USAAF/USAF Air Commando and Special Operations units from WWII to 2002

59 Years of Commando Service





World War II Air Commando Units

1st Air Commando Group, China-Burma-India

Formed as a Fighter, Bomber, Transport and Light Plane and in late 1944 organized as follows:

5th and 6th Fighter Squadrons.

164th Liaison Squadron activated 1 Sept 1944 and inactivated 3 Nov 1945.

165th Liaison Squadron, activated 1 Sept 1944 and inactivated 3 Nov 1945

166th Liaison Squadron, activated 1 Sept 1944 and inactivated 3 Nov 1945

319th Troop Carrier Squadron


2nd Air Commando Group, China-Burma-India, activated 25 April 1944

1st and 2nd Fighter Squadrons.

127th, 155th and 156th Liaison Squadrons.

317th Troop Carrier Squadron activated 1 May 1944 and inactivated 28Feb 1946.

327th, 328th, 340th and 342nd Airdrome Squadrons.

236th Medical Dispensary.


3rd Air Commando Group, Southwest Pacific

3rd Fighter Squadron activated April 1944 and inactivated Feb 1946.

4th fighter Squadron activated 1 May 1944 and inactivated Feb 1946.

157th Liaison Squadron activated 23 Feb 1944 and inactivated?

159th Liaison Squadron activated 1 Mar 1944 and inactivated 31 May 1946.

160th Liaison Squadron activated Mar 1944 and inactivated Dec 1945.

318th Troop Carrier Squadron activated 1 May 1944 and inactivated 25 Mar 1946.

334th Airdrome Squadron activated 1 May 1944 and inactivated 8 Nov 1945.

335th Airdrome Squadron activated 1 May 1944 and inactivated Feb 1946.

341st Airdrome Squadron activated 31 May 1944 and inactivated Sept 1945.

343rd Airdrome Squadron activated 1 May 1944 and inactivated 29 Oct 1945.

237th Medical Dispensary activated 15 Mar 1944 and inactivated 31 Dec 1945




Air Commando and Special Operations aircraft used at major bases during the Vietnam War


Republic of Vietnam (RVN)

Base                 Unit                              Aircraft/Call Sign                                  Tail Code

Bien Hoa          8 AS/3 TFW                A-37B                                                 CF

                        90 AS/14 SOW           A-37B                                                 CG

                        604 SOS/3 TFW         A-37A/B                                              CK

                        8 SOS/14 SOW           A-37B                                                 EK

                        FS©/3 TFW                F-5A                                                    None-transferred its 18 aircraft to 522nd FS,                                                                                                                        VNAF, 17 Apr 1967

                        12 ACS/315 ACW      UC-123B/K Ranch Hand


Da Nang          Det 1/1 SOW               C-123K, U-10A/B                              AA

                        311 ACS/315 ACW    C-123B/K to 315 TAW Jan 1970        WV


Nha Trang        17 SOS/14 SOW         AC-119G Shadow                               EF

                        5 SOS/14 SOW           C-47D, U-10B/D                                 EO

                        9 SOS/14 SOW           C-47, O-2B                                         ER

                        15 SOS/14 SOW         MC-130                                              Deleted

                        1st Flt Det SOG            C-123                                                  Deleted

                        20 SOS/14 SOW         CH-3, UH-1                                        Deleted

                        310 ACS/315 ACW    C-123B/K to 315TAW Jan 1970         WM


Pleiku               1 ACS/14 ACW          A-1E/G                                                EC

                        3 SOS/14 SOW           AC-47 Spooky                                   EL

                        4 SOS/14 SOW           AC-47 Spooky                                    EN                                                      

                        6 SOS/633 SOW         A-1E/H Spads                                     ET


Tan Son Nhut   19ACS/315 ACW       C-123B/K to 315 TAW Jan 1970        WE

(Saigon)           309 ACS/315 ACW    C-123B/K to 315 TAW Jan 1970        WH




NKP                18 SOS/14 SOW         AC-119K Stinger                                 EH

                        609 SOS/56 SOW       A-26A Nimrods                                   TA

                        1 SOS/56 SOW           A-1E/G/H/J Hobos                              TC

                        606 SOS/56 SOW       C-123K Candle                                   TO

                                                            T-28D Zorro

                        22 SOS/56 SOW         A-1W/G/H/J Zorro                              TS

                        21 SOS/14 SOW         CH-3


Ubon                16 SOS/8 TFW           AC-130A Spectre                                EA

                        16 SOS/8 TFW           AC-130A/E Spectre                            FT

                        16 SOS/8 TFW           AC-130H                                            WP


Udorn              4 SOS/432 TRW         AC-47D 1969-1970                            OS



Howard AFB   24 SOS/24 ACW        A-37, UH-1N                                      HW

(Canal Zone)



United States


Barksdale AFB, LA


England AFB, LA


Grissom AFB, IN


Hurlburt Vield, FL


Lockbourne AFB,  OH


Luke AFB, AZ


Otis AFB, MA


Pease AFB, NH


Pope AFB, NC


Shaw AFB, SC


Youngstown, OH



USAF Special Operations Units January 2002



16th SOW Hurlburt Field, Florida

4th SOS ‘Ghostriders’               AC-130U

6th SOS ‘Commandos’ UH-1N, CASA 212-200

8th SOS ‘Blackbirds                 MC-130E, C-130E

16th SOS ‘Spectre’                  AC-130H

20th SOS ‘Green Hornets’        MH-53J, NCH-53A

9th SOS ‘Night Wings’ MC-130P Eglin AFB, Florida


58th Special Operations Wing (Training Unit), Kirtland AFB, New Mexico

512th RQS ‘Jolly’                     HH-60G, UH-1N

550th SOS ‘Wolf Pack’            MC-130H/N/P

551st SOS ‘Black Knights’       MH-53J


919th SOW, AFRC Duke Field, Florida

711th SOS                                MC-130E, C-130E

5th SOS                                    MC-130P, Eglin AFB, Florida


352nd SOG RAF Mildenhall, England

7th SOS Aircommandos’          MC-130H

21st  SOS ‘Dust Devils’            MH-53M

67th SOS ‘Night Owls’ MC-1`30P


353rd SOG Kadena AB, Japan

1st SOS                                    MC-130H, C-130E

17th SOS                                  MC-130P

31st SOS ‘Black Knights’         MH-53M, Osan AFB, ROK



Sources for these are as follows:

AF Magazine