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Bagram's Liberty reaches 100,000 hours milestone

MC-12 Liberty crew members and leadership from the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron pause for a photo in front of one of their aircraft at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, September 11, 2012. The conclusion of this mission marks a milestone, as it signifies the 4 ERS officially exceeding over 100,000 flying hours using the MC-12s since the unit was stood up in Dec. 2009. 100,000 flying hours roughly equates to 11 and a-half years of flying for one the aircraft. 4 ERS leadership can say they accomplished this feat in under three years using its fleet of MC-12s. The flag in the photo was flown on the first 4 ERS combat mission at Bagram. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Marlene Solano)

MC-12 Liberty crew members and leadership from the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron pose for a photo at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, September 11, 2012. The 4th ERS has logged more than 100,000 flying hours using the MC-12s since the unit was activated in December 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Marlene Solano)

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Alexander (right), Commander 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, talks to crew members of an MC-12 Liberty after returning from a mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, September 11, 2012. The conclusion of this mission marks a milestone, as it signifies the 4 ERS officially exceeding over 100,000 flying hours using the MC-12s since the unit was stood up in Dec. 2009. 100,000 flying hours roughly equates to 11 and a-half years of flying for one the aircraft. 4 ERS leadership can say they accomplished this feat in under three years using its fleet of MC-12s. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Marlene Solano)

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Alexander (right), Commander 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, talks to crew members of an MC-12 Liberty returning from a mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, September 11, 2012. The 4th ERS has logged more than 100,000 flying hours using the MC-12s since the unit was activated in December 2009.

MC-12 Liberty crew members from the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron pause for a photo in front of one of their aircraft at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, September 11, 2012. The conclusion of this mission marks a milestone, as it signifies the 4 ERS officially exceeding over 100,000 flying hours using the MC-12s since the unit was stood up in Dec. 2009. 100,000 flying hours roughly equates to 11 and a-half years of flying for one the aircraft. 4 ERS leadership can say they accomplished this feat in under three years using its fleet of MC-12s. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Marlene Solano)

MC-12 Liberty crew members from the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron pause for a photo at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, September 11, 2012. The 4th ERS has logged more than 100,000 flying hours using the MC-12s since the unit was activated in December 2009.

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance community's 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron introduced the MC-12 Liberty to Bagram Airfield in December 2009. Not long after aircraft number "623" became the first Liberty to touch Bagram soil, the squadron earned the reputation of being the "busiest" at Bagram. True to their reputation, 4th ERS and the MC-12s celebrated a seemingly unbelievable milestone.

When aircraft "623" touched down on September 11, 2012, 4th ERS logged its 100,000th flying hour in less than three years.

While the first 50,000 hours took the squadron nearly two years to accomplish, the remaining 50,000 hours was completed in only one year.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Alexander, 4th ERS commander, helped put perspective on the accomplishment.

"100,000 hours is huge. That's about 11 and a half years-worth of flying for the MC-12s in two years and nine months," said Alexander.

During their tenure at Bagram, 4th ERS MC-12s and aircrews have provided ISR support to ground forces in Afghanistan, employing a range of sensors and equipment to give coalition forces the information they need to complete their mission.

Not only did 4th ERS aircraft reach 100,000 flying hours, it did so with zero maintenance cancellations while at Bagram.

The 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander, Lt Col Rudy Cardona, credits the MC-12's all-contractor maintenance team's balanced professionalism.

"This is a fantastic milestone by the entire Project Liberty team here at Bagram Airfield. The MC-12 maintenance team's ability to focus resources ensured a balance in delivering mission requirements while executing timely maintenance actions," said Cardona.

After the team paused for the brief celebration of their achievement, the maintenance team returned to their scheduled work and "Aircraft 623" was made ready for hour 100,001.