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5th Special Operations Squadron

Photo of U28A

Photo of U28A

5th SoS

5th SoS

Information for interested personnel: The 5th Special Operations Squadron is currently recruiting pilots, navigators, loadmasters and flight engineers to fill jobs at Hurlburt Field. For more information, please call (850) 881-5899, (850) 881-2450 or (850) 885-6080.

The 5th Special Operations Squadron provides an instructor cadre for the Air Force Special Operations Training Center's U-28A and Combat Aviation Advisor programs. It also provides intratheater support to Special Operations Forces worldwide in support of National Command Authorities taskings.

The 5th SOS at Hurlburt Field, Florida, is a Total Force Integration unit whose members participate in the Active Duty mission of the Air Force Special Operations Training Center at Hurlburt. While 5th SOS members perform duty at Hurlburt as part of AFSOTC, the squadron administratively falls under the 919th Special Operations Wing, a USAF Reserve unit headquartered at Duke Field, Fla.

The 5th SOS traces its history back to 1944 and the 5th Combat Cargo Squadron. During World War II, the 5th saw extensive combat action in the Asiatic-Pacific theater.

It was also involved in the air offensive against Japan. During this time it operated the C-46 and C-47 type aircraft. Inactivated after World War II, it was reactivated in 1965 as the 5th Air Commando Squadron at Nha Trang Air Base, South Vietnam. The 5th ACS conducted psychological operations by means of loudspeaker broadcasts and leaflet dissemination; transported psyops printed matter and personnel; and supported related civic actions, humanitarian programs, and other SOF activities.

The 5th ACS was renamed a Special Operations Squadron in 1968 and operated C-47 and U-10 aircraft in these missions until 1969, at which time it was inactivated. On 7 January 1995, the 5th SOS reactivated in the Air Force Reserve at Duke Field, Florida and was assigned the MC-130P Combat Shadow mission.

Veteran reservists from the 711th SOS, assisted by a small corps of active duty advisors, stood the squadron up, converted to a new weapon system, declared Initial Operating Capability (IOC) status, deployed to Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR twice, and completed its first deployed Operational Readiness Exercise within 24 months of standup. In the last two decades, the 5th SOS has been recognized as one of the top squadrons by both AFSOC and AFRC.

The 5th SOS awards include: the 1996 Florida Reserve Officers Association Flying Squadron of the Year; the 1996, 1997 and 2002 Air Force Reserve Command's Grover Loening Trophy for top flying squadron of the year; and the 1998 AFSOC IG's recognition as "best of 8 flying units in the 16th SOW." In 1999, the 5th SOS became AFSOC's first Reserve-Associate flying unit.

In September 2001, the 5th SOS was mobilized and flew numerous combat sorties in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. In 2006, after receiving an excellent rating in its Operational Readiness Inspection, the squadron volunteered and relieved the 9th SOS by deploying to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. In November, 2007, the squadron began a transition to the U-28A Draco and Combat Aviation Advisor (CAA) missions, and in May, 2008 flew its last Combat Shadow mission. It has since flown over 17,000 hours in the PC-12/U-28A, including 8,500 combat hours on more than 1700 combat sorties.

Since March, 2008 the squadron has been and will remain continuously deployed, and its instructors have taught more than 766 PC-12/U-28A and 100 CAA students.