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Aircrews Refuel B-52s in Flight for the Fight
Defend America News ^ | Master Sgt. Scott King

Posted on 03/17/2006 3:12:00 PM PST by SandRat

Photo, caption below.
A U.S. Air Force KC-135R Stratotanker refuels a B-52 Stratofortress on a mission in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, March 13, 2006. The B-52 provides close air support for ground troops in Afganistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Nicodemus
Aircrews Refuel B-52s in Flight for the Fight
In six short weeks, KC-135s here have delivered more than 11 million
pounds of fuel to B-52s that have flown forward into Afghan airspace
providing close air support for U.S. and coalition forces on the ground.
By U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Scott King
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, March 17, 2006 — In six short weeks, KC-135s here have delivered more than 11 million pounds of fuel to B-52s that have flown forward into Afghan airspace providing close air support for U.S. and coalition forces on the ground. Without this fuel, the BUFFS would not be able to carry out this mission, possibly resulting in loss of life for forces conducting their missions on the ground in Afghanistan.

"Our mission of providing fuel to our bombers is a highly effective tool in the Global War of Terrorism."
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Bryon Sherriff

“Our mission of providing fuel to our bombers is a highly effective tool in the Global War of Terrorism,” said 1st Lt. Bryon Sherriff, KC-135 co-pilot with the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. “Our airframe, attached with the B-52s, allows global reach and global power to many areas of the world – including Afghanistan.

“I’m personally highly rewarded being able to fulfill this role that directly affects our nation's future, he said. “Extending the BUFF’S range has a direct influence on the preservation of our freedom.”

Flying with a crew of three, a pilot, co-pilot, and boom operator, the stratotanker has a range of 1,500 miles with 150,000 pounds of fuel transfer capability and can fly a ferry mission up to 8,000 nautical miles.

A navigator is also used on Special Operations Air Refueling Missions due to the complexity of the mission. Nearly all of the tankers internal fuel can be pumped through its flying boom, the KC-135’s primary fuel transfer method.

A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailing behind the flying boom, may be used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes, mostly Navy aircraft. An operator stationed in the rear of the plane controls the boom or drogue.

Airman 1st Class Desiree Campbell, a boom operator with the 28th EARS, has been at the controls of tanker booms for less than one year refueling multi-million dollar U.S. and coalition aircraft.

“So far I've enjoyed being a KC-135 boom operator because it has given me the chance to work with professional people and see different places in the world,” Campbell said.

My job is to get the receiver [B-52s here] their fuel so they can complete their close air support missions and make a difference from the skies over Afghanistan.”

In direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 135 pilots here have flown close to 200 combat support sorties in the last six weeks.

“Our crews are flying four to five times per-week with 48 hours of alert duty mixed in, so it’s very busy,” said Maj. Nathan Diaz, KC-135 pilot.

“The requirement for aerial refueling is far from being a thing of the past. If you ask anyone that knows anything about air campaigns, air combat, strategic, and even tactical warfare, they’ll tell you that gas in the sky is the long pole in the tent – the Air Force cannot conduct airborne operations, of any significance, without air refueling,” Diaz said. “That simple fact is what all tanker aircrews and the people that support them take pride in.”

B-52 pilots here mirror that same sentiment about the vitality of the stratotanker.

“Without the KC-135, our mission here would simply not happen,” said Lt. Col. Mark Maryak, 28th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander and B-52 pilot.

“Every time a forward air controller, on the ground in Afghanistan, contacts or looks up and sees our bombers, we’re well aware that it took at least two KC-135s from this Forward Operating Location to make it happen,” Maryak said. “Whenever we, as B-52 aircrew members, have the opportunity to shape the battlefield with our armament, we realize that it’s the fuel from the tanker that got us to the battlefield.”

Lt. Col. Marc Van Wert, 28th EARS commander and KC-135 pilot, has a special place in his heart for the tanker aircrews. “Our crews are doing a phenomenal job supporting the warfighter. It’s not uncommon to find young crewmembers today with more than 2,000 flying hours early in their career,” Van Wert said. “It’s because they have been ‘fueling the fight’ for multiple world-wide taskings since Sept. 11. We are asking them to fly a great deal to support the warfighter, and they have answered the call time and time again.”



