Fly Fight and Win: A Spectre's Perspective
By Lt. Col. Sean Farrell, 16th SOS commander and air commando
/ Published June 16, 2009
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
"Fly, Fight and Win." This wing Aim point is thought of by most as describing the pointy end of the dagger, the ops guys executing the mission.
I think it better describes a team coming together to accomplish a no fail mission. A mission that is essential to our national security.
Both the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the First Special Operations Wing commander have said that an individual's relevancy and importance to the Air Force and to this wing is not directly proportional to their proximity to the fight. Those words could not hold a truer meaning than to the men and women of Hurlburt Field.
The mighty 1 SOW has demonstrated time and again its combat power and expertise in the art of special operations employment. Whether it is the airdrops of Panama, the opening salvos of Desert Storm (led by the determined courage of Pave Low crews), or the close air support of special operations forces by gunships in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, our wing has demonstrated excellence at all times.
Those culminating events, now part of Air Commando history, were really the result of thousands of man hours by all the members of this wing across every job duty represented at Hurlburt Field.
From my vantage point as an Operations Group squadron commander, I have witnessed our wing transform and grow to meet the demands of our ongoing struggle against terrorism.
The stand up of our light aircraft units as well as the integration of unique airframes such as the CV-22 in such a short time has been nothing less than breathtaking in the speed and impact to the current fight.
In addition, the 6th SOS has grown to meet the needs of irregular warfare before the Air Force or the Department of Defense fully recognized its value. In addition, the performance of our light aircraft is already legendary in the SOF community.
These are but two examples of how the 1 SOW has risen to meet the challenges of our current environment. This transformation was not accomplished by the operations squadrons alone. The support function delivered by the Operations Support Squadron is essential in providing critical medical, intelligence, weather, and communication support.
The contracting squadron has been working full time to meet our burgeoning requirements. The Airman and Family Readiness Center supports our loved ones through numerous deployments. The Chaplain staff has been on the flight line and in crew briefings wherever we find ourselves. The maintenance group has been stretched to the limits providing the technical expertise to "keep 'em flying."
I don't have the room to mention every unit here, but you can bet that in our constrained budgetary environment...if you have a job, it's important.
The 16th SOS has enjoyed over 30 years as part of the flying wings here at Hurlburt Field. Long before the wing Aim point, "Fly, Fight and Win," Spectre was excelling at all three--through multiple contingency operations around the globe.
However, the culminating action of live rounds coming down on our nation's enemies was the result of an entire wing organization supporting us. From the chow hall to finance, to the maintainers signing over the aircraft to the crew, it has always been a team effort.
Our squadron has deemed no task too hard, but when AFSOC directed the standup of a
second wing in New Mexico and delineated our role as part of the formation of the 27th SOW, we Spectres had to take a deep breath. As Maggie Thatcher said famously as Prime Minister of Great Britain, "Don't go wobbly on us..."
Our task of moving a squadron while continuing our warfighting mission has not been easy, but it would have been impossible without the support of the entire 1 SOW.
For instance, the First Special Operations Force Support Squadron has been there cutting orders, adjusting report no later than dates, and setting up household goods pick-up dates for the Airmen in the unit.
The housing office, working in concert with the Airmen and Family Readiness Center, has provided excellent support to those trying to find living quarters in our new location.
The maintainers have split their effort and experience into three operational locations.
The medical group has been working with our exceptional families ensuring our dependents get the quality care they deserve.
All these actions have allowed our unit to stay in the fight as we carry out the move directed by our command.
This commentary is more than just an exercise in pointing out your relevancy to the war effort.
This is a thank you from the men and women of the 16th SOS, for without the outstanding support of the entire wing organization, our move to Cannon AFB would have failed before we had even got out of the chocks.
The success of every organization within this amazing wing rests on the efforts of all the Air Commandos working interdependently towards the same goal.
As I make my way around the flight line each morning from the back gate I enjoy watching the Air Commandos of the 1 SOW on the jogging path getting their PT on! I see teammates. I see professionals. I see an organization that proudly can say without any reservation that our job is to "Fly, Fight and Win!"
From the 16th SOS, thank you and good luck in your future endeavors..."Any Time, Any Place".