Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) traces its lineage to the establishment of Support Operations Command Europe in Paris, France on 22 January, 1955. This headquarters provided peacetime planning and operational control of special operations forces during the unconventional warfare in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.
The headquarters was reorganized as a joint task force within EUCOM on 4 May, 1955 and redesignated as Support Operations Task Force Europe (SOTFE). SOTFE headquarters transferred from Paris to Panzer Kaserne near Stuttgart, Germany on 9 January, 1967.
To clarify SOTFE’s role with other agencies, the SOTFE was redesignated Special Operations Task Force Europe (also SOTFE) effective 1 September, 1978, and assigned to EUCOM headquarters.
SOFTE was redesignated Special Operations Command, Europe (SOCEUR) on 1 November, 1983 and established as a subordinate unified command of EUCOM on 30 May 1986. SOCEUR also functioned as the Special Operations Division of the EUCOM Operations Directorate. In the conflicts in the Balkans during the 1990s, joint special operations forces, under the direction of Commander, SOCEUR, were employed to expand the range of military options available to Commander in Chief Europe. Most notable were 2 successful combat recoveries of American pilots downed by enemy fire over Serbia.
In 1998, SOCEUR sponsored the first newly independent States Special Operations Forces conference held offsite in Stuttgart, Germany. This benchmark even brought military personnel from Moldova, Georgia, and the Ukraine together to view U.S. SOF demonstrations and discuss opportunities for future Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) and Joint Contact Team Program (JCTP) events.