The last two MC-130Ps stationed in Pacific Air Forces headed off to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., on April 15, making way for the standup of the new MC-130J Commando II fleet at Kadena AB, Japan, according to a PACAF release. “These aircraft have executed every time we’ve truly needed them,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Colunga, 17th Special Operations Squadron commander. The aircraft has served in more than a dozen operations from Afghanistan to Iraq and in humanitarian relief operations around the Asia-Pacific. The J model MC-130 features greater range, capability, and capacity in the specialized air-to-air refueling mission for helicopters and Special Operations Forces air mobility support, according to USAF and PACAF officials. Kadena began phasing in the new Commando IIs this past December, and will eventually host 10 of the new-build MC-130Js.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.