Combat’s Final Shadow

Two MC-130P Combat Shadows from the 9th Special Operations Squadron—the last Hercules aircraft from the unit to return home from operations over Iraq—settled in for a landing at Eglin AFB, Fla., ending an era for the base. “Since February 2003, our people and assets have steadily deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn,” said Col. Jim Slife, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, the squadron’s parent unit headquartered at Hurlburt Field. Fla. The 9th SOS alone flew some 8,221 sorties, accumulating more than 12,000 flight hours in the Iraq theater, according to wing officials. “It was a beautiful experience knowing we made a difference over there,” said Capt. Mike Proctor, a 9th SOS aircraft commander. The Combat Shadows touched down at Eglin on Jan. 6. (Hurlburt report by SSgt. William Banton)