April 22, 2015 (by A1C Stephen G. Eigel) - The 17th Special Operations Squadron sent off the final two MC-130P Combat Shadows in the Pacific Air Forces to retire on April 15.
The MC-130P Combat Shadow team responsible for plane #66-0225 performs the final checks before take off on Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 15, 2015. The 17th SOS sent off the final two MC-130P Combat Shadows in the Pacific Air Forces to retire to the aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB. [USAF photo by A1C Stephen G. Eigel]
The 17th SOS highlighted the beginning of the MC-130P Combat Shadow retirement with one final formation flight on Oct. 16, 2014 at Kadena but now they have sent their last ones to the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
"Today is bittersweet as we say goodbye to these amazing aircraft," said Lt. Col. Nathan T. Colunga, 17th Special Operations Squadron navigator and commander. "I have spent less time in the MC-130P than most, only 11 years, but these aircraft have executed every time we've truly needed them to over the last 50. The MC-130P's legacy will not be forgotten as we mark this historic moment in the lineage of the 17th SOS, Air Force Special Operations Command and the Combat Shadow community at large."
The Pacific-based Combat Shadows alone have supported more than a dozen named operations. From combat missions in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom to humanitarian assistance disaster relief operations across Asia, the Combat Shadow left its mark in special operations history.
"I have flown in the MC-130P since 2000, and it has taken me to all corners of the globe in peacetime and in combat," said Maj. Curtis P. Reinhart, 17th SOS navigator. "The Combat Shadow has been the workhorse of AFSOC and it will be emotional flying it to its final resting place. I'll be sad to see it go, but it has earned a well-deserved retirement."
From providing helicopter air-to-air refueling to conducting long-range support of Special Operations Forces, the MC-130P Combat Shadow has provided a critical service to the U.S. military for nearly 50 years.
The MC-130P Combat Shadows built with 1960s technology are being replaced by the new MC-130J Commando II with cutting edge technology.