DUKE FIELD, Fla. --
Former 919th Special Operations Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Jon Weeks
, assumed command of the newly created Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center at a ceremony here, Feb. 11.
"I'm honored, excited and humbled as well to accept the honor of command in this new chapter in the history of Air Force Special Operations Command
," said Weeks, who accepts his third special operations command. "Through our total force integration efforts, we can make this a model for the Air Force."
The AFSOAWC will combine the efforts of units across AFSOC
that work with doctrine development, education, training and execution of the command's irregular warfare capabilities. This new center will organize, train, educate, and equip forces to conduct special operations missions; lead major command irregular warfare activities; execute special operations test and evaluation and lessons learned programs; and develop doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures for Air Force special operations forces.
"This is the most significant day I've had in the last 18 months," said Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, the AFSOC commander
. "Not only because we're standing up this new center, but to reintroduce the 919th SOW. They've been supporting AFSOC for 32 years in various missions and throughout every conflict."
Duke Field was chosen due to the classic maintenance association between its reserve and active-duty components. The SOF advantages offered by an association with the 919th SOW were also a key consideration is the decision. Duke's proximity to AFSOC headquarters and pre-existing infrastructure made it a timely and logical choice, according to AFSOC public affairs.
Duke's already strong relationship with AFSOC will only increase as reserve Airmen are incorporated into AFSOAWC. More than 260 active-duty and 370 reserve Airmen will be involved in the new center. AFSOC's confidence in the reserve force is apparent with their selection of a reservist as its first leader.
"Jon Weeks is the right leader to take on this new task," said Fiel. "He has the ability to lead and to unite our collective strengths. His knowledge of both the Air Force reserve and the special operations mission is critical in this new integrated force endeavor."
This stand-up is a large step in the 919th SOW's remissioning from the MC-130 Combat Talon I to the new aviation foreign internal defense aircraft, the C-145 Skytruck. The last of the Talons will exit the base by 2015. The Skytrucks are scheduled to arrive in fiscal-year 2013.
The AFSOAWC Mission has four distinct areas:
Develop doctrine, tactics, techniques and equipment for Air Force and special air warfare forces in the air aspects of counterinsurgency, unconventional warfare, and psychological operations
Train and equip forces in strike, reconnaissance, and airlift roles of irregular warfare while maintaining a capability to deploy rapid-reaction, combat-ready forces to meet contingencies anywhere in the world
Military training teams train indigenous air forces in overseas areas
When needed, provide advice and assistance in the preparation and execution of military assistance plans and programs
Air support of the US Army Special Forces