67th Special Operations Squadron

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67th Special Operations Squadron
C-130 Hercules - RAF Mildenhall (25104637656).jpg
Active14 Nov 1952 – 18 Mar 1960
10 May 1961 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleSpecial Operations
Part ofAir Force Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQRAF Mildenhall
Nickname(s)Night Owls (1994–present)
EquipmentLockheed MC-130J Commando II
EngagementsDesert Storm
Kosovo War[1]
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Air Force Gallant Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation[1]
67th Special Operations Squadron emblem (approved 8 May 2007)[1]67 Special Operations Sq emblem (2007).png
67th Special Operations Squadron emblem (approved 16 June 1994)[2]67th Special Operations Squadron.png
67th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron emblem (approved 15 August 1985)[2][3]67 Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Sq emblem.png
67th Air Rescue Squadron emblem 67 Air Rescue Sq emblem.png

The 67th Special Operation Squadron (67th SOS), nicknamed the Night Owls, is an active United States Air Force unit operating the Lockheed MC-130J Commando II. It is based at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, in the United Kingdom and assigned to the 752d Special Operations Group. The 67th SOS is tasked with flying single or multi-ship low-level air refueling missions for special operations helicopters, and infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces by airdrop or airland.[4]



The unit was constituted as the 67th Air Rescue Squadron (67th ARS) on 17 October 1952. It was activated on 14 November 1952 at RAF Sculthorpe, England, and discontinued, and inactivated, on 18 March 1960 at Prestwick Airport, Scotland. It was activated again on 10 May 1961, and organized on 18 June 1961 at Prestwick Airport, Scotland. The unit was redesignated 67th Air Recovery Squadron (67th ARS) on 1 August 1965, and then as the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (67th ARRS) on 8 January 1966.[5]

It was transferred to Morón Air Base, Spain on 1 July 1966. On 15 January 1970, the 67th ARRS transferred to RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk, England. The unit operated the Lockheed HC-130N/P fixed wing (also used as rotational support for their detachment of HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopters stationed at NAS Keflavik, Iceland) and Sikorsky MH-53 rotary wing aircraft.[5]

On 1 June 1988, the unit was split into two units redesignated the 67th Special Operations Squadron (67th SOS) for the HC-130 aircraft and the 21st Special Operations Squadron for the HH-53 rotary wing. On 1 April 1992, they moved to RAF Alconbury, Cambridgeshire, UK.

RAF Mildenhall (1995–present)[edit]

Lockheed MC-130P 66-0215 of the 67th SOS refuels a Bell Boeing CV-22B Osprey of the 7th Special Operations Squadron, 24 January 2014.

On 7 May 1993, it was announced that the 352nd Special Operations Group, including the 67th SOS, would relocate to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.[6] However, this move was not completed until 30 April 1995, with the 67th SOS arriving on 17 February 1995.[1]

In February 1996, the squadron's HC-130N/Ps were redesignated the MC-130P Combat Shadow by Air Force Special Operations Command.[7]

On 7 June 2013, the Night Owls began to replace their MC-130P Combat Shadows when their first Lockheed MC-130J Commando II (10-5714) arrived.[8] The last MC-130P sortie was flown on 24 January 2014, which saw a tour of the country over locations including Prestwick, Alconbury and the Dumfries. The squadron completed the transition from the MC-130P to the MC-130J on 3 February 2014, when 66-0215 departed for Hurlburt Field, Florida.[9]

On 8 January 2015, the United States Department of Defense announced that RAF Mildenhall would be closing, with the 67th SOS relocating to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.[10] After a prolonged assessment on the future of Mildenhall, the Department of Defense revealed on 29 July 2020 that the decision on Mildenhall would be reversed,[11] while Spangdahlem Air Base would lose its flying mission with the relocation of the 480th Fighter Squadron to Aviano Air Base, Italy.[12]

On 31 October 2020, the Night Owls participated in the successful rescue of 27 year-old hostage Philip Warton in Nigeria.[13]


  • Constituted as the 67th Air Rescue Squadron on 17 October 1952
Activated on 14 November 1952
Discontinued and inactivated on 18 March 1960
  • Activated on 10 May 1961 (not active)
Organized on 18 June 1961
Redesignated 67th Air Recovery Squadron on 1 August 1965
Redesignated 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron on 8 January 1966
Redesignated 67th Special Operations Squadron on 1 June 1988[1]


  • 9th Air Rescue Group, 14 Nov 1952 (attached to Third Air Force after 15 November 1953)
  • Air Rescue Service, 24 Jun 1958–18 March 1960
  • Military Air Transport Service, 10 May 1961 (not organized)
  • Air Rescue Service (later Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service), 18 June 1961
  • Atlantic Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Center (later, 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing), 8 April 1967
  • 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing (later 39th Special Operations Wing), 17 May 1973 (under operational control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 12–27 June 1976, attached to Joint Special Operations Task Force: 13 January–18 March 1991, 6 April–10 June 1991)
  • 352d Special Operations Group, 1 December 1992 (attached to Joint Special Operations Task Force, 2 March–12 July 1993)[1]
  • 752d Special Operations Group,[citation needed]


  • RAF Sculthorpe, England, 14 November 1952
  • Prestwick Airport, Scotland, 7 November 1953–18 March 1960
  • Prestwick Airport, Scotland, 18 June 1961
  • Moron Air Base, Spain, 1 July 1966
  • RAF Woodbridge, England, 15 January 1970 (deployed at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, 13–27 June 1976; Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, 13 January–18 March 1991 and 6 April–10 June 1991)
  • RAF Alconbury, England, 1 April 1992 (deployed at Brindisi Air Base, Italy and Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, 2 March–12 July 1993)
  • RAF Mildenhall, England, 17 February 1995 – present[1]


Aircraft operated include:[1]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Robertson, Patsy (20 June 2011). "Factsheet 67 Special Operations Squadron (AFSOC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Endicott, p. 630
  3. ^ "Approved insignia for: 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron". National Archives Catalog. 4 February 1986. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Factsheets : 352nd Special Operations Group". Air Force Special Operations Command. 2012. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b "67th Special Operations Squadron". globalsecurity.org. 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ "RAF Mildenhall History". Royal Air Force Mildenhall. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  7. ^ Pike, John (14 February 2000). "MC-130P Combat Shadow -HC-130P/N Combat Shadow - HC-130P". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  8. ^ Zachary, Stacia (17 June 2013). "352nd SOG welcomes MC-130J". Royal Air Force Mildenhall. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  9. ^ "The Last Shadow – MC-130P Retirement". AeroResource. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  10. ^ "USAF to pull out of airbases at Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth". BBC News. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  11. ^ "RAF Mildenhall: Reprieve for US air base destined to close". BBC News. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  12. ^ "US to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany in 'strategic' move". BBC News. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  13. ^ Trevithick, Joseph (31 October 2020). "SEAL Team Six Executes Long Distance Rescue Operation Of Kidnapped American In Nigeria (Updated)". The Drive. Retrieved 19 November 2020.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.