An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

859th SOS, TFI partners reach milestone in Wolfhound

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Dylan Gentile
  • 919th Special Operations Wing

Aviators and aircraft maintainers who support the C-146A Wolfhound mission celebrated a major milestone April 5, 2024, surpassing 200,000 flying hours while meeting Air Force Special Operations Command’s global mobility requirements.  

Aircrew from the Active Duty’s 524th Special Operations Squadron, and their Reserve counterparts in the 859th SOS, recognized the significance of the achievement while also thanking those who made the occasion possible.    

“These aircraft are doing the mission every day operating from locations all over the world, racking up hours,” said Lt. Col. Michael Clapp, 859th SOS assistant director of operations. “I think this milestone is pretty significant. I would love to get to 300,000 hours in [the Wolfhound].”

Leadership from both squadrons came together with contractors from Sierra Nevada Company, who maintain the aircraft, in recognition of the milestone.

The respective organizations filled up a hangar where they discussed their feats onboard the Wolfhound and the camaraderie they’ve formed along the way. A representative from SNC gifted lithographs featuring the plane to the squadrons to show appreciation for the mission.

“The entire community came together in one place to honor the feat which made it special for everyone,” said Emily Smithwick, 524th SOS resource advisor. “No one knew how long this program was going to last, so hitting 200,000 flying hours is a really big deal.”

The C-146A primarily serves as a troop carrier and has austere international destinations. The aircraft can carry a maximum of 27 passengers, 6,000 pounds of cargo, or up to four litters for medical evacuation patients. It arrived at Duke Field in 2012, and according to event attendees, it took some time for others to appreciate the aircraft's strategic capabilities and cement it within Air Force Special Operations Command inventory.

The April 5th date was especially exciting to the aviators. On top of their new milestone, the ribbon was cut on their new state-of-the-art non-standard aviation facility at Duke Field. With the finishing touches complete, Air Commandos from the 524tht SOS and their 859th SOS counterparts could begin moving into the space and working together.

“It’s not every day you hit 200,000 flying hours, but doing it with these people at this time was awesome,” said Smithwick. “I’m stoked, [working with the Wolfhound] was a huge opportunity for my family and me to be a part of this community. Getting to stay here and be at Duke has been great.”