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USAF retires last MC-130P aircraft in Pacific

The last MC-130P special mission aircraft of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific have been retired and sent to an aircraft graveyard in Arizona.

By Richard Tomkins
USAF retires last MC-130P aircraft in Pacific
A U.S. Air Force MC-130P refuels an HH-60 Paveway helicopter. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lanie McNeal

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan, April 26 (UPI) -- The last two U.S. Air Force MC-130P special mission aircraft in the Pacific have been transferred to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and retired.

The Combat Shadow aircraft used by the 17th Special Operations Command at Kadena Air Base in Japan are being replaced by MC-130J Commando II planes outfitted with the latest technology.

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"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 ...," said Lt. Col. Nathan T. Colunga, the 17th SOS commander said at a ceremony at Kadena. "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 MC-130P Combat Shadow was introduced into service in 1986 and was used for the infiltration and exfiltration of special operations troops and for their resupply. They were also used for aerial refueling of special operations helicopters.

The Air Force said the MC-130Ps have participated in dozen named operations, including Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

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