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58th SOW welcomes AC-130J training mission to Kirtland

Large military aircraft coming in for a landing

The AC-130J is a highly modified C-130J capable of extremely accurate navigation due to the fully integrated navigation systems with dual inertial navigation systems and global positioning system. Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., has been selected for the relocation of the AC-130J Ghostrider Formal Training Unit from Hurlburt Field, Fla. scheduled to begin the summer of 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

The 58th Special Operations Wing here has been named by the Air Force as the preferred location for the relocation of the AC-130J Formal Training Unit. Currently at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Air Force officials plan to move seven aircraft and 372 positions here, beginning in fiscal year 2023. 

The move realigns AC-130J training efforts under Air Education and Training Command, from Air Force Special Operations Command, and consolidates the initial and mission qualification training at Kirtland for AC-130J aircrews.  AC-130J aircraft are fixed-wing gunship variants of the C-130.

The 58th SOW is honored and excited to take on the full training for the AC-130J mission,” Col. Michael Curry, 58th SOW commander, said. “We look forward to continuing to build future quiet professionals for Air Force Special Operations Command, ready for whatever mission may come…anytime, anywhere.”

The 58th SOW’s mission is to train Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Specialists, provide SERE training to at-risk personnel, train mission-ready special operations, rescue, distinguished visitor airlift, advanced helicopter, A/H/MC-130J aircrew students – a training pipeline that provides combat aircrew for global missions.

Air Force officials must complete an environmental impact analysis before a final basing decision is announced.

“The realignment of these aircraft and positions, synchronizes our training,” Curry said. “Developing the Airmen that the Air Force needs is critical to the readiness of our forces and national security.”

Members of the wing currently provide SERE training, undergraduate, graduate and refresher aircrew training for special operations, rescue, missile site support and distinguished visitor airlift helicopter, fixed-wing, and tilt-rotor operations. More than 10,000 aircrew are trained annually at the 58th SOW.