Sustaining the Combat Capability of America's Air Force

The 71st SOS Reactivation/Assumption of Command

The unit designation "71st Special Operations Squadron" was officially reactivated by the Air Force on 20 May 2005 at Kirtland AFB, NM. The present 71st SOS is assigned to the 58th Special Operations Group, and was the first unit in the USAF to receive Bell/Boeing CV-22 Osprey aircraft. This is a great honor for every airman who served with and supported the 71st SOS during the Southeast Asia conflict. The new 71st SOS will accompany the 550th SOS and its H/MC-130P Combat Shadow and MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft at Kirtland. The 58th SOW is a Flying/Aircrew Training Unit of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC).

Click here to view a 2.3MB PDF file of the 71st SOS Reactivation and Assumption of Command Program.

The May 27, 2005 issue of the Kirtland AFB newsletter "Nucleus" contains an article about the activation ceremony of the 71st SOS. Click here to view the two-page article (PDF).

Greetings to all Shadows & Stingers.

As announced on the 71st and AC-119 Gunship Association web sites, the Reactivation of the 71st SOS took place on 20 May 2005 at Kirtland AFB, NM as scheduled. Early this year Jim Alvis, 71st Web Master, received a communique requesting information about the history of the 71st SOS. Jim let me know about the contact and the two of us worked with Capt. Todd Thorpe who was the Coordinator for the Reactivation Ceremony. We sent materials and other items to Kirtland that were used in the preparing for the ceremony. We were pleased to learn that former members of the 71st would be welcome to attend the ceremony. I decided early on that I would make an effort to attend the ceremony and did just that.

My wife Helen and I were greeted warmly upon our arrival at Kirtland and met many of the personnel scheduled to be part of the new 71st. A CV-22 Sperry was flown in from Edwards AFB to be put on display during the ceremony. The Reactivation and Assumption of Command ceremony was outstanding and recognized the long colorful history of the 71st. At the conclusion of the ceremony I presented the new Squadron Commander, Lt Col James L. Cardoso, with an AC-119G Gunship lithograph (beautifully framed by the Kirtland AFB frame shop) to be placed in the new 71st "Heritage Room". After a personally guided tour of the CV-22 Osprey I was honored with an hour long simulator session. What an awesome training facility. Needless to say my piloting skills have diminished but it was a great ride. Thanks Sgt Pelhan.

The 71st SOS is again alive and in good hands and I am confident that all the challenges of developing a combat ready unit will be accomplished on schedule. It was a real privilege to be in attendance at the ceremony and I thank all of the new 71st members who made our trip a memorable one.

Herman A. (Al) Heuss Col USAFR Retired
71st SOS
June 2005