July 10, 2015 (by SrA Jeff Parkinson) - The 1st Special Operations Group activated the 1st SOG Detachment 2 in a ceremony on, July 9.
Col. Stewart Hammons, 1st SOG commander, passes the Detachment 2 guidon to Lt. Col. Bret DeAngelis, DET 2 commander, during an activation ceremony at the Hurlburt Field, on July 10, 2015. DET 2 was activated to operationally test the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship, train aircrews, as well as develop new tactics, techniques and procedures for the aircraft. [USAF photos by Amn Kai White]
Col. Stewart Hammons, 1st SOG commander, presided over the ceremony as Lt. Col. Brett DeAngelis assumed command of the newly established detachment.
DET 2 was activated to operationally test the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship, train aircrews, as well as develop new tactics, techniques and procedures for the new aircraft.
“With the stand-up of any new unit especially with iron, new iron that we don’t have necessarily the long-term expertise that we’ve had on other weapon systems, there are always unique challenges tied to it,” said Hammons. “That’s why you really require the right leader to take command of this unit; to make sure that foundation is being laid.”
The AC-130J is the fourth generation gunship replacing the aging Special Operations Forces fleet of 37 AC-130H/U/W gunships. The AC-130 gunships have an extensive combat history dating back to the Vietnam War,when gunships destroyed more than 10,000 trucks and were credited with many life-saving, close air support missions.
“The AC-130 has been the hallmark of for a very, very long time, and the next iteration of this weapon system is the AC-130J,” said Hammons. “This evolution and capability takes into account the need for the constantly changing combat environment that we deal with on a day to day basis as well as the requirements for technological improvements to continue to provide capabilities to the ground forces we support.”
The AC-130J is a highly modified C-130J aircraft that contains advanced features to equip the aircraft to conduct close air support and precision strike. Modifications from a mission management console, to a robust communications suite, and advanced fire control equipment, to precision guided munitions delivery capability. The mission management system will fuse multiple avenues of information into a common operating picture.
“This is an unbridled opportunity to define what AC-130J is going to look like,” said DeAngelis. “So for the men and women that are going to support and maintain her and particularly the crews that are going to fly on her, our mission is crystal clear: get it right, that way who ever follows behind me can stand up here and say ‘all policies and procedures will remain in effect.’”