Cannon welcomes new special tactics squadron
By Senior Airman Eboni Reece, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 24, 2014
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The activation of the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, formerly Detachment 1 of the 720th Special Tactics Group, Hurlburt Field, Fla., was commemorated by a ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., April 24.
As the first special tactics squadron to be affiliated with the base, no ordinary squadron activation ceremony would suffice. In true special tactics fashion, the arrival of the official party was preceded by members of the squadron parachuting in from an MC-130J Commando II onto the base flightline. Spectators squinted and guarded their eyes from the sun to watch each member parachute to a safe landing.
"The significance of today's events is to stand up a unit that is built for worldwide combat - one that is comprised of members prepared to fight and win our nation's wars," explained the presiding officer, Col. Kurt Buller, 720 STG commander.
The squadron is comprised of four special tactics operator career fields to include combat control, pararescue, tactical air control party and special operations weather.. To provide technical expertise and mission critical assistance to special tactics warriors, the unit also includes personnel from 18 combat mission support Air Force Specialty Codes.
The Air Force Special Tactics community is some of the Air Force's most highly trained and elite forces. Special Tactics Airmen typically deploy alongside Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces and are the US military's premiere air-to-ground integration force. Having been in almost every major operation since 9/11, they are the most decorated Air Force community since the end of the Vietnam War.
The 26 STS will organize, train and equip special tactics forces for worldwide deployment.
"The members of the 26 STS want to train with Cannon's aircraft and personnel and then eventually deploy to complete special operations missions together," stated Buller.
After expressing his confidence in Maj. Michael Jensen's ability to effectively lead the squadron and his desire to increase the bond between Special Tactics and Cannon assets, Buller activated the squadron and placed Jensen in command.
Once officially activated, the squadron emblem was unveiled by the unit's junior member, Senior Airman Thomas Jara, 26 STS client systems technician. The emblem's significance was explained to the audience before Jensen thanked his Special Tactics unit and addressed all others in attendance.
"Activating this unit marks the beginning of what we set forth to accomplish," said Jensen. "This squadron's mission is to build indomitable, professional special operators and get them face-to-face with our nation's enemies. God willing, the 26 STS will accomplish this mission at any cost. Victory or death!"
After a deserving standing ovation, the ceremony concluded with Jensen inviting those in attendance to join the 26 STS members in the performance of ten memorial pushups honoring deployed members and fallen comrades.