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Earning a new name

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Nathan Scopac, 9th Special Operations Squadron commander, renders a salute to squadron formation during a redesignation ceremony Dec. 9, 2014 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Members of Team Cannon came to support the Air Commandos of the newly-minted squadron as they embraced their notable heritage and eagerly await the chance to demonstrate capabilities under their new name. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chip Slack)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Nathan Scopac, 9th Special Operations Squadron commander, renders a salute to squadron formation during a redesignation ceremony Dec. 9, 2014 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Members of Team Cannon came to support the Air Commandos of the newly-minted squadron as they embraced their notable heritage and eagerly await the chance to demonstrate capabilities under their new name. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chip Slack)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Members of the 27th Special Operations Wing attended a re-designation ceremony Dec. 9 to transition the 522nd Special Operations Squadron to the 9th Special Operations Squadron.  

 

While this event commemorated the closing of one chapter, members of Team Cannon came to support the Air Commandos of the newly-minted squadron as they embraced their notable heritage and eagerly await the chance to demonstrate capabilities under their new name.  

 

Lt. Col. Nathan Scopac, 9 SOS commander, spoke directly to his troops, as well as those in attendance, on the importance of this change and how he plans to enhance the legacy of the squadron.     

 

“The 9 SOS has a long and illustrious history starting as a bomber squadron, transitioning to an Air Commando squadron and finally maturing into a special operations squadron,” Scopac said. “One thing is clear: the men and women of the 9 SOS have acted with extreme professional dedication and expertise to the mission at hand, whether it was delivering a veil of security for the nation as a bomber unit, or providing covert and clandestine support to special operations personnel.” 

 

The proud heritage that accompanies the 9 SOS speaks volumes to Air Commando dedication to the mission. Through multiple deployments, the men and women of the 9 SOS have maintained an almost continuous presence in the Middle East, proving to be the only unit in Air Force Special Operations Command history to be simultaneously deployed in both operations Northern and Southern Watch, which provided combat search and rescue coverage for the coalition no-fly zones.  

 

“The mantra of this MC-130J squadron is that we stand on the shoulders of giants,” Scopac said. “We have large shoes to fill.  Becoming the 9 SOS reminds us of this fact and any one of the over 20 campaign streamers attached to the guidon that have been so reverently presented can tell the story of mission execution, deployed hardship and time away from loved ones; in short, the life of an Air Commando.”   

During the years surrounding a post-9/11 Air Force, the 9 SOS matured into a truly elite fighting force. Having endured countless deployments and thousands of flying hours, the 9 SOS proved that it is the unit of choice for clandestine air refueling, rapid resupply, psychological warfare and special operations support.  

Turning his attention away from those in attendance and speaking directly to his airmen, Scopac addressed the formation before him.  

“You are a much smaller formation than is typical of a ceremony like this; like many AFSOC units, almost half of our squadron is currently deployed,” he stated. “You have just heard this is not the first time the 9 SOS has faced similar challenges. I am humbled to lead this historic unit, confident the men and women I see before me today are ready to be called ‘Night Wings’.” 

As he left the podium, and the applause died down, Lt. Col. Nathan Scopac gave his first official command to the squadron. 

“Replace the patch!”