The last of the Air Force’s MC-12W surveillance airplanes supporting combat operations in Afghanistan from Kandahar Airfield arrived back at Beale AFB, Calif., according to a release. The aircraft returned to Beale on Sept. 22, following the inactivation of the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Kandahar earlier this month. “Our accomplishments were tremendous,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Yeager, former director of operations of the now-inactive 361st ERS. “My hat’s off to the young men and women who support this program, working around the clock in rotations, some deploying four or five times with three thousand plus combat hours,” he added. The Air Force began operating MC-12Ws from Kandahar in May 2010, some six months after it introduced them to Bagram Airfield with the 4th ERS. The MC-12s gathered intelligence and eavesdropped on enemy electronic signals in real time in support of ground troops.
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.