The Oklahoma Air National Guard’s first MC-12W Liberty intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft recently arrived at Will Rogers ANGB, Okla., recommencing flight operations there for the first time since 2007, officials announced. “The 137th Air Refueling Wing is very excited to return flying operations back to Will Rogers … and join Air Force Special Operations Command,” 137th ARW Commander Col. Devin Wooden said in a release. The Oklahoma unit lost its C-130s and moved to Tinker AFB, Okla., becoming a KC-135 associate unit with the Active Duty 507th ARW in 2007, with a detached headquarters at Will Rogers. The unit will again redesignate as the 137th Special Operations Wing, receiving a total of 13 MC-12s to conduct manned ISR and Aviation Foreign Internal Defense missions. With Air Combat Command’s divestiture of its 33-strong MC-12 fleet, the AFSOC-aligned ANG unit will preserve the Air Force’s accumulated expertise in manned, tactical ISR, according to the unit’s release. The first MC-12 arrived July 10, and officials marked the recommencement of flying at Will Rogers in a ceremony there Aug. 1. The 137th ARW flew its final KC-135 sortie June 30, officials stated.
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.