U.S. Air Force’s MC-12 Liberty mission ends in Afghanistan
The Air Force’s mission with the MC-12 Liberty in Afghanistan is over.
The 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron flew its last flight Oct. 1 at Bagram Air Field, the last of more than 40,000 combat missions and more than 200,000 hours of surveillance flights since 2009.
The Army stood up Joint Task Force Thor at Bagram to take over the MC-12 mission from the Air Force.
“The history and success of the Project Liberty Program is attributed to one thing—the people,” Air Force Maj. Tanner Woolsey, commander of the 4th Expeditionary Recoinnassance Squadron, said at the ceremony. “They are Airmen and Soldiers along with our contract maintenance team. They are the people who will go down in history as part of one of the greatest tactical success stories of Operation Enduring Freedom.”
The inactivation came one month after the other remaining MC-12 squadron in Afghanistan, the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, deactivated at Kandahar Airfield. Both squadrons are based at Beale Air Force Base, California.
During the last year of the 4th ERS, the squadron helped operations that killed or captured 2,450 enemy combatants, including 375 high value targets, outgoing 4th ERS Commander Lt. Col. Patrick Boland said, according to a release.
The MC-12 program began in 2008 as a way to quickly outfit Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350s with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment to address needs in Iraq. Following the inactivation, airmen will remain with the Army task force to help conduct operations.
The Air Force, in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal, planed to transfer its MC-12 to U.S. Special Operations Command to replace the U-28A. But Congress is pressing the Defense Department to justify its plans to move the aircraft.
Source: By Brian Everstine / Staff writer – www.airforcetimes.com
Photo: U.S. Air Force officials released their candidate list of basing locations April 23 for MC-12W aircraft. The list includes Altus Air Force Base, Okla.; Beale AFB, Calif.; Key Field Air Guard Station, Miss.; Langley AFB, Va.; Robins AFB, Ga.; Whiteman AFB, Mo.