It has been my honor and privilege to spend the past 27 years of my career associated with the special operations community. I am especially proud to contribute to this issue of the Air Commando Journal because I have deep friendships with nearly every author published this quarter. Our shared heritage began at Hurlburt Field three decades ago. Since then, the Air Commandos of AFSOC have been, and continue to be, key contributors to our Nation’s success in military engagements around the world. Air Commando Journal salutes all Special Operations Airmen, and this particular issue highlights the incredible accomplishments of the gunship community.
In this issue, Ron Terry’s article traces gunship lineage from its inception as a rudimentary side-firing aircraft to today’s multifaceted precision platform. In addition Dr. Hallion, former Air Force Historian, highlights the great contributions of the venerable C-47 including its use as a gunship. The Journal also explores the planned use of the gunship in the attempted Iranian hostage rescue; furthering our understanding of the gunship’s maturation. Several articles in this journal provide a historical perspective of our community from the optic of experienced veterans who were there and further highlight our role in modern Defense Strategy.
Air commandos have been deployed in every American conflict in the past seven decades. We are just as relevant to the fight today as was the First Air Command Group who carried the Chindit Raiders 200 miles into enemy territory during World War II. We must not rest on our laurels. We must continue to push the envelope to maintain readiness and boost our combat effectiveness. While doing so, we can draw inspiration from our community’s heroes, specifically the crew of Spirit 03 and this edition’s celebrated hero, Maj Bernard Fisher. I am pleased to contribute to Air Commando Journal, and I look forward to a hearty response from my AFSOC brethren. After all, that competitive spirit fuels our efforts and has become a trademark of our community.
-- BRADLEY A. HEITHOLD
Lieutenant General, USAF
Vice Commander, USSOCOM