The 362nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at JB Balad, Iraq, has flown its 5,000th combat sortie over that nation. The MC-12W unit conducted its first mission in June 2009 and needed less than 18 months to reach the 5,000 mark last week on Dec. 30. Being on that sortie was “an awesome experience,” said SrA. Nicholas Corbett, one of the squadron’s airborne sensor operators. He added, “We’ve done a lot of good things out here.” MC-12s carry a crew of four, along with imagery sensors and electronic eavesdropping equipment, to provide ground commanders at the tactical level with near real-time intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance information. The 362nd ERS was the first MC-12 operational unit, but today, there are two additional squadrons in the war theater, both in Afghanistan: the 4th ERS at Bagram Airfield and the 361st ERS at Kandahar Airfield. (Balad report by SrA. Tong Duong)
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.