The U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks launched an Air Force special operations unit into more than 6,900 days, or nearly two decades, of continuous deployments and combat operations in the Middle East, officials said. Within weeks of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., the 17th Special Tactics Squadron deployed with Army Rangers on raids into southern Afghanistan on Oct. 19, 2001. Since then, the squadron has had no breaks in deployment. “We fight, bleed and laugh beside [the Rangers],” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Duhon, a tactical air control party operator quoted in last month’s statement. “We win as a team or fail as a team.”….
The Special Tactics community, whose airmen conduct personnel recovery, precision strike missions and battlefield surgery, is the most highly decorated in the Air Force since the Vietnam War.
Excerpt from CHAD GARLAND, Air Force special ops members ‘fight, bleed and laugh’ on nearly 7,000 days of deployments, Stars and Stripes, Sept. 10, 2020