Publisher: Norm Brozenick
Editor: Paul Harmon
Managing Editor: Rick Newton
Senior Editor: Scott McIntosh
Contributing Editor: Ron Dains
Contributing Editor: Matt Durham
Contributing Editor: Joel Higley
Contributing Editor: Mike Russell
Layout Editor/Graphics: Jeanette Elliott
Advertising: Melissa Gross
The hallmark of great special operations has always been the creativity and ingenuity of the operators themselves. It is a story of men and women who thrived on challenge and on the unknown, came together as teams, and accomplished unbelievable feats. They were their best when the challenges were the greatest and the stakes the highest. After growing up in the 20th SOS in the 1980s and 90s, I learned from my mentors to study the history, learn what others had done, but always know that the next mission would be different. As I grew more experienced, I imparted as much of that history as I could on to others, and one of my go-to lines was that “special operations are missions that nobody is trained to do.” Certainly, there were tasks and specific skills we honed and did repetitively, but that was for training. It was like having a plan that is simply the point from which to deviate. The hard missions always had something we hadn’t planned for or trained for.
This issue of the Air Commando Journal provides a focus on a time in special operations that has not been studied to the extent of many others. The Korean War came at a time of great transition in military art. It was a combination of WWII technology with the advent of new types of weapons and purpose. It was the first war with large scale use of jet aircraft, helicopters, and completely redefined use of air control parties, all under the threat of a nuclear strike from either side. It was also the first major attempt of a global governing body, the United Nations, to oversee a “limited” war. The requirement for new ways to fight was enormous.
Michael Haas’s book, Apollo’s Warrior’s, provides possibly the best source of Air Commando operations in Korea ever written and this excerpt on the impact of psychological warfare highlights the need to control information, as timely today as it ever was. The review of Colonel Haas’s latest book, In the Devil’s Shadow, puts it on my must-read list. Mike also enlightens us with the story of Donald Nichols, a Master Sergeant who rose to Lt Colonel, operated on the edge of out of control, but created many of the SIGINT and HUMINT techniques in Korea that would become critical to Cold War success. The operations of the 581st Aerial Resupply & Communications Wing, as described by Rick Newton, provide an interesting study on one of the most prolific groups of Air Commandos in the conflict. This issue also includes Paul Harmon’s article on Maj Gen Richard Secord and follows the life and military career on one of the men who most shaped current day AFSOC. There is also Gene Correll’s recollections of moving an MH-53J Pave Low squadron, recently evacuated from the Philippines, onto a fighter base in Korea in the early 90s, and finally a more recent accounting of AFSOC’s Deployed Aircraft Ground Response (DAGRE) teams by Matt Durham.
I must congratulate the ACJ team as they move into the second decade of producing this journal. The ACJ has become an extremely useful tool in providing professional development and education to another generation of Air Commandos. These useful histories and records of what went right and wrong in the past will long serve the next generation and the generation after that. Keep up the great work team!