The Combat Shadow first entered service in 1964 as the HC-130P. During the Vietnam War, the aircraft performed multiple missions including combat search and rescue, command & control, and helicopter air refueling. The aircraft was designed to carry supplemental fuel in additional internal cargo bay fuel tanks for extending range or air refueling. Following Vietnam, the aircraft was assigned to Tactical Air Command, then Military Airlift Command and the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, primarily in a Search & Rescue capacity. In 1990, the HC-130's were assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). In 1996, AFSOC redesignated the HC-130 to the MC-130P Combat Shadow reflecting the multi-mission special operations capabilities of the aircraft.
The aircraft supported special operations forces during Operation JUST CAUSE and Operation DESERT STORM. Since DESERT STORM, Combat Shadows contributed to every Special Operations contingency worldwide . The Combat Shadow flew in Operations NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, DENY FLIGHT, DELIBERATE FORCE and JOINT ENDEAVOR. Following the attacks of 9/11. Combat Shadows deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, and to Iraq during Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN and ODYSSEY DAWN. For almost 30 years, whatever hotspot Special Operations forces were
employed, the Combat Shadow was there.
The Air Force accepted HC130H (65-0994) from Lockheed on 30 August 1966. This aircraft served in combat in Southeast Asia and throughout the Pacific for much of its career. In 1993, the 9th Special Operations Squadron received this aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base, but 65-0994 returned to Asia in 1994. In 2009 the aircraft arrived at the 9th Special Operations Squadron and participated in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM during the closing stages of the operation. From 2010 to 2012, this aircraft deployed to Afghanistan multiple times as part of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
This display is dedicated to the aircrews & maintainers who've kept the Combat Shadows flying and answered the nation's call, in every corner of the world. Any Time, Any Place; No Mission too Demanding.