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aircrews; b52; b52s; bomber; fight; flight; gaspassers; oef; refuel; usaf

1 posted on 03/17/2006 3:12:03 PM PST by SandRat
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To: 2LT Radix jr; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; 80 Square Miles; A Ruckus of Dogs; acad1228; AirForceMom; ..

Fiil 'Er Up! Ethel Please. Oh yeah and clean the windscreen too.


2 posted on 03/17/2006 3:13:08 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Nice.

Filegula...


3 posted on 03/17/2006 3:15:21 PM PST by DoughtyOne (If you don't want to be lumped in with those who commit violence in your name, take steps to end it.)
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To: SandRat

LOL! Cool.


4 posted on 03/17/2006 3:15:44 PM PST by StarCMC (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing...thank you Sarge.)
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To: SandRat

I am glad I don't have to pay that bad boy's gas bill (directly). A teen aged daughter is darn near expensive, though....


5 posted on 03/17/2006 3:18:02 PM PST by llevrok (Drink your beer damnit !! There are people in Africa sober.)
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To: SandRat

Wonder why they're not using the newer KC-10s over there??


6 posted on 03/17/2006 3:18:16 PM PST by taillightchaser (!)
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To: SandRat

Flying backward,passing gas.


7 posted on 03/17/2006 3:18:41 PM PST by puppypusher
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To: SandRat

LOL! Refueling like that is so incredible! Nice picture.


8 posted on 03/17/2006 3:19:20 PM PST by phantomworker (The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram. - Thomas Koenig)
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To: SandRat
What's going on in Afghanistan that requires 200 B-52 sorties in the last six weeks.

I knew that the Taliban had threatened new uprisings, but if we need that much ordinance to subdue them again, they are far stronger and/or numerous than rumored.

The "close air support" tag on the missions implies that we are heavily engaged with sizeable Taliban units. You don't need a B-52 strike to deal with a small rag-tag group of terrorists.

Anyone got the "straight" scoop on what's happening?

9 posted on 03/17/2006 3:20:02 PM PST by HardStarboard
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To: llevrok

Hey, as the father of two now grown girls I'm still paying off the loans for all the Barbie Stuff.


10 posted on 03/17/2006 3:20:09 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: HardStarboard

Bunker busters to collapse Caves????


11 posted on 03/17/2006 3:21:46 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: HardStarboard
Just a WAG, but perhaps we're engaging Pakistani intelligence service personnel acting in support of the Taliban/Al Queda.
12 posted on 03/17/2006 3:22:36 PM PST by Tree of Liberty (requiescat in pace, President Reagan)
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To: SandRat

Hey, I'll bet my sons' video games, action figures and Hot Wheels cost more than Barbie Stuff! ;)


13 posted on 03/17/2006 3:23:48 PM PST by phantomworker (The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram. - Thomas Koenig)
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To: HardStarboard
200 sorties doesn't mean all 200 involved combat. The B-52's are used because of their very long loiter time and many were most likely orbiting on call if necessary.
14 posted on 03/17/2006 3:24:23 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Real Leaders Base Their Decisions on Their Convictions. Wannabes Base Decisions on the Latest Poll.)
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To: SandRat; alfa6; Valin; SAMWolf; Peanut Gallery; snippy_about_it; Wneighbor

The wide angle lens doesn't do justice to just how close the two planes are.

In the one and only flight I ever took on a USAF plane I was able to get into the boomer position on a KC-135 while refueling a flight of A-7's. You're close enough to read the pilot's name on his flight suit.


15 posted on 03/17/2006 3:25:17 PM PST by Professional Engineer ( Happy patron saint of Engineers day! Beertender, green pocket protectors for everyone.)
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To: phantomworker

did I forget to mention a son too with all that plus He-Man and GI-JOE stuff?


16 posted on 03/17/2006 3:25:47 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

LOL! OK, you win. My two boys share most of their stuff. College isn't cheap either...


