OFFICIALS FROM the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing announced on October 16 that the final US Air Force MC-12W Liberty unit in Afghanistan has now ended operations. The last unit was the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron (ERS) at Bagram Airfield, which was formally inactivated on October 1. In its place, the US Army stood up Joint Task Force Thor to take over the role of the unit following a formal transition of authority ceremony.
The final 4th ERS MC-12W mission ended when one of the unit’s aircraft landed at 0640hrs that morning. This completed more than 40,000 combat missions and over 200,000 hours of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support, which had been provided since December 2009.
Three Project Liberty Squadrons, including the 4th ERS, had provided real-time tactical ISR to combatant commanders in the US Central Command area of responsibility. The other squadrons were the 362nd ERS at Balad Air Base, Iraq, which withdrew from the country along with US troops in 2011 and the 361st ERS at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, which was inactivated September 1, 2014.
US Air Force Lt Col Patrick Boland, outgoing 4th ERS commander, said that the MC-12W contributed to operations that removed 2,450 enemy combatants from the battle space, including 375 high value individuals killed or captured. Alan Warnes