After the attacks of 9/11, U.S. special operations units were quickly thrust into the fight in Afghanistan. The 75th Ranger Regiment first deployed to Afghanistan in October of 2001. It has been fighting there and in Iraq ever since. A small, specialized unit has been fighting and training alongside them since day one — this unit is the Air Force’s 17th Special Tactics Squadron (STS).

According to an article published on, operators from the 17th STS have deployed over 6,900 days with the 75th.

The 17th STS is comprised of Tactical Air Control Parties (TACPs), Combat Controllers (CCTs), Special Reconnaissance Airmen, Special Tactics Officers, and combat missions support personnel, all of whom have been deployed with Ranger units.

Conveniently, the 17th STS’s headquarters are located right next to the 75th Ranger Regiment’s headquarters and the 3rd Ranger Battalion, in Fort Benning, Georgia. In addition, the 17th has detachments alongside the 1st Ranger Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington with the 2nd Ranger Battalion.