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711th Special Operations Squadron
[[File:711th Special Operations Squadron|240x240px|frameless}}|711th Special Operations Squadron Patch|alt=]]
711th Special Operations Squadron Patch
Active 1 May 1943 – 7 November 1945
27 June 1949 – 21 March 1951
18 May 1955 – 16 November 1957
30 July 1971 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Special Operations
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
10th Air Force
919th Special Operations Wing
919th Special Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Duke Field
Decorations GUC Streamer GUC
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer AFOUA
711th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem

Emblem of the World War II 711th Bombardment Squadron

The 711th Special Operations Squadron (711 SOS) is part of the 919th Special Operations Wing at Duke Field, Florida. It is an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) unit that is operationally-gained by Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).


In May 2013 the 711 SOS ended its 40-year mission operating the MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft, providing special operations capability, to transition to an Aviation Foreign Internal Defense mission flying C-145A Skytrucks.[1]


Activated in mid-1943 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment squadron, trained under Second Air Force (2 AF). Deployed to England in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during November 1943, assigned to VIII Bomber Command as a strategic bombardment squadron. Participated in the air offensive over Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe until German capitulation in May 1945. Personnel demobilized in England and returned to the United States; squadron reassigned to Third Air Force (3 AF) for possible re-equipping with B-29 Superfortresses and deployment to Pacific Theater. Japanese capitulation led to inactivation in November 1945.[2]

Reactivated in the postwar reserve as a B-29 Superfortress squadron, the unit trained for proficiency as part of Strategic Air Command (SAC) reserve forces. Activated as a result of Korean War in 1951, the squadron's aircraft and personnel were reassigned to Far East Air Force Bomber Command, then inactivated as a paper unit.[2]

Rectivated at Naval Air Station Dallas/Hensley Field, Texas as a reserve Tactical Air Command (TAC) F-86 Sabre fighter bomber group in 1955, it was inactivated again in 1957. The unit reactivated in 1971 as the 711th Tactical Airlift Squadron (711 TAS), a reserve theater airlift squadron allocated to TAC and equipped with the C-130A Hercules, performing tactical airlift of personnel and cargo as well as air drop training support for U.S. Army paratroopers during various exercises from 1971–1974. In late 1974, the squadron began transitioning to the AC-130A Spectre aircraft that were returning from bases in Thailand at the end of the Vietnam War. As the Regular Air Force gunship units transitioned to strictly operating the AC-130H, the 711 TAS was redesignated as the 711th Special Operations Squadron (711 SOS) in 1975 and trained in gunship operations. Close air support of conventional and special operations ground forces became the unit's primary duty, but additional capabilities included the ability to perform armed interdiction, reconnaissance, and escort, forward air control and combat search and rescue in conventional or unconventional warfare settings. Because their advanced sensors were useful in range reconnaissance and range clearing tasks, the 711 SOS also provided missile range support from to the Air Force's Eastern Range at Cape Canaveral AFS from 1979–1989, and NASA space shuttle support at Kennedy Space Center from 1981–1988.[2] In 1983, the squadron's operational claimancy shifted from TAC to Military Airlift Command (MAC) and the newly constituted 23d Air Force (23 AF) as TAC divested itself of all special operations aircraft and missions in order to focus exclusively on fighter aircraft. The 711th flew pre-strike reconnaissance, fire support, escort, and airbase defense sorties during the U.S. invasion of Panama from 8 December 1989 – 7 January 1990. In May 1990, operational claimancy for the 711 SOS and its parent wing shifted again as MAC divested its special operations aircraft assets with the creation of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) as a separate Major Command (MAJCOM). The 711 SOS again flew combat missions in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Storm from 9 February–March 1991.[2]

The squadron's primary mission changed in late 1995 as the unit retired its long-serving AC-130A aircraft and transitioned to the MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft. In its new role, the squadron provides long-range clandestine delivery of special operations forces and equipment. It has periodically deployed personnel and aircraft to support special operations contingency operations worldwide, as well as numerous humanitarian missions. In February 1997, the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) transitioned from being a Field Operating Agency (FOA) to MAJCOM status, designated as Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). With this change, AFRC and AFRC's 10th Air Force (10 AF) became the principal higher headquarters for the squadron and its parent wing, with the unit still maintaining previous operational connections to AFSOC. Beginning 1 October 1997, the 711th also provided the flight portion of MC-130E Combat Talon I training for both Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Force Reserve Command.[2]

After September 2001, the 711 SOS made multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.[3]


  • Constituted 711th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
Activated on 1 May 1943
Inactivated on 7 November 1945
  • Redesignated 711th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 10 May 1949
Activated in the reserve on 27 June 1949
Ordered to active service on 17 March 1951
Inactivated on 21 March 1951
  • Redesignated 711th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 12 April 1955
Activated in the reserve on 18 May 1955
Inactivated on 16 November 1957.
  • Redesignated 711 Tactical Airlift Squadron on 17 June 1971
Activated in the Reserve on 30 July 1971
Redesignated 711 Special Operations Squadron on 1 July 1975


ETO Fuselage Code: IR





PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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