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U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel (right), accepts the command of the Air Force Special Operations Command from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 24, 2011. General Fiel was the vice commander, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, Washington, DC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter/Released)
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Headquarters AFSOC passes guidon to new commander

Posted 6/24/2011   Updated 6/27/2011 Email story   Print story


by Ashley M. Wright
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

6/24/2011 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel assumed command of Air Force Special Operations Command at a ceremony here June 24, ushering in a new era at a time when the command has experienced intense growth.

General Fiel replaced retiring Lt. Gen. Donald Wurster during the ceremony, presided by Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff. Also participating was Admiral Eric T. Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

"These last few years have presented some of the greatest challenges for Air Force Special Operations Command," General Schwartz said. "Time and time again, I am impressed with AFSOC's ability to overcome tremendous challenges with tenacity and skill."

Also at the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Michael Kingsley, 23rd Air Force commander, led a military formation comprised of Airmen from the 1st Special Operations Wing, 27th Special Operations Wing, Headquarters AFSOC and a select few to represent the Air Commando Heritage formation. The Air Force band playing at the ceremony was from the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

The command's mission is to present combat ready Air Force Special Operations Forces to conduct and support global special operations missions. The command consists of highly trained, rapidly deployable Airmen, conducting global special operations missions ranging from precision application of firepower, to infiltration, exfiltration, resupply and refueling of special operations forces' operational elements.

Air Commandos have also left a global footprint on the humanitarian front with such lifesaving actions as the initial response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, 2010, and most recently in March following the tsunami along Japan's northern coast.

"Despite the relatively small number of personnel in AFSOC, we fight above our weight and produce lasting and strategic effects in our wake," General Wurster said. "More recently, the Air Commandos in the Pacific led the way to open Sendai Airfield (Japan) when others said it couldn't be done and were the spark plug that rekindled the hope of a partner-nation and ally."

General Fiel inherits a command of approximately 16,000 active-duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian personnel. AFSOC grew under General Wurster to include two wings delivering special operations power anytime, anywhere. In addition, the Air Force Special Operations Training Center provides in-house training for Air Commandos to stay a step ahead in a changing world.

"Today, AFSOC is changing," General Fiel said. "AFSOC will continue to change. We will continue to focus on who we are and what it means to be the specialized air arm of the SOF team. We will stay committed to the high standards that have made us who we are."
General Fiel entered the Air Force in 1981 as a graduate of Officer Training School. In his previous assignment, he served as Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command vice commander in Washington, D.C. The general also brings a wealth of Air Force and SOF experience to the command.

6/25/2011 10:36:57 AM ET
Adam Kovalski God bless General... Tally Ho and Press on... Microbe 11 sends his best...
A.J. Kovalski, United States
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