Hurlburt Field is a United States Air Force installation located near Mary Esther, Florida, in the northwestern part of the state. It is situated about 8 miles west of Fort Walton Beach and is part of the larger Eglin Air Force Base complex. Hurlburt Field serves as the headquarters for the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and is primarily focused on special operations missions and training.
As the headquarters for AFSOC, Hurlburt Field plays a critical role in organizing, training, and equipping Air Force special operations forces. These specialized forces are trained to conduct a wide range of missions, including unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, direct action, special reconnaissance, and psychological operations.
The installation is home to several specialized units, including the 1st Special Operations Wing (1 SOW), which is responsible for executing AFSOC’s global missions. The 1 SOW operates a variety of aircraft, such as the AC-130 gunship, MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle, and various specialized helicopters.
Hurlburt Field’s facilities include operational and support buildings, aircraft hangars, training ranges, a medical clinic, housing areas for military personnel and their families, and recreational amenities. The base also has a runway and airfield capable of accommodating various aircraft used by special operations forces.
The proximity to the Gulf of Mexico provides unique training opportunities for special operations forces, including amphibious operations, maritime interdiction, and close air support for naval operations. Hurlburt Field frequently conducts joint training exercises with other military branches and allied nations to enhance interoperability and readiness.
Beyond its military operations, Hurlburt Field actively engages with the local community through outreach programs, community partnerships, and support for charitable events. The base contributes to the local economy by providing employment opportunities and contracts with local businesses.
Hurlburt Field is renowned for its role in special operations and remains a vital asset for the United States Air Force in executing unconventional and highly specialized missions around the world.