Air Force

Special Operations Forces

A - L

Allen, Patrick D. Special Operations Aviation: The Men and Machines of the Elite Units. Osceola, WI: MBI, 1999.

Barnett, Dennis [COL/USAF (Ret.)] "Chindit Chatter." Air Commando Journal 1, no. 3 (Spring 2012): 5, 7. []

The author is Vice President of the Air Commando Association and Editor-in-Chief of the Air Commando Journal. "After Viet Nam, Air Force SOF was reduced to minimal and obsolete assets and assigned to Major Commands that did not truly understand, not particularly care for, the need for those Air Commandos' specialized skill sets." Today, SOF "has evolved from a neglected capability to the force of choice in almost every major US conflict to the smallest contingencies."

Corum, James S., and Wray R. Johnson. Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2003.

Grimes, Bill [COL/USAF (Ret.)]. The History of Big Safari. Bloomington, IN: Archway Publishing, 2014.

Accirding to Gary K., Studies 59.2 (Jun. 2015), this book looks "at the sensitive arm of the [U.S.] Air Force that specializes in the rapid fielding of purpose-built or purpose-modified platforms to perform specific, usually sensitive, missions." There is less detail included after 2001 "because many programs are still active and classifed today.... Conspicuous by its absence ... is much discussion about specific targets, the results of the collection of ... intelligence from those targets, and the impact of the eventual intelligence produced -- who saw it and how it was used." Big Safari has "almost 700 endnotes and over 12 pages of bibliography."

Guidry, Roland D. [COL/USAF (Ret.)] "Eagle Claw Also known as 'Desert One'... A Successful Failed Mission." Air Commando Journal 1, no. 3 (Spring 2012): 18-26. []

"[F]ew may realize how degraded Air Force special operations was when the embassy [in Tehran] fell, and how much progress was made in developing tactics, procedures, and hardware" between November 1979 and January 1981

Haas, Michael E. [COL/USAF (Ret.)]. Apollo's Warriors: U.S. Air Force Special Operations During the Cold War. Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, 1997. Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2002. [pb]

To Crear, AIJ 18.1&2, this account of the activities of Air Commando and Air Special Operations Squadrons "is well organized by time and place.... It is well written and generously illustrated." Seamon, Proceedings 124.9 (Sep. 1998), finds that the illustrations go beyond the merely decorative and "add immeasurably to almost every anecdote." He believes that the author has told the story of the Air Force Special Operations Force "with a novelist's art and the authority of a trained historian."

Kamps, Charles Tustin. "US Air Force Special Operations." Air & Space Power Journal 19, no. 1 (Spring 2005). []

"Headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida, AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] includes one colocated wing with combat, training, and foreign internal defense squadrons; a special-tactics group; and a Reserve group. Operational groups in Europe and the Far East include fixed- and rotary-wing squadrons as well as special-tactics squadrons. A National Guard unit in Pennsylvania operates the EC-130E Commando Solo psychological-operations platform."

Kelly, Orr. From a Dark Sky: The Story of U.S. Air Force Special Operations. Collingdale, PA: Diane, 1996. New York: Pocket, 1997. [pb]

A Library Journal review (via says that "Kelly's narrative is lively, and his mix of broad overview and personal experience makes for smooth reading."

Kenyon, Henry S. "Unconventional Information Operations Shorten Wars." Signal, Aug. 2003. []

According to Maj. Gen. Paul J. LeBras, USAF, commander of the Air Force Air Intelligence Agency (AIA) and Joint Information Operations Center, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, "information operations embrace a spectrum of effects-based missions from psychological operations and system security to intelligence gathering and infiltrating enemy communications networks. The success of recent U.S. military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq has raised awareness about the value of this approach."

Koskinas, Gianni [MAJ/USAF] "Desert One and Air Force Special Operations Command: A 25-Year Retrospective." Air & Space Power Journal 19, no. 1 (Spring 2005). []

"After the Vietnam War, the Air Force's special operations forces (AFSOF) had deteriorated so much that they could not respond to a situation in Iran.... We see significant differences in AFSOF units before and after Desert One. Veterans of that mission argue that before 1980, almost no one considered SOF missions integrated joint operations. After the rescue attempt, air commandos developed the modern notion of a joint SOF unit focused on counterterrorism.... The Desert One model has served the SOF community well for the past two decades, but 9/11 should change AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] from a platform-based, single-model force to a capabilities-based force."

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