It is my distinct honor and pleasure to introduce readers to this 14th issue of the Air Commando Journal. To all of our Air Commandos out there…past, present and future, thank you so much for what you do and who you are. In this issue, we pay special tribute to the men and women who maintained, operated and supported the MC-130P Combat Shadow and its crucial mission. The MC-130P recently retired its last tail number and it’s only fitting we highlight this incredible workhorse to our Air Commando Journal followers and readers.
While the beloved MC-130P airframe was tired and worn well beyond her years, we couldn’t have been more blessed to operate and maintain such a reliable and sturdy platform. I have really put some deep thought into this and I am sure most of you will agree.....what really made this aircraft and its mission so successful was its people. The most important aspect of any AF weapon system is people.
I often talk about grit, determination, toughness, relentlessness, tenacity and skill when I refer to the character of an Air Commando. Other exceptional qualities we have come to expect in Air Commandos are teamwork, humility, pride, loyalty and a steadfast commitment to the mission. During my time as an MC-130P Flight Engineer, I was introduced to these key traits from the entire Shadow Community and it was demonstrated day in and day out. You would never hear us say it, but the joint partners we worked with and supported still talk about it to this day. We were just doing what we do and getting the mission done.
For Combat Shadow Airmen who built the platform and performed the mission, it was never about the glory or a decoration on your chest, it was always about the supported unit, the customer and each other. It was about being on-time and on-target every time with hoses out, ready for anything, anytime and anyplace. I am certain that this was the source of the bonds we share today after many years in combat and generations of Airmen growing up in this incredible family.
I know each of you will find similarities in the articles in this issue and your own AFSOC platform and experience. For it is that overall sense of Air Commando pride and sense of history and culture that comes out in everything we do, regardless of the weapon system we maintain or operate. I trust you will find this issue a good read and one that helps all of us appreciate one another for what we bring to make AFSOC America’s specialized air power.
-- Matthew M. Caruso, CMSgt, USAF
Command Chief, AFSOC