Lieutenant General James Slife, Commander, Air Force Special Operations

Lieutenant General James Slife 

Commander, Air Force Special Operations

James C. “Jim” Slife was born outside of Detroit and grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was commissioned through the ROTC program at Auburn University and has spent the majority of his career in special operations aviation assignments. He also holds a Master of Aerospace Science Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, and a Master of Administrative Science, Organizational Management, from George Washington University. 

He went through student helicopter pilot training at Fort Rucker Alabama, where he later became an instructor pilot. He trained in helicopter tactical combat in New Mexico and later taught in Florida. He had several deployments abroad including on the Arabian Peninsula and the U.K. He was Commander of the Joint Special Operations Aviation Detachment in Afghanistan, and later Chief of Staff of UN Command and U.S. Forces Korea. 

He was Chief of Staff at U.S. Special Operations Command Headquarters, later becoming Vice Commander of SOCOM. Since June 2019, he has been Commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command. 

Slife is a command pilot with over 3,100 flying hours in the MH-53, MQ-1, and others. 

In the News…

Fifty-two CV-22 trirotor Osprey aircraft have been grounded under orders from Air Force Special Operations Commander Lieutenant General Jim Slife. The decision stems from an “increased number of safety incidents” involving the Ospreys, including two in the past six weeks, and a total of four since 2017. 

A command spokesperson stated, “The safety of our Airmen is of the utmost importance, therefore no AFSOC CV-22s will fly until we will determine the cause of the hard clutch engagements and risk control measures are put in place.” 

The clutch that connects one of an Osprey’s two engines to the propeller rotor is slipping for an unknown reason, forcing the aircrew to immediately land the aircraft. No injuries or deaths have been caused by the issue “due in large part to the skill and professionalism of our Air Commandos who operate the CV-22,” the spokesperson said. 

It is not known how long the aircraft will be grounded. 


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