Brig. Gen. Clayton M. Hutmacher assumed command of the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC) June 13, 2012. Prior to this command he served as the assistant commanding general for Special Operations Forces Mobility, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission, Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command.
Hutmacher entered military service Jan. 4, 1978, as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps, transferring to the Army after being accepted into the Warrant Officer Flight Training program in 1984. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in October 1987.
Following graduation from Officer Candidate School and the Aviation Officer’s Basic Course, Hutmacher’s first assignment was with 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR [A]), as the headquarters and service company executive officer, and later as the MH-60 Direct Action Penetrator platoon leader, Delta Company.
He has since served three other tours with the 160th SOAR (A) to include executive officer of 1st Battalion, commander of 1st Battalion, and regiment commander.
Other assignments included the U.S. Air Force 55th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., as squadron tactics officer, instructor pilot, and flight commander; troop commander and S3 of the Flight Concepts Division at Fort Eustis, Va.; and commander of 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, Giebelstadt, Germany. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with Numeral 6, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Badge, Master Army Aviator Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.
John D. Gresham: You command the newest Major Command (MAJCOM) within Army SOF and aviation. The U.S Army just does not stand up one-star MAJCOMs anymore, and yet, yours has been growing and dynamic. Can you explain to us why the command was created and lay out its component units and organization for us?
Brig. Gen. Clayton Hutmacher: Absolutely. We were provisionally activated on March 25, 2011, and then our official activation, when we went from provisional status to permanent status, was Oct. 1, 2012. We were primarily created to reduce the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s span of responsibility and control, and enable them to have an operational focus. And we were to pick up all the Title 10 functions for Army SOF aviation, essentially to man, train, equip, and resource all USASOC SOF aviation forces.
We presently have three subordinate commands and two staff directorates. As you know, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is there with four operational battalions. This obviously constitutes the command’s biggest unit. We’ve also got the Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion, which is not a new organization, but one that originally existed within the 160th SOAR. We’ve separated it, and it now qualifies and trains all of our aviators, enlisted crew members, and all of our soldiers.
We’ve also got the USASOC Flight Company, which provides institutional training support to the JFK Special Warfare Center and School here at Fort Bragg. They also fly fixed-wing aircraft. The newest addition is we’ve just acquired seven surplus C-27J Spartans, a C-12 aircraft to support the commanding general [currently Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland] for command and control, and then two UH-60 Black Hawks, which support training.
We were primarily created to reduce the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s span of responsibility and control, and enable them to have an operational focus. And we were to pick up all the Title 10 functions for Army SOF aviation, essentially to man, train, equip, and resource all USASOC SOF aviation forces.
So you’ve also got some of those surplus USAF C-27Js?
We’ll receive seven of them, and I’ve got five sitting here on Pope Army Airfield right now. As we speak, two more are being delivered next month directly from the factory.
What are you going to do with the seven new C-27Js?
We have had the USASOC Flight Detachment, which consists of CASA-212s, the UH-60 Black Hawks, and a Kingair. So, we’ve expanded it and renamed it the USASOC Flight Company, and actually they are all going to be one element in a special operations aviation squadron, which we’re standing up here at Fort Bragg.
We’re also going to have an aviation Foreign Internal Defense [FID] troop, which is actively engaged all over the world training our partner nations. We want their aviation forces to be able to stand up a similar capability like the 160th SOAR based on their resourcing, and train them how to approach that problem set.
We also have two directorates, including the Technical Applications Program Office [TAPO] at Fort Eustis commanded by Col. Paul Howard. They have all of our program managers for our different aircraft and systems, and do all of our acquisition actions up there. And we also have the Systems Integration Management Office [SIMO], which is essentially the interface between, or the users’ representative between, the 160th and TAPO. They are staffed with operational aviators out of the 160th SOAR, and they provide input into aircraft modifications, new aircraft fielding, weapons systems and the like, and are intimately involved throughout the process. It’s commanded by Lt. Col. Jesse Crispino.