Skip to comments.KC-135 operations -- the flow behind the mission
Posted on 03/08/2006 6:13:59 PM PST by SandRat
/8/2006 - OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (AFPN) -- They have their hands in virtually every aspect of the KC-135 Stratotanker mission here -- they are the flow, the operational heartbeat.
It starts at the top with their commander, runs through the operations officer, to a KC-135 mission planning cell, then to the aircrews.
Then there is a support cast comprising 12 people who work in intelligence, crew communication, flight records, life support and flight medicine specialties. Each one of these sections is key to the team and vital to getting gas safely delivered to our customer on time.
Its pretty clear that KC-135 operations is all-encompassing and it takes a lot of teamwork and coordination to produce the end result -- fuel in the air providing air bridges for the B-52 Stratofortress positioned here, as well as other coalition aircraft supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
I love seeing the Buffs taking off each day loaded with the fuel our aircraft provide, and loaded with bombs on their way to their tasking said Master Sgt. Tim Clark, 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron instructor and in-flight refueling operator. Knowing that our troops on the ground are safer because of the B-52s presence keeps me going."
A boom operator by trade, Sergeant Clark likes to be airborne in the KC-135 pumping gas to the bombers.
If Im lucky, I get to fly once or twice a month, he said. I like my job and I never get tired of going to the back of the plane for an air refueling mission -- its always a thrill, and its awesome being involved with day-to-day flying operations. After 15 years of supporting the KC-135 mission, I still cant believe Im lucky enough to have this job and actually get paid to do it. Where else in the world can you and two other guys jump in a plane and fly it around the world?
The KC-135s principle mission is air refueling, but the airframe also serves as airlift for troops and equipment as well as having medevac capability.
All these missions fall under the control of operations -- one vital aspect of the ops folks is planning.
The 28th also has three planners and two assistant operations officers who do the majority of the planning and scheduling functions for the squadron. They man the operations desk around-the-clock communicating with the Combined Air Operations Center daily and the B-52 mission planning cell, so they can adjust the schedules as needed. Without planners, the entire KC-135 mission here would cease.
Every well-tuned machine has solid administrative support as well.
I provide administrative support and client system administrator support for the tanker mission here, said Staff Sgt. Becky Studniski, squadron information manager. I wasnt aware of how the mission here directly impacts the global war on terrorism. Our KC-135s are critical to sustaining air superiority. Without the refueling capability we bring to the table, the B-52s wouldnt get to Afghan airspace and on to their targets -- our enemies.
Behind the scenes of every KC-135 mission, many people oversee, plan, coordinate and support -- this team is vital to the heartbeat of building air bridges -- KC-135 ops.
You can trust your plane to the troops who fuel the flame!!
Rat thanks for all your great post as of late always a good read
I saw a 135 guy with a cool patch. It had a donkey on it and said "Nobody Kicks A$$ Without Tanker Gas."
I have flown many a mile in a KC-135 out of LRAFB in Arkansas back in 1967-1969. before that I worked on B-52s.
From England to Ban-U-Tpao (when the B-52 blew up on take off)in Thailand and of course, Kadina (when another fighter bomber blew up while preparing to take off), Okinawa.
Flyin out of Okinawa, we refuled B-52s. When I looked out the door window, I could see three other refueling operations going on. Looking out the opposite window I saw the same thing. Someone in Viet Nam was going to get plastered.
All i can say is WOW!