Puneet Varma (Editor)

720th Special Tactics Group

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720th Special Tactics Group
Active  October 1, 1987 – present
Country  United States of America
Branch  United States Air Force
Type  Special Operations Forces
Role  Organize, train and equip ST forces worldwide to integrate, synchronize, and/or control air power during operations.

The 720th Special Tactics Group is one of the special operations ground components of the 24th Special Operations Wing, assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) of the United States Air Force. The group is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The group is composed of geographically separated squadrons in five separate states; Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and Washington.



The Group's Special Tactics Squadrons are made up of Special Tactics Officers, Combat Controllers, Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, Special Operations Weather Technicians, Air Liaison Officers, Tactical Air Control Party personnel, and a number of combat support airmen which comprise 58 Air Force specialties.

Special Tactics Squadrons are organized, trained and equipped specifically for various special operations missions facilitating air operations on the battlefield. They conduct combat search and rescue missions, collect intelligence, as well as call in close air support or airstrikes against enemy combatants and are often partnered with other U.S. special operations forces overseas.

Subordinate units

The 720th Special Tactics Group is assigned five special tactics squadrons and a support squadron.

  • 17th Special Tactics Squadron at Ft. Benning, Georgia;
  • 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina
  • 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
  • 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida
  • 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico
  • 720th Operations Support Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida
  • Other missions

    The 720th STG also serves as the functional manager for two Special Tactics squadrons stationed outside the United States, the 320th Special Tactics Squadron under the 353d Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and the 321st Special Tactics Squadron under the 352d Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England.

    There are two Air National Guard units that augments the 720th STG for training and deployments, the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, based at Standiford Field, and the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron, based at Portland International Airport.


    Prior to May 2014, special operations weather technicians were assigned to the 10th Combat Weather Squadron. The decision was made to integrate these technicians with the other special operators serving in the special tactics squadrons and the squadron was inactivated upon their transfer.

    Master Sergeant Ivan Ruiz, deployed from the group's 22d Special Tactics Squadron to Kandahar Province Afghanistan, was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions on 10 December 2013. Sgt Ruiz and two Army Special Forces teammates had become separated from the main friendly body of troops while infiltrating enemy territory. The three were trapped in a courtyard by intense enemy fire that wounded Sgt Ruiz's two companions. Sgt Ruiz sprinted from his position to the exposed position of the two wounded teammates to defend them. Ruiz continued to fight the enemy alone until reinforcements arrived. Once they did, he dragged his teammates to a nearby position of concealment and administered life-saving trauma care.


  • Designated as the 1720th Special Tactics Group and activated on 1 October 1987
  • Redesignated 720th Special Tactics Group on 31 March 1992.
  • Assignments

  • Twenty-Third Air Force (later Air Force Special Operations Command): 1 October 1987 – 12 June 2012
  • 24th Special Operations Wing: 12 June 2012 – Present
  • Components

  • 10th Combat Weather Squadron: 1 August 1996 – 7 May 2014
  • 17th Air Support Operations Squadron (later 17th Special Tactics Squadron): 1 October 2008 – Present
  • Ft. Benning, Georgia
  • 21st Special Tactics Squadron: 21 May 1996 – Present
  • Pope Air Force Base (later Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina
  • 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, unknown – Present
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
  • 1723d Special Tactics Squadron (later 23rd Special Tactics Squadron): unknown – Present
  • 1724th Special Tactics Squadron (later 24th Special Tactics Squadron): 1 October 1987 – 29 April 2011
  • Pope Air Force Base (later Pope Army Airfield), North Carolina
  • 26th Special Tactics Squadron: 28 February 2014 – Present
  • Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
  • 720th Operations Support Squadron: 29 November 2004 – Present
  • Special Tactics Training Squadron, 1 June 2008 – 1 October 2008
  • Stations

  • Hurlburt Field, Florida 1 Oct 1987–Present
  • Commanders

  • July 2001 – July 2002 Col. Robert H. Holmes
  • August 2006 – July 2008, Col. Marc F. Stratton
  • July 2008 – June 2010, Col. Bradley P. Thompson
  • Jun 2010 – Jun 2012, Col. Robert G. Armfield
  • June 2012 – July 2014, Col. Kurt Buller
  • References

    720th Special Tactics Group Wikipedia

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