What We have Here is A Failure To Communicate

Here’s what happens when you don’t tell people about a giant construction hole in airfield runway.


On December 29, 2004, a C-23 Shepa flew into a US operated airfield in Iraq during the day and noticed there was construction equipment on the runway. The much smaller C-23 landed safely and the crew filed a safety hazard report that was forwarded to higher headquarters and to the Air Force wing based here.


Here’s the giant hole in the runway yet, apparently, there was no NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) issued.

The MC-130 landed on the runway the night of the 29th and didn’t see the construction. It wound up going through what is now a large pit on the runway. The MC-130 appears to be totally destroyed. There were several injuries to the crew and the few passengers that were on board, but luckily no one was killed

This is quite an expensive set of failures somewhere in the system regarding this improper construction and no notifications regarding it.

But that’s no ordinary cargo plane.

It appears to be a Lockheed Martin MC-130H Hercules or COMBAT TALON II, specifically, USAF FY-Serial 85-0012, c/n 382-5054.

The Combat Talon is a special operations aircraft, as you can see by all of those sensors, bumps, antennas, and thingies sticking out of the fuselage.  The MC-130H model Combat Talon is a $155 million dollar aircraft, and there aren’t very many of them.

It appears that at one time this aircraft was assigned to the 15th Special Operation Squadron (Hurlburt Field AFB, FL) and a Major Craig Gibson was the plane captain. (1991 info)

There’s a photograph of this exact same aircraft (0012) with the big nose here.

However, another web site lists 85-0012 as a MC-130P Combat Shadow from the 9th Special Operation Squadron (Eglin AFB, FL) INACTIVE.

I confess that I don’t have the knowledge to determine which type of aircraft this was, but whichever model it might be, it’s a very expensive thing that went wrong.

One Response to “What We have Here is A Failure To Communicate”

  1. Wayne Warner Says:

    Thanks for your site and comments. I am writing a story about a chaplain who was aboard the aircraft. Was not expected to live through the day, but after 14 months of recovery, he returned to Iraq in 2006.

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