As a former Helo Aircrew SAR swimmer (before I went to BUD/S) I recognize the importance of the Navy’s helo support mission with regards to over water flights.  TF 160 is bad ass, but Navy pilots are used to flying in adverse maritime conditions and that’s an important skill, especially when supporting the SEAL mission.  Aviation plays a huge role in the SOF mission, so expect to see more on SOF aviation in the future.  Me and the guys are working on building out a special SOF aviation nav feature. More to follow.

Brandon out.

Brandon is a former Navy SEAL, author of The Red Circle and host of’s Kit Up. Click these links to follow Brandon on Twitter and his Facebook page for the latest intel.


By: Naval Special Warfare Command

Acquiring additional rotary wing (RW) support for SOF missions has been a long-standing challenge for U.S. Special Operations Command. In the past, SOF RW support has been handled almost exclusively by the Army “Night Stalkers” of 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). Navy support has been limited, and only the “Firehawks” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HSC) 5 (now disestablished) and the “Red Wolves” of Helicopter Sea Combatant Squadron (HSC) 84 have had any consistency in completing SOF missions in theater.

In 2009, Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander USSOCOM, expressed his concern in a memo to the CNO regarding the “Red Wolves”: “I am deeply concerned that this magnificent operational support has not been institutionalized. To my knowledge, there is no formalized agreement by the Navy to continue or expand RW support for either training or operations. In fact, Naval Special Warfare Command’s validated requirements for Navy RW support are significantly under-resourced. I believe that assigning selected active and reserve

RW assets in direct support of SOF for both training and deployed operations would positively resolve much of the current shortfall.”