21st Special Tactics Squadron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
21st Special Tactics Squadron
Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01 150413-F-NA975-1098.jpg
A squadron combat controller supporting a cargo and personnel airdrop during an exercise
Active 1984–1993; 1996–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Special Operations
Part of Shield of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command.svg Air Force Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ Pope Army Airfield
Motto(s) First There (1988-1993)
Engagements Persian Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Gallant Unit Citation
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Commanders
Current
commander
Maj. Randy Harvey[1]
Insignia
21st Special Tactics Squadron emblem (approved 18 March 1999)[2] 21st Special Tactics Squadron insignia.jpg
1721st Combat Control Squadron emblem (approved c. April 1988) 1721 Combat Control Sq emblem.png

The 21st Special Tactics Squadron is one of the special tactics units of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command. It is garrisoned at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina.[3]

Mission[edit]

Media related to 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Wikimedia Commons

Special Tactics Squadrons are organized, trained and equipped specifically for various special operations missions facilitating air operations on the battlefield. They conduct combat search and rescue missions, collect intelligence, as well as call in close air support or airstrikes against enemy combatants and are often partnered with other U.S. special operations forces overseas.[3]

Lineage[edit]

  • Designated as the 1721st Combat Control Squadron and activated on 1 July 1984
Redesignated 624th Combat Control Squadron on 1 June 1992
Inactivated 1 October 1993
  • Redesignated 21st Special Tactics Squadron on 1 May 1996 and activated[2]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

  • Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina , 1 July 1984–1 October 1993
  • Pope Air Force Base (later Pope Army Airfield), 1 May 1996 – present[2]

Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 20 December 1989 - 9 January 1990 1721st Combat Control Squadron[2]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 September 2001 - 31 August 2003 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
GUC Streamer.JPG Gallant Unit Citation 1 January 2006 - 31 December 2007 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 July 2006 – 31 May 2008 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1985 - 30 June 1987 1721st Combat Control Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 1995 - 31 July 1997 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 1997 - 31 July 1999 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2012 - 30 September 2014 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer SAS.PNG Defense of Saudi Arabia 2 August 1990-16 January 1991 1721st Combat Control Squadron[2]
Streamer SAS.PNG Liberation and Defense of Kuwait 17 January 1991-11 April 1991 1721st Combat Control Squadron[2]
Iraq Campaign streamer (USMC).png Consolidation II 1 November 2006-30 November 2006 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Iraq Campaign streamer (USMC).png Consolidation III 1 December 2006-30 June 2011 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Iraq Campaign streamer (USMC).png Iraqi Sovereignty 1 January 2009-31 August 2010 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]
Iraq Campaign streamer (USMC).png New Dawn 1 September 2010-31 December 2011 21st Special Tactics Squadron[2]

Notable members[edit]

Rhyner on patrol with an Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan.
  • Senior Airman Zachary Rhyner, a Combat Controller, was the first living recipient of the Air Force Cross in the Global War on Terror. He was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions during the Battle of Shok Valley on 6 April 2008 in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.[4] According to the citation, during the battle he directed Close air support and Airstrikes totalling 4,570 cannon rounds, nine Hellfire missiles, 162 rockets, a dozen 500-pound bombs and one 2,000-pound bomb.[5] As a result of the same battle ten U.S. Army soldiers, nine Special Forces and one Combat Cameraman, received the Silver Star.[6]
  • Senior Airman Dustin Temple, a Combat Controller, received the Air Force Cross for his actions during a 48-hour battle September 27–29, 2014 against Taliban forces in the Kajaki district of Helmand province. He was attached to U.S. Army Special Forces team from the 7th Special Forces Group with two other 21st STS members and accompanied by Afghan commandos. Temple called in dozens of airstrikes from various aircraft, among them, F-16s, AH-1s, AC-130s and an MQ-1. Over the course of the battle he controlled 28 helicopters and 20 fixed wing aircraft in a total of 26 engagements. After 45 hours of fighting a resupply helicopter dropped critically needed ammunition to the U.S. and Afghan forces. Temple and two other teammates braved enemy fire across open terrain multiple times to recover the ammunition. The Army team-leader Captain Evan Lacenski carried a critically wounded Green Beret over 300 meters in open terrain to the MEDEVAC helicopter. He was credited with saving 80 lives as a result of his actions. Along with Temple receiving the Air Force Cross, the other two STS members received the Silver Star for their actions during the battle.[7][8][9]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Barnes, Marc. "21st STS welcomes Harvey as new commander". 43d Air Mobility Operations Group. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Dollman, David (18 October 2016). "21 Special Tactics Squadron (AFSOC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "720th Special Tactics Group". Air Force Special Operations Command. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Valor awards for Zachary J. Rhyner". Military Times Hall of Valor. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Lyle, Amaani (11 March 2009). "Combat controller receives Air Force Cross, Purple Heart". Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Cavallaro, Gina (15 December 2008). "Valor of combat cameraman earns him Silver Star". Army Times. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Valor awards for Dustin H. Temple". Military Times Hall of Valor. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  8. ^ Lamothe, Dan (5 May 2015). "These U.S. airmen refused to be taken hostage in Afghanistan. Now they'll get valor awards." Washington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  9. ^ Everstine, Brian (11 May 2015). "The heroics behind combat controller's Air Force Cross, Silver Stars". Air Force Times. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

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