Liberty Central

The Mississippi Air National Guard at Key Field has trained more than 124 active duty airmen to operate USAF’s new MC-12W Project Liberty intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance platform since it received its first MC-12 in March 2009. The MC-12 began operations in Iraq in June 2009 and within about five months had flown its 1,000th mission. It entered service in Afghanistan in late December. According to Lt. Col. Rick Berryhill, a spokesman for ANG’s 186th Air Refueling Wing, which hosts the MC-12 training mission, the unit will train more than 600 airmen during Fiscal 2010. ANG director, Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt on a recent visit to Key Field called the mission “vitally important” to the Air Force. Berryhill said the 186th ARW was able to ramp up the new mission quickly because of its ISR background in operating RC-26s, whose crews “have extensive combat experience in various theaters.” (National Guard Bureau report by MSgt. Mike Smith)