193rd SOW transitions mission


The 193rd Special Operations Wing is the first – and currently the only – Air National Guard unit to receive the MC-130J Commando II mission. The Commando II mission is a core, flagship mission of Air Force Special Operations Command, and one that requires highly skilled and qualified Airmen to execute. The MC-130J mission will ensure the 193rd SOW remains not only relevant, but also at the forefront of the battlespace for years to come.



What’s unique about this?

The 193rd Special Operations Wing is the first – and currently the only – Air National Guard unit with an MC-130J Commando II mission.


Why is the wing transitioning?

The EC-130J Commando Solo’s mission focused primarily on conducting information operations via broadcasts in FM, TV and military communications bands. Although effective in the past, it may no longer be the primary way an intended audience gets its messaging. Also, it’s getting harder to find replacement parts. The robust and relevant capabilities of the MC-130J Commando IIs put the 193rd SOW at the forefront of the battlespace to meet today’s special operations needs.


How will the new mission be different?

The MC-130J Commando II flies clandestine – or low visibility – single or multi-ship, low-level infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces, by airdrop or airland and air refueling missions for special operations helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, intruding politically sensitive or hostile territories.


The MC-130J primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats. Its secondary mission includes the airdrop of leaflets.


How will this new mission affect personnel?

The transition should result in a net neutral change in aircraft and manpower numbers. There are two Air Force specialty codes identified that are going away at the wing. At the same time, there are some new opportunities available for Airmen who want to explore those.


There are approximately 95 Airmen who will require retraining either into a new job or to be proficient in their current job on the new aircraft. Wing leaders are making every effort to provide a soft landing for anyone who needs to retrain.


The wing hosted a job fair at its base in Middletown in August 2022 to allow Airmen to explore their options at the wing. That included opportunities at the wing's geographically separated units in State College and at Fort Indiantown Gap.


It’s an exciting time to be – or become – a part of this wing.


When is the wing making the transition?

The wing commemorated the sunset of the EC-130J Commando Solo mission with a final broadcast during the Community Days Air Show event Sept. 17, 2022, at Lancaster Airport. Over the course of the next year, the EC-130Js will be converted to C-130Js and gradually redistributed to other major commands and joint partners.


The first MC-130J Commando IIs are set to arrive at the wing in 2023. During this time, wing personnel will be hyper-focused and vigilant with training on the new mission. It will likely take more than a year for the whole process of divestment of the EC-130Js and acquisition of the MC-130Js to be completed.


What will happen to the EC-130J aircraft?

Based on the wing’s seven EC-130 aircraft being "J" models with relatively low flight hours, all seven aircraft are being retained as C-130s and distributed to other major commands and joint partners.


Is there any economic impact to the local community?

This mission conversion should not lower the current economic impact of the installation. The transition should result in a net neutral change in manpower.

The unit will fly fewer missions out of Harrisburg International Airport.

  • EC-130J ~11 sorties/wk – MC-130J ~6 sorties/wk

  • Little change to current airspace use

There should be a negligible impact to the environment. A thorough environmental impact analysis was concluded July 21, 2022, and determined there is little to no impact to air, water, soil, noise and wildlife.


Will this lead to more deployments?

Changing aircraft doesn’t directly lead to more or fewer deployments, only the capabilities that the unit brings to the table when the nation calls upon it. The wing will continue to provide forces ready to generate advantage in competition, enable the joint force in conflict, and respond to crises while remaining engaged in countering violent extremist organizations.

  • Outgoing chief bids farewell, offers leadership insight

    To begin, I would like to thank all the officers, senior non-commissioned officers, NCOs and Airmen of the 193rd Special Operations Wing for their tireless efforts to fly and support the mission. The unit’s more than 225,000 safe flying hours are a testament to your dedication and sacrifices to keep

  • 193rd Special Operations Wing preps for mission conversion

    The 193rd Special Operations Wing is undergoing a substantial transformation of its primary mission. The wing is transitioning from its legacy EC-130J Commando Solo aircraft to the MC-130J Commando II. To prepare for this historic shift, the wing hosted a National Guard Bureau-led Site Activation


In 1968, an EC-121 Coronet Solo was delivered here, marking the beginning of the 193rd SOW mission of transmitting radio and television signals from aircraft to ground. For more than 54 years, the quiet professionals of the 193rd have carried out this mission with distinction.