The US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has launched two new squadrons to operate and maintain CV-22 Ospreys at Yokota Air Base (AB), Japan.
The 21st Special Operations Squadron (SOS) and 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were activated by the 353rd Special Operations Group stationed at Kadena AB, Japan.
Yokota AB serves as the main airlift hub for peacetime and contingency operations in the Western Pacific region.
Forward-basing the CV-22 multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft at the airbase will enable greater security, disaster preparedness, and emergency airlift capability during crisis situations.
AFSOC commander lieutenant general Jim Slife said: “The air commandos that will fly, maintain and support this mission will deliver a one-of-a-kind, vertical-lift capability unmatched by other fixed or rotary-wing platforms.
“This platform’s combination of speed, range and operational flexibility affords US Indo-Pacific Command unparalleled special operations capabilities in the region as part of America’s commitment to Japan’s defence and regional peace and security as outlined in our National Defense Strategy.”
The last active assignment of the 21st SOS was from 1988-2007 when the unit operated the now-retired MH-53s.
The 21st SOS is responsible for the execution of rapid global response supporting infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces in defence of Japan.
21st SOS commander lieutenant colonel Jason Hock said: “The air commandos of this squadron are so proud to carry forward the legacy of those that came before us.
“We will deliver an unmatched capability to the theatre and do it safely and in cooperation with our Japanese and regional partners.”
The permanent basing status for CV-22s assigned to Yokota AB was approved in 2018. The first five aircraft arrived at the base in the early half of 2018.