special Operations Group was redesignated as the 352nd Special Operations Wing during a ceremony held in Hangar 814 March 23. Immediately following this, the 752nd Special Operations Group and the 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Group were activated.
Consisting of six squadrons and two groups, the 352nd SOW includes more than 1,200 Air Commandos and provides support to the European theater as well as other combatant commands when necessary.
“We not only support Special Operations Command – Europe, but we will also support Special Operations Command – Africa, to combat the challenges we see and the struggles we have against violent extremism. And that is not going away anytime soon,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brad Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command.
The request for the redesignation was made to reflect the increased responsibilities and capabilities of the units, people and assets – a tradition carried on by today’s Air Commandos.
“To the men and women of the 352nd Special Operations Wing – congratulations,” said U.S. Air Force Col. William Holt, 352nd SOW and Joint Special Operations Air Component – Europe commander. “Seventy-one years ago, the 2nd Air Commando Group was formed with a singular task: be one-fourth the size of comparable units, yet bring twice the capability. That is your lineage and that is how we will move into the future.”
The 752nd SOG, commanded by U.S. Air Force Col. Nathan C. Green, is responsible for planning and executing specialized and contingency operations using advanced aircraft, tactics and air refueling techniques to infiltrate, exfiltrate and resupply special operations forces.
“The (752nd SOG is) a busy place and it is only getting busier. We currently have planes, crews, maintenance, support personnel and battlefield personnel all over Europe, Africa and the Central Command theaters,” Green said. “We have people forward right now, this very minute, in harm’s way and several others on alert for whatever needs to be done, whatever call comes next. We are ready; you are ready.”
The 352nd SOMXG, commanded by U.S. Air Force Col. Eric V. Faison, provides all organizational maintenance on MC-130J Commando II and CV-22B Osprey aircraft assigned to the group's two special operations flying squadrons. The 352nd SOMXG also provides management for the group's engine and equipment inventories.
“I’m excited, yet humbled, to be given the opportunity to lead this remarkable team of maintenance professionals; men and women who maintain two of this nation’s newest and highly-demanded weapon systems in the defense of our nation,” Faison said. “Never forget that, when all is said and done, the power of the Air Force is in our people, not our platforms. It is the total force team here at RAF Mildenhall that fulfills the purpose and the promise of our Air Force.”
The 352nd SOW’s mission will continue with its current purpose: to provide combat ready forces, first and foremost.
“In the past year, you’ve increased your aircraft by 40 percent and personnel by 200,” Holt said. “We will continue to build our new CV-22 and MC-130J capabilities and training. We will work closely to develop and strengthen new and enduring relationships with our partners across Europe. And we will maintain a sharp and constant focus on safety and mission accomplishment. Europe’s Air Commandos will prove the motto of ‘Mission First, People Always.’”
The 352nd SOW is comprised of the 67th Special Operations Squadron flying the MC-130J Commando II; the 7th Special Operations Squadron flying the CV-22B Osprey; the 321st Special Tactics Squadron composed of combat controllers, pararescumen and combat weathermen; and the 352nd Special Operations Support Squadron which provides in-garrison and deployed command and control support as well as the two maintenance squadrons, the 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron and the 352nd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.