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Special Operations Command, Pacific
Special Operations Command Pacific insignia.jpg
SOCPAC insignia
Active 1 November 1965 - present
Country United States
Type Special Operations
Role Provide fully capable Special Operations Forces to defend the United States and its interests and plan and synchronize operations against terrorist networks
Part of United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command
United States Pacific Command.png United States Pacific Command
Garrison/HQ Camp H. M. Smith
Engagements Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines
Commander Rear Admiral P. Gardner Howe, III

The Special Operations Command Pacific, known as SOCPAC, is a sub-unified command of the United States Department of Defense for special forces in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.


The Special Operations Center, Pacific Command was established 1 November 1965. Headquartered in Okinawa, the unit provided unconventional warfare task force support for operations in Southeast Asia. After these functions transferred to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Command (CINCPAC), the command dissolved on 1 July 1969. A special operations staff was established in the CINCPAC Operations Directorate on 15 May 1976, for planning and coordinating in-theater special operations.[1]

In October 1983, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff established special operations commands in the Pacific and European Theaters. Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC) was activated on 1 November 1983 with only eighteen personnel. Six years later, on 28 December 1989, SOCPAC was assigned operational control of what is now the 353d Special Operations Group and 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), which are located on Okinawa, Japan at Kadena Air Base and Torii Station, respectively. On 8 July 1991, SOCPAC assumed control of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Pacific and a platoon of United States Navy SEALs, based at Apra Harbor in Guam. In early March 2001, SOCPAC established the Joint Special Operations Aviation Component. On 11 June 2001, SOCPAC gained control over E Company, 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), which is based in Daegu in South Korea.[1]

As a subordinate unified command of the United States Pacific Command, SOCPAC units deploy throughout the Pacific. SOCPAC annually conducts small unit exchanges, joint and combined training events, and operational deployments throughout the Pacific. Units are used for counterdrug and humanitarian demining operations, training forces in countries such as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. SOCPAC hosts an annual Pacific Area Special Operations Conference in Hawaii for over 200 U.S. and foreign delegates.[1]

The command can operate as a rapidly deployable Joint Task Force. In January 2002, SOCPAC deployed to the Southern Philippines as JTF 510, conducting counterterrorist operations with the Philippine Government under Operation Enduring Freedom. The force redeployed on 1 September 2002, leaving elements to form the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[1]

The command is headquartered at Camp H. M. Smith in Hawaii. From 1995 to 1997 Air Force General Charles R. Holland commanded SOCPAC.[2] From 2000 to 2003 Donald C. Wurster was commander,[3] David P. Fridovich commanded from 2005 to 2007, and then Salvatore F. Cambria.[4] In June 2009 Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus became commander of SOCPAC.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Special Operations Command, Pacific". official web site. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  2. "General Charles R. Holland". official biography. United States Air Force. 2003. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  3. "Lt. General Donald C. Wurster". official biography. United States Air Force. 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  4. "Cambria Takes Helm at Special Operations Command-Pacific". Special Warfare. September 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  5. "Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus: Commander, Special Operations Command Pacific". official US Navy Biography. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 

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