A rare shot of a C-41A, believed to be assigned to the 427th Special Operations Squadron, at Andrews Air Force Base in 1993.
The Drive: Shedding Some Light On The Pentagon's Most Shadowy Aviation Units
When officials in Washington need air support for the most complex and secretive military missions, this is who they call in.
On May 2, 2011, a group of special operators from the top secret Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) descended on an unassuming compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In an ensuing fire-fight, members of SEAL Team Six shot and killed infamous Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Due to an accident during the operation, the elite troops had to leave behind evidence of previously unknown stealthy transport helicopter, likely related at least in part to the ubiquitous UH-60 Black Hawk.
The incident offered a rare window into the activities of the U.S. military’s most secret aviators and a look at their unique aircraft. Although the secretive 160th Special Operations Air Regiment, otherwise known as the "Nightstalkers," may get all the attention, layers of clandestine units far more obscure exist. Some of them are silently blazing the path for special operations aviation's future.
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WNU editor: Someone has to fly the military's special operators .... and I am not surprised that they are probably just as highly trained as the men that they are transporting.