Story by SrA Rachel Yates on 06/24/2019HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. Hundreds of Air Commandos, families and friends gathered to welcome the new commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing during an assumption of command ceremony, here, today.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, introduced U.S. Air Force Col. Matt Allen as the newest and fifth wing commander of the sole Special Tactics wing in the Air Force.
Since April 2018, when the 24th SOW had their last change of command, Special Tactics operators have conducted 264 combat missions, controlled over 500 aircraft and removed more than 730 enemies from the battlefield. Webb commended their efforts.
"To the 24 SOW, particularly, this is the message you guys continually impress. You lead this command, AFSOC, in many ways," Webb said. "This [major command] is drafting off the intellectual energy of this wing, and I am not ashamed to say that. Actually, you're making us that much better."
As the commander of the 24th SOW and roughly 2,500 Airmen, Allen is responsible for preparing Special Tactics forces to conduct global air, space, and cyber-enabled special operations across the spectrum of conflict to prepare for, fight, and win our nation's wars.
"This is about putting the right person at the right place in the right time, and that person is Col. Matt Allen," Webb said. "Matt, of course you are going to command during interesting times. You will lead your charges while you balance the demands of the present, counter [violent extremist organizations], with what is frankly, right on our door step or what will be in the future, and is expressed in the National Defense Strategy great powers competition."
Prior to assuming command of the 24th SOW, Allen was the commander of the 720th Special Tactics Group, here.
Over a 20-year career, Allen has served in three Special Tactics Squadrons as Team Leader, Director of Operations, and Commander. Colonel Allen has led and participated in joint special operations in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM-Trans Sahara.
"I am proud and humbled to be here," Allen said. "Immensely proud of this organization and our professional standards and incredibly humbled at the enormity of the task that lies ahead of us."
Air Force Special Tactics is the most highly decorated community in the Air Force since the end of the Vietnam War and has received one Medal of Honor, nine Air Force Crosses, 46 Silver Stars, nearly 650 Bronze Stars medals (more than 50 with valor), and hundreds of Purple Hearts.
"Our men and women provide access, strike, recovery, and battlefield surgery across the spectrum of conflict, and foundational to this, is mission command," Allen said. "The joint team depends on us to get it right the first time, every time, and we will continue to deliver."