Air Force Special Operations Command’s 8th Special Operations Squadron has returned to Florida after a Southwest Asia stint in which the airmen flew their last missions in the MC-130E Combat Talon I—ending 41 years of active-duty service for the aircraft. The squadron flew the Talon I on the 1970 assault on the Son Tay prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam, participated in the 1980 Desert One hostage rescue attempt in Iran, transported Gen. Manuel Noriega from Panama following Operation Just Cause, and made multiple deployments for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Read more here.) Now the unit will transition to AFSOC’s new CV-22, starting in September.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.