Historic squadron’s legacy continues
USAF photo: Senior Airman Matthew Loken Lieutenant Col. Justin Hoffman salutes the airmen of the newly activated 34th Special Operations Squadron after assuming command April 9. During the ceremony the 1st Special Operations Group reactivated and redesignated the 34th Troop Carrier Squadron as the 34th Special Operations Squadron and Hoffman was named commander, continuing a legacy that began more than 65 years ago.
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. — In a combined ceremony April 9, the 1st Special Operations Group reactivated and redesignated the 34th Troop Carrier Squadron as the 34th Special Operations Squadron and Lt. Col. Justin Hoffman was named commander, continuing a legacy that began more than 65 years ago.
“Due to the unprecedented success and insatiable demand of the U-28 and the 319th Special Operations Squadron, a new squadron is needed in order to maintain and carry on the tradition of excellence bestowed by the 319th Special Operations Squadron,” said Col. Buck Elton, 1st Special Operations Group commander.
When units are inactivated, it’s done to preserve their heritage and honor, said Elton. When reactivated, the new unit inherits that history with the expectation that it will carry on that tradition of excellence.
Since its activation Oct. 1, 2005, the 319th SOS and its airmen have flown the U-28 every hour for the past 1433 days in deployed locations across the world, and grown from 32 aircrew members to more than 230 today. After only five years, the U-28 is scheduled to fly its 100,000th hour of flight later this week.
“I am humbled and honored to stand here before you to the day as the commander of the 34th SOS,” said Hoffman, former 319th director of operations. “The key to our future success in this squadron must be a solid commitment for our services core values: integrity, service and excellence.”
initially designated the 34th Transport Squadron in 1942, the squadron was charged with flying C-47 Skytrains. It played a vital role during the D-day invasion June 6th, 1944, when it inserted more than 800 paratroopers into enemy territory.
Later, it was redesignated and reactivated as the 34th Troop Carrier Squadron, flying aerial support missions during the Korean War.
Today, after 55 years, that legacy of combat missions and deployments continue.
“Even as we stand here with a squadron just minutes old, airmen of the 34th are flying combat missions in support of servicemembers in deployed locations around the world,” said Hoffman. “The dedication demonstrated by today’s generation of airmen and their families truly makes them the greatest generation in my eyes.”