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Air Commandos retire final AC-130H Spectre gunship

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Hicks, Air Force Special Operations Command director of operations, speaks during the AC-130H Spectre gunship retirement ceremony, May 26, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Hicks piloted the gunship to its final destination at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where it will be formally retired. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Chip Slack)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Hicks, Air Force Special Operations Command director of operations, speaks during the AC-130H Spectre gunship retirement ceremony, May 26, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Hicks piloted the gunship to its final destination at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where it will be formally retired. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Chip Slack)

A 16th Special Operations Squadron member walks on the wing of the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, during a pre-flight inspection, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

A 16th Special Operations Squadron member walks on the wing of the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, during a pre-flight inspection, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel Pearson, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance training instructor, carries the “Jolly Roger” flag to the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The “Jolly Roger” is a pirate flag flown to boost morale and was displayed during the final Spectre gunship deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel Pearson, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance training instructor, carries the “Jolly Roger” flag to the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The “Jolly Roger” is a pirate flag flown to boost morale and was displayed during the final Spectre gunship deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

Many former members that flew or maintained AC-130H Spectre gunships gather at a retirement ceremony, May 26, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. As each campaign was acknowledged, the members were prompted to stand to be properly recognized for their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Chip Slack)

Many former members that flew or maintained AC-130H Spectre gunships gather at a retirement ceremony, May 26, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. As each campaign was acknowledged, the members were prompted to stand to be properly recognized for their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Chip Slack)

Spectators watch as AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, taxis down the flightline for its final time, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

Spectators watch as AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, taxis down the flightline for its final time, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Hicks, Air Force Special Operations Command director of operations, watches pre-flight inspections of the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Hicks flew the gunship to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where it will be formally retired. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Hicks, Air Force Special Operations Command director of operations, watches pre-flight inspections of the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Hicks flew the gunship to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where it will be formally retired. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

An AC-130H gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, flies overhead, May 26, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The gunship has a long and proud history beginning in Southeast Asia over 46 years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

An AC-130H gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, flies overhead, May 26, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The gunship has a long and proud history beginning in Southeast Asia over 46 years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

Hundreds of Air Commandos lined up down the flightline to witness the final take-off of the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

Hundreds of Air Commandos lined up down the flightline to witness the final take-off of the AC-130H Spectre gunship, nicknamed “Excalibur”, May 27, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Eboni Reece)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Members of the 27th Special Operations Wing gathered to officially retire the final AC-130H Spectre Gunship, tail number 69-6569 “Excalibur,” Tuesday.

Over the last two years, Air Commandos within the 16th Special Operations Squadron have bid farewell to the entire fleet of this historic aerial asset, as each of the eight aircraft have been one-by-one ceremoniously retired after 46 years of dedicated service.

“Over the last 12 years, the 16th SOS has flown over 6,500 combat sorties, 26,000 combat hours and has been responsible for over 4,600 enemies killed in action, along with over 5,200 enemy captures,” said Capt. Aaron Magger, 16th SOS navigator. “As the AC-130H chapter of gunship evolution comes to a close, the AC-130H is the single deadliest aircraft and flying squadron in the war on terrorism.”

To help celebrate the illustrious accomplishments of the decorated aircraft, Lt. Col. Andrew Koegl, 16th SOS commander, shared his sentiments with Team Cannon.

“Being a part of Spectre is more than what model gunship you fly; it is a culture,” he said. “It is about training hard to become systems and tactics experts. It is about leadership and doing the right thing by knowing when to hang it all out there to protect your teammates on the ground.”

“How can you not develop pride in yourself and your unit when you hear these stories, and you talk with fellow Air Commandos who have served before you?” he continued. “Tomorrow, we are sending off the legacy of the AC-130H and what it has done over the last 46 years. I am honored to be here today; it has been a privilege to have flown this aircraft.”