4 inch 17th Special Operations Squadron Patch – Sew On
The 17th Special Operations Squadron (17 SOS) is part of the United States Air Force 353d Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It operates MC-130J Commando II aircraft providing special operations capability. Air crews are specially trained in day and night, low-level delivery of troops and equipment via airdrop or airland operations and flying using night vision goggles.
The squadron traces its lineage back to the 17th Observation Squadron, constituted and activated in 1942 during World War II. After being redesignated as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment), the squadron flew North American B-25 Mitchells in the New Guinea campaign, the Philippines Campaign, and over Japan on armed reconnaissance missions. The 17th was inactivated after the end of the war. It was reactivated and inactivated unmanned as the 17th Liaison Squadron in the early 1950s. The 17th Special Operations Squadron was activated in 1969 to provide AC-119G Shadow gunship air support during the Vietnam War. It was inactivated in 1971 with the drawdown of United States forces in Vietnam. During the 1980s the lineages of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment), 17th Liaison Squadron, and the 17th Special Operations Squadron were consolidated as the 17th Special Operations Squadron, and it was activated in 1989 at Kadena.