Farewell Combat Talon I

A “massive crowd” turned out at Duke Field, Fla., to bid farewell to the Air Force’s five remaining MC-130E Combat Talon I special-mission airplanes, marking the end of the aircraft type’s nearly five decades of service, according to a base release. “Today we say goodbye to a trusted friend, more than a machine to those who flew her, but a faithful and reliable partner,” said Maj. T.J. Kollar, an electronic warfare officer with Air Force Reserve Command’s 711th Special Operations Squadron, during the April 25 retirement ceremony, according to Duke’s April 29 release. The five MC-130Es were adorned with American flags and lined up for viewing, states the release. The MC-130Es flew their final sorties from Duke on April 15. They will take to the air one last time in mid-May when they fly to the Air Force’s aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., for retirement. The Combat Talon I flew its first combat mission in 1966 and participated in all major US conflicts since then, states the release. New-build MC-130J Commando IIs are replacing the MC-130Es for special-mission roles like covert infiltration and exfiltration of special operations forces. (Duke report by TSgt. Samuel King Jr.)