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MC-12s in Iraq Hit 2,000: The MC-12W intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft force in Iraq has surpassed 2,000 combat sorties since arriving there and flying its first combat mission in summer 2009. Just three months ago, the 362nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron took note of its 1,000th combat mission. Capt. Ryan Woodman, an MC-12 pilot, said, "A year ago, the commander and I were learning how to start the new aircraft, and now the program flew its 2,000th mission." He called it a "great feeling" that his unit provides "the eyes in the sky" for ground forces. Lt. Col. Philip Stewart, the 362nd ERS commander, commended his junior airmen who "are constantly in situations where … in a split second they have to able to decide if the guy they are looking at is holding a shovel or a rifle and then transmit it to the ground—they perform under this pressure extremely well." (Last week USAF started its hunt for permanent bases in the US for the MC-12.) (Joint Base Balad report by SrA. Wes Carter)