RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa commander visited U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to the 352nd Special Operations Wing, based at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, July 15, 2019.
During the visit, Harrigian expressed his views on the strategic role RAF Mildenhall plays in Europe, and the importance of the relationship between our allies throughout the region. He introduced his three priorities as the new USAFE-AFAFRICA commander – readiness, posture and partnerships.
“The world is ever-evolving right now, and as a premier fighting force, we must all be prepared to meet any new challenges that come our way,” Harrigian said. “The training our men and women receive sends a message to our adversaries that we mean business. Our ability to win the fight is heightened by strengthening our partnerships through various exercises and a shared common goal.”
As a part of his visit on RAF Mildenhall, Air Commandos provided various briefs on the 352 SOW mission and capabilities within the six squadrons and two of Air Force Special Command’s aircraft, the MC-130J Commando II and the CV-22B Osprey.
“The 352nd SOW is an essential part of Air Force Special Operations Command,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Andrews, command chief of the 352nd SOW. “Our forward location in the European Theatre gives us the ability to integrate global access capabilities and partner with USAFE to develop best TTP’s and mutual support arrangements.”
The 352nd SOW plans and performs specialized operations using advanced aircraft, tactics, and provides tilt-rotor aircraft aerial refueling and special operations weather capabilities.
One of those unique capabilities of the 352 SOW includes assessing, securing, and controlling airspace on a forward arming and refueling point mission with various aircraft across the European theater.
This capability falls directly in line with Harrigian’s discussion on the importance and uniqueness of the only permanent air refueling mission in Europe and Africa.
“Our FARP mission enhances readiness across both SOW and USAFE enterprises and demonstrates a rapid response to any regional aggression. As the only Air Force special operations unit in European Command, it is our job to ensure we are trained and ready any time, any place, said Andrews.”