Squadron Officer College
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25 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112

Squadron Officer College Heritage

Air Corps Tactical SchoolSquadron Officer College (SOC) can trace its roots to Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS), which was founded in 1920 at Langley Field, Virginia, and subsequently relocated to Maxwell Field, Alabama, in July 1931. The former ACTS was the cornerstone for all Air Force officer education. In terms of junior officer education, however, Squadron Officer School (SOS) traces its roots more directly to the Air Tactical School (ATS), formerly located at Tyndall Field, Florida. After the creation of AU in 1946, ATS moved to Maxwell Field—later Maxwell AFB—where it continued to produce graduates until it was terminated in 1950, coincidentally with a major force-structure change at the beginning of America’s involvement in the Korean War.

In that same year, Col Russell V. Ritchey founded SOS. Designed as a leadership development center for junior officers, the school blended graduate-level instructional techniques with thrilling experiential activities to teach and reinforce leadership, team building, and critical-thinking skills. In 1959 SOS became a separate AU school, reporting directly to the AU commander. In 1997 the Air Force established the Air and Space Basic Course (ASBC) and graduated its first class of Second Lieutenants in early 1998. ASBC shared Building 1403 with SOS until military construction later expanded classroom space for both schools. In 2000 SOS merged with ASBC under the newly formed SOC, consolidating a common curriculum directorate and mission support staff. In the intervening years, however, the mission of the college expanded significantly to include a variety of tactical and functional lessons far beyond the founder’s intent. In 2009, the college initiated a massive overhaul of its curriculum and teaching methodologies in both ASBC and SOS to recapture Colonel Ritchey’s original vision of a centralized leadership development center for junior officers. The Air Force decided in 2011 to separate ASBC and SOS. Beginning in November of 2014, both Line and non-Line Air Force captains are afforded a 100% resident opportunity to attend the six and a half week course. Today’s SOS offers cutting-edge leadership instruction and experiential applications that students find both challenging and rewarding.

 Squadron officer school squadron history

 

29th Student Squadron - The "Dragons" were not an original unit but were called into service in the 1950s.  It was designated "Group E."   When the school adopted unit mascots in 1969, Group E became the "Dragons," and is one of three squadrons that still has its original mascot. The squadron colors are black and orange.  The squadron motto is "Unleash the Dragon," and their cheer is "Unleash, the Dragons!"   The Dragons have educated over 25,500 USAF and international officers and DoD civilians in their service to SOS.

 

30th Student Squadron - The "Knights" are one of the original units from 1950.  It was designated "Group A."  When the school adopted unit mascots in 1969, Group A became known as the "White Knights,"  and is one of three squadrons that still has its original mascot.  The squadron colors are red and white.  The squadron motto is "Excalibur," and their cheer is "Shields Out, Swords Up!"  The Knights have educated over 26,600 USAF and international officers and DoD civilians in their service to SOS.

 

31st Student Squadron - The "Bulls" were not an original unit but called into service in the 1950s.  It was designated "Group B."  When the school adopted unit mascots in 1969, Group B became the "The Bulls," and is one of three squadrons that still has its original mascot.  The squadron colors are maroon and gold.  The squadron motto is "Vereor Taurus" which is Latin for "Fear the Bull," and their cheer is "Mess with the Bulls, You get the Horns!"  The Bulls have educated over 25,700 USAF and international officers and DoD civilians in their service to SOS.

 

32d Student Squadron - The "Centurions" are one of the original units from 1950.  It was designated "Group C."  When the school adopted unit mascots in 1969, Group C became known as the "Green Giants."  In 1985, the unit was renamed and replaced with its current designation as the "Centurions."  The squadron colors are green and gold.  The squadron motto is "Nelli Secundus" which is Latin for "Second to None," and their cheer is "Strength and Honor!"  The Centurions have educated over  26,500 USAF and international officers and DoD civilians in their service to SOS.

 

33d Student Squadron - The "Tigers" are one of the original units from 1950.  It was designated "Group F." When the school adopted unit mascots in 1969, Group F became known as the "Tigers," and continues to be known as the Tigers Squadron today.  The squadron colors are orange and black.  The squadron motto is "Everyone a Tiger," and their cheer is"Out for Blood!"  The Tigers have educated over 26,000 USAF and international officers and DoD civilians in their service to SOS.   

36th Student Squadron - The "Blackhawks" were first called into service in 1958.  It was designated "Group H."  When the school adopted unit mascots in 1969, Group H became the "KITAs."  In 1971, the unit was renamed and replaced the "KITA bird" with its current designation, the "Black Hawk."   The squadron colors are yellow and black.  The squadron cheer is "Fights on; Talons out! " The Blackhawks have educated over 18,000 USAF and international officers and DoD civilians in their service to SOS.