“Today we recognize the end of a tremendous era under the 720th Special Tactics Group and the start of an exciting opportunity as part of the 724th Special Tactics Group,” said Lt. Col. Travis Deutman, 17th STS commander. “Reassignment is nothing new for the 17th (STS).”
In August 2013, the squadron, originally known as the 17th Air Operations Support Squadron, was re-designated as the 17th STS by then-Col. Robert Armfield, the 24th SOWs first wing commander. This time around, Col. Matt Allen, the current 24th SOW commander, presided over the ceremony and presentation of the new guidon.
“The 17th STS continues to forge its voice as one of the premiere units within Air Force Special Operations Command and the United States Air Force,” Allen said. “I want to thank the individuals within this unit who have built this legacy of honor and valor.”
The primary mission of the 17th STS is to provide Special Tactics Tactical Air Control Party Airmen to the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment for unconventional operations and the transition will provide further opportunities to continue supporting the regiment.
“We look forward to continuing steadfast fires and reconnaissance support to the Ranger mission and its objectives,” Deutman said. “Reassignment to the (724th Special Tactics Group) will realize synergies, efficiencies and unity of command to push our operational alignment with the ranger regiment to the next level.”
The 724th STG is one of two subordinate groups under the 24th SOW, which provides training and technical assistance in the development of tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure standardization across the AFSOC Special Tactics community.
“The (17th STS) has always been part of the family, but this will put them in the right organizational construct to become even more effective,” said Col. Mark McGill, 724th STG commander. “It’s all about optimizing our ability to train as well as generate mission effectiveness and this is a necessary step to actualize that.”
The 17th STS is geographically separated in three locations so the unit can train and deploy alongside all five of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s 75th Ranger Regiment battalions. The squadron is headquartered at Fort Benning, Georgia, alongside the Regimental Headquarters, 3rd Ranger Battalion, Regimental Special Troops Battalion, and Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion. Two operational detachments are located at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, alongside the 1st Ranger Battalion, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, alongside the 2nd Ranger Battalion. The unit’s physical locations will remain the same through the transition.
“While a lot might be changing, I can guarantee the commitment, professionalism and excellence of the 17th STS members will remain,” Deutman said.
Another aspect which will remain is the application process for future Special Tactics TACP candidates looking to join the 17th STS community of warriors. The 24th SOW will continue to host assessment and selection iterations for Special Tactics TACPs at Hurlburt Field, Florida, hand-selecting the most skilled operators to carry out the wing’s special operations precision strike mission.
“You have furthered the reach of America’s combat power,” Allen said. “You’ve held at bay violent extremist organizations and state actors as they challenge us from abroad, and you have kept a promise to Americans … especially to our joint teammates, that no matter where they are on the battlespace, they will never be outmatched.”
Air Force Special Tactics is U.S. Special Operations Command‘s air-ground integration force and the Air Force’s ground force specializing in global access, precision strike, personnel recovery and battlefield surgery operations.
For anyone wanting more information on how to join the 17th Special Tactics Squadron, email SDScreening@jdi.socom.mil.