Trisha Shetty (Editor)

4th Special Operations Squadron

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Country  United States
Garrison/HQ  Hurlburt Field
Type  Special Operations
4th Special Operations Squadron
Active  8 April 1942 – 31 March 1944 27 October 1949 – 8 March 1954 2 August 1965 – 15 December 1969 1 April 1970 – 30 September 1992 1 May 1995 – present
Branch  United States Air Force
Part of  Air Force Special Operations Command 1st Special Operations Wing 1st Special Operations Group

The 4th Special Operations Squadron (4 SOS) is part of the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. It operates AC-130U Spooky aircraft providing special operations capabilities.



Directly supports unified and theater special operations commands by conducting close air support, armed reconnaissance, and interdiction missions worldwide in support of Secretary of Defense taskings.

The AC-130U aircraft flown by the 4th SOS are maintained by the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.


The 4th ferried aircraft to locations in Alaska, Africa, and Europe from, April 1942 – February 1944. It also airlifted cargo and evacuated wounded to US military hospitals.

The 4th Air Commando Squadron flew night combat missions in South Vietnam manning the AC-47 gunship beginning in November 1965. By year's end, the 4th had flown 277 combat sorties, used 2,458 illumination flares, and expended 137,136 rounds of ammunition in support of friendly positions under attack. In February 1966, four of the squadron's gunships were moved to Thailand to operate against the Ho Chi Minh Trail. There they would serve several roles. They were equipped to assume Airborne Command and Control Center duties in lieu of C-130s. They both struck and directed forward air control in the Operation Barrel Roll area of the Kingdom of Laos. They also hunted supply trucks along the Trail. Between December 1965 and July 1966, they were credited with destroying 243 trucks. However, they lost four AC-47s and 26 air crew members in the process, as enemy anti-aircraft fire became steadily more effective. The 4th was then assigned solely to defense of hamlets and troops under attack.

It provided an auxiliary command post and a communications link for the Fifteenth Air Force and Strategic Air Command from, 1 April 1970 – 30 September 1992.

In September 1996, the squadron deployed to Brindisi, Italy, supporting Operation Joint Endeavor in the skies over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The squadron saw its first combat operations since the Vietnam War in April 1999 over Kosovo while supporting Operation Allied Force. The 4th was called upon to strike Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan In the fall of 2001. In the spring of 2003 the 4th participated in the invasion of Iraq. During the initial 2 months of the conflict the 4th flew more than 1000 combat hours from 3 separate forward operating locations.


  • Vietnam War
  • Operation Joint Endeavor
  • Operation Allied Force
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Lineage

  • 4th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron (1942–1943)
  • 4th Ferrying Squadron (1943–1949)
  • 4th Liaison Flight (1949–1952)
  • 4th Liaison Squadron (1952–1965)
  • 4th Air Commando Squadron (Fire Support) (1965–1968)
  • 4th Special Operations Squadron (1968–1970)
  • 4th Airborne Command and Control Squadron (1970–1995)
  • 4th Special Operations Squadron (1995 – present)
  • Assignments

  • 2d Ferrying Group (1942–1944)
  • 14th Air Force (1949–1950)
  • Tactical Air Command (1950)
  • 9th Air Force (1950–1952)
  • 18th Air Force (1952–1953)
  • 12th Air Force (1953–1954)
  • 6250th Combat Support Group (1965–1966)
  • 14th Special Operations Wing (1966–1969)
  • 28th Bombardment Wing (1970–1992)
  • 1st Special Operations Wing (1995 – present)
  • Bases stationed

    Pleiku Air Force Base, Viet Nam 1965-1969

    Aircraft Operated

  • Various (1942–1944)
  • L-13 Grasshopper (1949–1951, 1951–1952)
  • C-45 Expeditor (1951–1952)
  • L-20 Beaver (1952, 1952–1953)
  • AC-47 Spooky (1965–1969)
  • C-47 Skytrain (1966–1967)
  • HC-47 (1969)
  • EC-135 (1970–1992)
  • AC-130U Spooky (1995 – present)
  • References

    4th Special Operations Squadron Wikipedia