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Two special operations Osprey squadrons stand up at Yokota AB

The Air Force has activated two new special operations squadrons in Japan that will operate and maintain the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

The Air Force Special Operations Command’s 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base in Japan stood up the 21st Special Operations Squadron and the 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Monday at at Yokota Air Base.

The aircraft, designed to carry out infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces, are stationed at Yokota to enhance security, disaster preparedness, and emergency airlift capability in crisis situations, according to the Air Force Special Operations Command.

“The Air Commandos that will fly, maintain and support this mission will deliver a one-of-a-kind, vertical-lift capability unmatched by other fixed- or rotary-wing platforms,” Air Force Special Operations commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife said in a statement Monday. “This platform’s combination of speed, range and operational flexibility affords U.S. Indo-Pacific Command unparalleled special operations capabilities in the region as part of America’s commitment to Japan’s defense and regional peace and security as outlined in our National Defense Strategy.”

The 21st Special Operation Squadron last had an active assignment from 1988-2007. Lt. Col. Jason Hock, 21st Special Operations Squadron commander, said the squadron was thrilled to continue the unit’s legacy.

“The Air Commandos of this squadron are so proud to carry forward the legacy of those that came before us,” Hock said in a statement. “We will deliver an unmatched capability to the theater and do it safely and in cooperation with our Japanese and regional partners.”

The release did not disclose how many personnel were assigned to the units, but Stars & Stripes reported that during the ceremony Monday, Hock said the long-term goal is to have 10 Ospreys supported by 450 personnel at Yokota.

Although the CV-22 Ospreys have attracted scrutiny from those who live near Yokota Air Base for the noise they produce, Hock said that the units will avoid disrupting nearby residents.

“We are not here to make a lot of noise,” Hock said, according to Stars & Stripes. “We are not here to disturb anyone. We will take off out of Yokota and go to our approved training areas.”

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