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18th Flight Test Squadron Redesignates as 18th Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron

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  • By Ciara Travis
  • 18 Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron

The 18th Flight Test Squadron was officially redesignated as the 18th Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron during a ceremony here, July 30.

The importance of the name change is twofold. While it more accurately captures the mission of the unit, it also plays a significant role in normalizing the 492nd Special Operations Wing.

The 18th Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron is responsible for overseeing all test activities, including Air Force Special Operations Command’s participation in Air Force and Joint Test and Evaluation assessments.

“Air Commandos, AFSOC-wide, must be sure that their equipment will work correctly the first time, every time,” said Col. Nathan Scopac, 492d Special Operations Training Group commander. “Too many lives lie in the balance.”

The squadron provides recommendations to AFSOC for acquisition and program modification decisions, ultimately improving the survivability and combat capability of Special Operations Forces worldwide.

“In today’s resource constrained environment, it’s incredibly important that we are testing the long term suitability of a subject,” said Scopac. “All government funds, but especially SOF-specific MFP-11 dollars must be used to give the joint warfighter the best bang for the buck.”

To note, the 18th FLTS was the only AFSOC flying squadron that did not have the words “Special Operations” in the title.

“While this is a small change, it belies a significant cultural milestone – that special operations expertise is needed from the beginning to have efficient and effective technology solutions,” said Scopac.

Lastly, this redesignation acts as an additional tie to the Stingers of the 18th Special Operations Squadron, a Vietnam-era gunship squadron.