|720th Special Tactics Group|
720th Special Tactics Group airmen jump from a C-130J Hercules
|Active||1 October 1987 - present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Type||Special Operations Forces|
|Role||Organize, train and equip ST forces worldwide to integrate, synchronize, and/or control air power during operations.|
U.S. Special Operations Command|
Air Force Special Operations Command
24th Special Operations Wing
Persian Gulf War|
War in Afghanistan
Gallant Unit Citation|
Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" Device
|720th Special Tactics Group emblem (Approved 9 June 1988)|
The 720th Special Tactics Group is one of the special operations ground components of the 24th Special Operations Wing, assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) of the United States Air Force. The group is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The group is composed of geographically separated squadrons in five separate states; Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and Washington.
The Group's Special Tactics Squadrons are made up of Special Tactics Officers, Combat Controllers, Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, Special Operations Weather Technicians, Air Liaison Officers, Tactical Air controllers, and a number of combat support airmen which comprise 58 Air Force specialties.
Special Tactics Squadrons are organized, trained and equipped specifically for various special operations missions facilitating air operations on the battlefield. They conduct combat search and rescue missions, collect intelligence, as well as call in close air support or airstrikes against enemy combatants and are often partnered with other U.S. special operations forces overseas.
The 720th Special Tactics Group is assigned five special tactics squadrons and a support squadron.
- 17th Special Tactics Squadron at Ft. Benning, Georgia;
- 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina
- 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
- 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida
- 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
- 720th Operations Support Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida
The 720th STG also serves as the functional manager for two Special Tactics squadrons stationed outside the United States, the 320th Special Tactics Squadron under the 353d Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and the 321st Special Tactics Squadron under the 352d Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England.
There are two Air National Guard units that augments the 720th STG for training and deployments, the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, based at Standiford Field, and the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron, based at Portland International Airport.
Prior to May 2014, special operations weather technicans were assigned to the 10th Combat Weather Squadron. The decision was made to integrate these technicians with the other special operators serving in the special tactics squadrons and the squadron was inactivated upon their transfer.
Master Sergeant Ivan Ruiz, deployed from the group's 22d Special Tactics Squadron to Kandahar Province Afghanistan, was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions on 10 December 2013. Sgt Ruiz and two Army Special Forces teammates had become separated from the main friendly body of troops while infiltrating enemy territory. The three were trapped in a courtyard by intense enemy fire that wounded Sgt Ruiz's two companions. Sgt Ruiz sprinted from his position to the exposed position of the two wounded teammates to defend them. Ruiz continued to fight the enemy alone until reinforcements arrived. Once they did, he dragged his teammates to a nearby position of concealment and administered life-saving trauma care.
- Designated as the 1720th Special Tactics Group and activated on 1 October 1987
- Redesignated 720th Special Tactics Group on 31 March 1992.
- Twenty-Third Air Force (later Air Force Special Operations Command): 1 October 1987 - 12 June 2012
- 24th Special Operations Wing: 12 June 2012 – Present
- 10th Combat Weather Squadron: 1 August 1996 - 7 May 2014
- 17th Air Support Operations Squadron (later 17th Special Tactics Squadron): 1 October 2008 – Present
- Ft. Benning, Georgia
- 21st Special Tactics Squadron: 21 May 1996 – Present
- Pope Air Force Base (later Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina
- 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, unknown - Present
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
- 1723d Special Tactics Squadron (later 23rd Special Tactics Squadron): unknown - Present
- 1724th Special Tactics Squadron (later 24th Special Tactics Squadron): 1 October 1987 - 29 April 2011
- Pope Air Force Base (later Pope Army Airfield), North Carolina
- 26th Special Tactics Squadron: 28 February 2014 – Present
- Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
- 720th Operations Support Squadron: 29 November 2004 – Present
- Special Tactics Training Squadron, 1 June 2008 - 1 October 2008
|Gallant Unit Citation||1 January 2008-30 September 2009|||
|Air Force Meritorious Unit Award||1 January 2008-30 September 2009|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Combat "V" Device||1 September 2001-31 August 2003|||
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 August 1991-31 July 1993|||
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 August 1993-31 July 1995|||
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 August 1995-31 July 1997|||
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 September 1999-31 August 2001|||
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 August 1997-31 July 1999|||
- July 2001 - July 2002 Col. Robert H. Holmes
- August 2006 - July 2008, Col. Marc F. Stratton
- July 2008 - June 2010, Col. Bradley P. Thompson
- Jun 2010 - Jun 2012, Col. Robert G. Armfield
- June 2012 - unknown , Col. Kurt Buller
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 720th Special Tactics Group.|
- "Factsheet: 720th Special Tactics Group". 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs. January 25, 2007. http://www.hurlburt.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/FactSheets/tabid/140/Article/204613/720th-special-tactics-group.aspx. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- Haulman, Daniel L. (July 15, 2010). "Factsheet 720 Special Tactics Group (AFSOC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=16994. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "Factsheet:24th Special Operations Wing". http://www.24sow.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/140/Article/496534/24th-special-operations-wing.aspx. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- Parkinson, A1C Jeff (May 14, 2014). "Hurlburt deactivates squadron". nwfdailynews.com. http://www.nwfdailynews.com/military/top-story/hurlburt-deactivates-squadron-1.319315. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- Savage, Maj Craig (December 17, 2014). "PJ’s extraordinary heroism earns an Air Force Cross". Air Force News Service. http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/558401/pjs-extraordinary-heroism-earns-an-air-force-cross.aspx?source=GovD. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Unless indicated, group components are stationed with the group headquarters.
- Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organizational Status Change Report, October 2008
- "Factsheets : 21 Special Tactics Squadron (AFSOC)". Afhra.af.mil. http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=16745. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
- See "Factsheet 24th Special Operations Wing". 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs. September 4, 2014. http://www.24sow.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/140/Article/496534/24th-special-operations-wing.aspx. Retrieved May 20, 2015. (list of groups and squadrons assigned to 24th Wing)
- Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organizational Status Change Report, June 2008
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