Air Commandos exercise SOF interoperability in the Pacific

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Renee Douglas
  • 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs


Members of the U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) participated in a joint training event with the U.S. Navy USS Wasp, and the U.S. Marine Corp 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) this Wednesday October 23rd, to improve integrated naval and special operations forces (SOF) capabilities.


The 353rd SOG 1st and 17th Special Operations Squadrons trained tactical air to air refueling with CV-22s from the 353rd SOG Detachment 1 and Marine MV-22s assigned to the 31st MEU. The 353 SOG Detachment 1 then trained the vertical lift capabilities of the CV-22 by landing on the deck of the USS Wasp.


“The opportunity to work with the MEU, specifically to forward deploy our CV-22 fleet to an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), greatly expands our force projection capability in case of contingency or conflict,” said Major Anthony Florentine, a MC-130H pilot assigned to the 1st Special Operations Squadron. “Improving our interoperability with the MEU increases the SOG's ability to respond to emerging crises while expanding the radius in which we can rapidly operate in the Pacific theater.”


Maintaining a U.S. forward presence in the pacific enables faster response to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and any other conflict the SOG could be called to support. This training was an opportunity for the SOG to increase interoperability with joint partners in the pacific.


“Forward deploying to the USS Wasp and practicing interoperability with 31st MEU demonstrates our ability to partner SOF with conventional forces.  The MEU’s expeditionary capabilities complement SOF’s inherent flexibility and allow rapid response anywhere in INDOPACOM,” said Lieutenant Colonel Sabrine Kennedy, 353rd Special Operations Group director of operations. “Moving forward, the 353d SOG and our fellow SOCPAC components will take advantage of this capability to bring SOF competencies to bear for disaster relief, counter-terrorism, and support to regional partner nations.”