Europe Goes Talonless

The Air Force no longer has any of its MC-130H special-mission aircraft based in Europe following the departure earlier this month of the last MC-130H that was assigned to the 7th Special Operations Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Britain, according to a base release. This Combat Talon II aircraft, tail number 0195, left Mildenhall on Jan. 8. “It’s a somber occasion. What you’ll see today is a real quiet and respectful departure because we understand the mission will never be the same as the 7th evolves into a new aircraft,” said Col. Matthew Powell, vice commander of the Joint Special Operations Air Component–Europe. The unit’s new airplane is the CV-22 tiltrotor platform. In addition to CV-22s, Mildenhall has begun receiving the first of its factory-fresh MC-130J Commando IIs, which supplant the Combat Talon IIs. The MC-130Hs that left Mildenhall are joining the 15th SOS at Hurlburt Field, Fla., states the release. The Defense Department earlier this month announced plans to shutter Mildenhall. As part of the move, Mildenhall’s 352nd Special Operations Group, which includes the 7th SOS, is set to relocate to Germany.