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9th Special Operations Squadron
9th Special Operations Squadron.jpg
9th Special Operations Squadron Patch
Active 1 April 1944 – 18 October 1948
2 January 1951 – 15 September 1963
9 January 1967 – 29 February 1972
1 March 1988 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Special Operations
Part of Air Force Special Operations Command
1st Special Operations Wing
1st Special Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Hurlburt Field
Motto(s) Night Wings
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG DUC
Streamer PUC Army.PNG PUC
GUC Streamer.JPG GUC
AFOUA with Valor.jpg AFOUA w/V Device
VGCP Streamer.jpg RVGC w/ Palm

A 9th SOS C-47D dropping leaflets near Nha Trang, 1969.

Emblem of the World War II 39th Bombardment Squadron

The 9th Special Operations Squadron (9 SOS) is part of the 1st Special Operations Wing (1 SOW) at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The squadron operates MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft in support of special operations. The 9th SOS specializes in the use of night vision goggles and close interval formation tactics to refuel large helicopter formations. On 20 May 2013, the 9th SOS moved from its historic location at Eglin AFB to join the rest of the 1 SOW at Hurlburt Field.


Clandestine penetration of enemy territory using low-level formation procedures to provide aerial refueling of special operations helicopters and the insertion, extraction, and resupply of special operations forces by low or high altitude airdrop or airland operations.[1]


B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan

Re-designated on 1 April 1944 as a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment squadron. When training was completed moved to North Field Tinianin the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific Area in January 1945 and assigned to XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force. It's mission was the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands and the destruction of its war-making capability. Flew "shakedown" missions against Japanese targets on Moen Island, Truk, and other points in the Carolines and Marianas. The squadron began combat missions over Japan on 25 February 1945 with a firebombing mission over Northeast Tokyo. The squadron continued to participate in wide area firebombing attack, but the first ten-day blitz resulting in the Army Air Forces running out of incendiary bombs. Until then the squadron flew conventional strategic bombing missions using high explosive bombs.

The squadron continued attacking urban areas with incendiary raids until the end of the war in August 1945, attacking major Japanese cities, causing massive destruction of urbanized areas. Also conducted raids against strategic objectives, bombing aircraft factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, and other targets in Japan. The squadron flew its last combat missions on 14 August when hostilities ended. Afterwards, its B 29s carried relief supplies to Allied prisoner of war camps in Japan and Manchuria Squadron remained in Western Pacific, assigned to Twentieth Air Force on Okinawa. Maintained as a strategic bombardment squadron until inactivated due to budget reductions in late 1948. Some aircraft scrapped on Tinian; others flown to storage depots in the United States.[2]

Strategic Air Command

Reactivated in 1951 as a result of the expansion of the Air Force after the breakout of the Cold War. Initially equipped with second-line B-29 Superfortress medium bombers for training; redesignated as a heavy bomb squadron in 1952 and equipped with new B-36 Peacemaker intercontinental strategic bombers. Initially was equipped with B-36Fs. Later Featherweight III B-36Js were added, the squadron operating both types. Carried red stripe on the tip of the vertical stabilizer; the lip of the jet intakes and the "nose cone" of the jet itself along with triangle-R tail code. SAC eliminated tail codes in 1953. In 1957 the B-36s were replaced with B-52E Stratofortress aircraft and all squadron markings were eliminated. While retaining combat capability, the 9th trained B-52 crews for Strategic Air Command from 15 July 1959 – September 1963. Remained equipped with the B-52s until the closure of Walker AFB in 1967.

Consolidated with the Vietnam Era 9th Air Commando Squadron (Psychological Operations) in 1985. The 9th ACS operated primarily C-47 Skytrains over South Vietnam from March 1967 to January 1972. The squadron's psychological warfare missions directly or indirectly influenced the surrender of thousands of enemy soldiers. In addition, carried out night combat operations against enemy forces and hamlets through flare drops. Despite the often heavy and accurate enemy antiaircraft fire, used light observation aircraft to perform search and rescue missions to locate and direct recovery forces finding downed airmen over enemy controlled territory. Inactivated in 1972 as part of the drawdown of forces in Indochina.[2]

Reactivated in 1988 as a special operations unit, the squadron has trained for special operations, refueling and resupply missions using modified C-130 aircraft. It has seen combat in Panama, 20 December 1989 – 14 January 1990 and Southwest Asia, 16 January 1991 – 5 April 1991. It routinely deployed personnel and aircraft to contingency operations in the Balkans and Southwest Asia from, 1991–2001. The squadron has participated in combat operations in Afghanistan since October 2001 and Iraq since March 2003.[1]

Operations and decorations

  • Combat Operations: Combat in Western Pacific, 27 Jan-14 Aug 1945. Combat in Southeast Asia, Mar 1967 – Jan 1972. Performed special operations, day or night aerial refueling, infiltration/exfiltration and resupply missions using modified C-130 aircraft, 1988–. Combat in Panama, 20 Dec 1989-14 Jan 1990 and Southwest Asia, 16 Jan-5 Apr 1991. After the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attack on the US, served on the forefront of Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001–.
  • Campaigns: World War II: Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific; Air Offensive, Japan. Vietnam: Vietnam Air Offensive; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III; Vietnam Air/Ground; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV; TET 69/Counteroffensive; Vietnam Summer-Fall, 1969; Vietnam Winter-Spring, 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Monsoon; Commando Hunt V; Commando Hunt VI; Commando Hunt VII. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. Panama, 1989–1990.
  • Decorations: Distinguished Unit Citations: Tokyo, Japan, 25 May 1945; Japanese Empire, 9–19 Jul 1945. Presidential Unit Citations: Vietnam, 1–7 Mar 1967; Vietnam, 21 Jun 1968 – 30 Jun 1969. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" device: 16 Jun 1967 – 20 Jun 1968; 1 Jul 1970 – 30 Jun 1971; 1 Jun 1997 – 31 May 1999; 1 Jul 2003 – 30 Jun 2005. Gallant Unit Citation: 6 Oct 2001 – 30 May 2003. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 May 1960 – 31 May 1962; 1 May 1988 – 30 Apr 1990; 16 Apr 1992 – 15 Apr 1994; 1 Jun 1995 – 31 May 1997; 1 Jul 1999 – 30 Jun 2001; 1 Jul 2001 – 30 Jun 2003; 1 Sep 2004 – 31 Aug 2006. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: [Mar] 1967-1 Aug 1968; 16 Jun 1967–[9 Jan] 1972; 1 Jan-30 Aug 1968; 5 Oct 1971–[9] Jan 1972.


  • Constituted 39th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 28 Mar 1944
Activated on 1 Apr 1944
Inactivated on 18 Oct 1948
  • Redesignated 39th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 20 Dec 1950
Activated on 2 Jan 1951
Redesignated 39th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 16 Jun 1952
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 15 Sep 1963
  • Consolidated (19 September 1985) with the 9th Air Commando Squadron (Psychological Operations), which was constituted, and activated, on 9 Jan 1967
Organized on 25 Jan 1967
Redesignated 9th Special Operations Squadron on 1 Aug 1968
Inactivated on 29 Feb 1972
  • Activated on 1 Mar 1988.




See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

See also

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