Historic squadron inactivates
By Capt. Christine Guthrie, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2015
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 427th Reconnaissance Squadron was inactivated during a ceremony at Beale Air Force Base, California, Nov. 20, 2015.
Since May 2012, the 427th RS has deployed and trained 455 Airmen, flown 4,770 combat missions, eliminated 503 enemy combatants, and saved countless coalition lives.
"The Airmen that have been a part of this MC-12 mission, have poured their hearts and souls into this program. They truly are the unsung heroes, and I'm honored to have served alongside them," said Lt. Col Joseph Laws, 427th RS commander.
MC-12 Airmen from the past and present attended the ceremony and reception to reminisce about their time supporting the MC-12W Liberty mission.
"We did a lot of great things in this program, and the level of responsibility entrusted to us was truly amazing," said Master Sgt. Katie, 427th RS sensor operator. "There are a lot of jobs where you don't really see how your impacting the mission, but this job was instant gratification...we saved lives."
The lineage of the 427th RS has a rich history in supporting combat operations, to include Pearl Harbor as the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron and the D-Day invasion as 427th Bombardment Squadron. After fifty dormant years, the squadron reactivated as the 427th RS, May 1, 2012, taking over the responsibility of combat readiness training for the MC-12W.
Fielded by Air Combat Command, the aircraft was created to serve a critical role in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Resolute Support. It came to fruition after the Secretary of Defense established a Department of Defense-wide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance task force in 2008 to identify and recommend solutions for increased ISR in the Central Command area of responsibility.
One of the fastest fielded weapon systems since World War II, the aircraft took only eight months from contract to combat.
"The MC-12 is an extraordinary story of the ingenuity of Americans," said Col. Douglas Lee, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander. "They took an off the shelf King Air 350, installed some incredibly modernized ISR equipment, and then they turned it loose in combat with young men and women who supported troops on the ground on a daily basis."
Built by Beechcraft, the Liberty is a medium-to-low altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft which provides real-time full motion video and signals intelligence, allowing military leaders to make battlefield decisions. In addition to the crew in the aircraft, Airmen on the ground gathered and analyzed intelligence collected and provided it to the ground control center via data-link.
The MC-12W program divested from the Air Combat Command and was transferred to the Army and Special Operations Command prior to Oct. 1, 2015. Although the mission will continue, fueled by new force providers, the program has made a lasting impression on Air Force history, and the Airmen which played a part in the program.
"More than six years ago we welcomed Airmen from all over the Air Force to play a part in this MC-12 mission. They are now transitioning to fighters, bombers, RPA's, AETC, ISR, mobility, rotary wing, and special operations with thousands of combat hours and a lesson in how to get things done," said Laws. "MC-12 Airmen will continue to make our Air Force and our country stronger for years to come."