AFSOC’s Big Training Tent

Air Force Special Operations Command has consolidated all of its training units under the Air Force Special Operations Training Center, a new organization that formally stood up Oct. 6 at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The AFSOTC will be responsible for all mission qualification training of operators of AFSOC’s gunships, Combat Talon airlifters, PC-12 light transports, U-28 special transports, unmanned aerial vehicles, and nonstandard aviation, Col. Paul Harmon, the center’s commander told the Daily Report during an interview Oct. 10. (Some Air Force Reserve Command airmen already transferred to Hurlburt to augment AFSOTC.) The center, he said, will also be in charge of training the command’s combat aviation advisers and special tactics airmen. Planning for the center began about a year ago under then-AFSOC commander and now-retired Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley, who felt that it would be far more efficient to consolidate the command’s training activities in one place and relieve demands on operational squadrons. AFSOC has had to increase the number of dedicated training personnel to meet the high demand for special operations capabilities, including the explosive growth of new capabilities (e.g., U-28 and PC-12 fleets and combat aviation advising), Harmon explained. “The wing commanders have a lot of stuff on their plate,” he said. But now, with AFSOTC up and running, they are able to focus on the war. The center consolidates about $50 million in operations and maintenance funds that were spread across US Special Operations Command and Air Force budgets, and puts Harmon in charge of recruiting, assessing, selecting, and training AFSOC forces. The center is scheduled to be fully operational in Fiscal 2012.