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2. AIR / AFRC / Duke Field (Eglin)

Last modified: 11 Apr 2021, submitted by: Joker
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Country: United States    Region: Florida

Locale: Tampa

Latitude: 27° 51' 29" N     Longitude: -83° 30' 0" E

Area use / Military Branches: ACTIVE

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3038'57"N 8631'20"W Duke Field a.k.a. Eglin Auxiliary Field #3,
One of the auxiliary fields built on the Eglin complex in 1941. Field 3 was used as a training base by the Doolittle Raiders in 1942.

In the 1950s, Duke Field became home to the 3205th Drone Group, which operated radio remote-controlled B-17s and F-80s used for gunnery and missile practice over the Gulf of Mexico. They were also used in the nuclear test program by flying the unmanned aircraft through atomic detonation clouds gathering fallout information.

In the 1960's, in preparation for the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Duke Field hosted 'sanitized' Douglas C-54s and Curtiss C-46s used for transporting personnel, armaments and supplies between US bases such as Homestead AFB and Opa-locka Airport and CIA-run bases in Guatemala and latterly Nicaragua.

As of the 1970's Duke Field was one of the fields used for specops training by the 919th Special Operations Group (919 SOG) the only Air Force Reserve AC-130 Spectre gunship unit. The later created Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) claimed 919 SOG and in 1992, the 919 SOG was re-designated as 919th Special Operations Wing. In 1995, the AC-130A aircraft phased out and the 919 SOW converted to MC-130E,Combat Talon I,the current primary model design series (MDS) aircraft operated at Duke Field for worldwide deployment. Also in 1995 the 5th Special Operations Squadron activated at Duke Field and flew MC-130 N/P, Combat Shadow tankers.

In 2000, about 170 active-duty maintainers from the 716 Maintenance Squadron (716 MXS) joined Duke Field. At the time, this symbiotic relationship was unique because it was the only active associate maintenance squadron in the Air Force. They worked in tandem with Air Force Reserve members to provide maintenance support to MC-130E, Combat Talon I aircraft.

So currently still based here: AFRC / 919th Special Operations Wing (SOW)

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