Lineage. Established as Twenty-Third Air Force on 10 Feb 1983. Activated on 1 Mar 1983. Redesignated Air Force Special Operations Command, with status of Major Command, on 22 May 1990.
Assignments. Military Airlift Command, 1 Mar 1983; United States Air Force, 22 May 1990-.
Components. Forces. Air Forces Special Operations (later, 623 Air and Space Operations Center): 13 Dec 2005-1 Jan 2008. Twenty-Third Air (Air Forces Special Operations Forces): 1 Jan 2008-. Division. 2 Air: 1 Mar 1983-1 Feb 1987. Service. Aerospace Rescue and Recovery: 1 Mar 1983-1 Aug 1989. Wings. 1 Special Operations (later, 16 Special Operations; 1 Special Operations): 1 Feb 1987-. 27 Special Operations: 1 Oct 2007-. 39 Aerospace Rescue & Recovery (later, 39 Special Operations; 352 Special Operations Group): 1 Oct 1983-. 41 Rescue & Weather Reconnaissance: 1 Oct 1983-1 Aug 1989. 347 Rescue: 1 Oct 2003-3 Apr 2006. 353 Special Operations (later, 353 Special Operations Group): 6 Apr 1989-. 375 Aeromedical Airlift: 1 Jan 1984-1 Feb 1990. 1550 Aircrew Training and Test (later, 1550 Combat Crew Training): 1 Oct 1983-21 May 1990. Center. Special Missions Operational Test & Evaluation: 22 May 1990-1 Apr 1994. Group. 720 Special Tactics: 1 Oct 1987-. Squadron. 18 Flight Test: 1 Apr 1994-1 Jan 2008. School. USAF Special Operations, 1 Feb 1987-.
Stations. Scott AFB, IL, 1 Mar 1983; Eglin AF Aux Fld #9 (Hurlburt Field), FL, 15 Aug 1987-.
Commanders. Maj Gen William J. Mall Jr., 1 Mar 1983; Maj Gen Robert B. Patterson, 20 Sep 1985; Maj Gen Thomas E. Eggers, 7 Sep 1989; Maj Gen Bruce L. Fister, 20 Jun 1991; Maj Gen James L Hobson Jr., 22 Jul 1994; Maj Gen Charles R. Holland, 9 Jul 1997; Lt Gen Maxwell C. Bailey, 5 Aug 1999; Lt Gen Paul V. Hester, 16 Jan 2002; Lt Gen Michael W. Wooley, 1 Jul 2004; Lt Gen Donald C. Wurster, 27 Nov 2007-.
Operations. Activated as Twenty-Third Air Force to serve as a focal point within the Military Airlift Command (MAC) for integrating dedicated special operations forces, Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service forces, and other MAC forces to support national objectives. Its management responsibilities encompassed all aspects of U.S. Air Force special operations, including unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, psychological operations, combat rescue, missile site support, and weather reconnaissance. In May of 1990, Twenty-Third Air Force was Redesignated Air Force Special Operations Command and gained Major Command status. From 1990, participated in every contingency operation conducted in the Global War on Terror. In Jun 1993, participated in joint operations in Mogodishu, Somalia in which three individuals earned medals (one Air Force Cross and two Silver Stars) for their outstanding performance in combat. In Jul 1994, dropped supplies and equipment to refugees in Rwanda in operation Support Hope. Performed search and rescue operations Apr 1996 for T-43 carrying US Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown after the airplane carrying him and about 30 other people crashed in Bosnia. Together with special operations forces from the Army, Navy, and Marines, participated as the Air Force representative in all joint special operations missions, using both aerial and ground forces, these included combat operations and combat search and rescue operations, along with unconventional warfare, and psychological operations in Bosnia/Herzegovina, Kosovo, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan from 1990s to present. In Aug-Sep 2005, performed search and rescue in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In Apr 2006 transferred combat search and rescue operations to Air Combat Command in order to focus more on special operations.
Service Streamers. None.
Campaign Streamers. None.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.
Decorations. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award: 1 Jan 1985-31 Dec 1986; Air Force Organizational Excellence Awards: 1 Jan 1991-31 Dec 1992; 1 Jan 1993-31 Dec 1994; 1 Jan 1995-31 Dec 1996; 1 Jan 1997-31 Dec 1998; 1 Jan 1999-31 Dec 2000; 1 Jan 2001-31 Dec 2002; 1 Jan 2003-31 Dec 2004; 1 Jan 2006-31 Dec 2007.
Lineage, Assignments, Components, Stations, and Honors through 22 Oct 2010.
Commanders, Aircraft, and Operations through Oct 2010.
Emblem. Approved on c. 4 May 1990.
Prepared by Carl E. Bailey.
Reviewed by Daniel L. Haulman.