17 posted on 03/17/2006 3:28:37 PM PST by phantomworker (The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram. - Thomas Koenig)
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To: phantomworker
Tell me about it! Paid the fare for the two oldest and halfway through the last and it was graduate one and the next goes in.

I'm a Renaissance Dad "Baroque!"
18 posted on 03/17/2006 3:31:39 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: phantomworker

It's 2006 and B-52s are performing CAS. Who wudda thunk it?


19 posted on 03/17/2006 3:31:47 PM PST by Knuckledragger
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To: taillightchaser
They're passing gas over Iraq.

KC-10 Extender takes over in-flight fueling job

Last pair of white world KC-135’s depart

20 posted on 03/17/2006 3:36:55 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Knuckledragger

Well, actually ideally suited for it too, with JDAM precision munitions. Lots more efficient than having a number of fighters rotate around.

Guys up in that B-52 are probably buzzing around bored out of their mind, drinking coffee, and punch in a few numbers when the guys below request a drop.


21 posted on 03/17/2006 3:39:50 PM PST by farlander (Strategery - sure beats liberalism!)
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To: SandRat

Do you guys take American Express? lol


22 posted on 03/17/2006 3:42:54 PM PST by verity (The MSM is comprised of useless eaters)
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To: Knuckledragger
Didn't know that! This is the last I heard the B-52's:


23 posted on 03/17/2006 3:44:06 PM PST by phantomworker (The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram. - Thomas Koenig)
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To: SandRat
I knew we were still flying the BUFF, but the KC-135, too? Makes me homesick for the Air Force. My first duty station was a SAC base for both.
24 posted on 03/17/2006 3:45:00 PM PST by manwiththehands (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: SandRat

Love those 'Buffs'


25 posted on 03/17/2006 3:45:57 PM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister..but we knew just what to do...we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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To: phantomworker
Maybe that BUFF is carrying one of THESE
26 posted on 03/17/2006 3:59:01 PM PST by One4Indictment
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To: SandRat

Don't call me Ethel!


27 posted on 03/17/2006 4:03:40 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Never corner anything meaner than you. NSDQ)
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To: HardStarboard
Early Spring weeding. Mostly loitering waiting for $hit to happen. There will be Toweliban movement soon I am told. They are just not sure when.
28 posted on 03/17/2006 4:05:14 PM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Never corner anything meaner than you. NSDQ)
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To: HardStarboard
You don't need a B-52 strike to deal with a small rag-tag group of terrorists.

True, but as the article says....
Whenever we, as B-52 aircrew members, have the opportunity to shape the battlefield with our armament....."

I would hate to be on the receiving end of such a shaped battlefield.

If I might comment, the Canadian forces have been getting their butts kicked hard recently in Afghanistan to the point that the Canadian news has been getting on their leaders case. I sense that some of this might be an attempt to cut our northern neighbors some ground battlefield slack. But that is just speculation on my part.

29 posted on 03/17/2006 4:07:47 PM PST by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)
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To: SandRat
FANTASTIC PHOTO! EVER FILL ONE OF THESE UP?
30 posted on 03/17/2006 4:08:10 PM PST by oxcart
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To: SandRat

hell ya now thats a nice photo! :)


31 posted on 03/17/2006 4:16:35 PM PST by Echo Talon
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To: taillightchaser
Wonder why they're not using the newer KC-10s over there??

There's a LOT more KC-135s than there are KC-10s. And the KC-10s, with their ability to refuel both boom/receptical aircraft of the USAF and the probe/drogue aircraft of the USN/USMC, the Brits and most of our allies, are more valuable deployed into an environment where there is greater diversity of assets ... like Iraq

(Although I should mention that some USMC, RAF and coalition aircraft are deployed to Afghanistan. While there are some -135s equipped with wingtip probe/drogue pods, my recollection is that the probe/drogue needs in Afghanistan are being handled by RAF tankers).
32 posted on 03/17/2006 4:17:20 PM PST by tanknetter
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To: SandRat

This was my work view for three years from 1966-1970. Laying next to the boom operator flying the ruddervators and seeing places like Guam, Wake Island and Okinawa disappearing in the distance was my world. We lived in the KC-135 and carried a pair of spare engines along one for the tanker and one for the B-52's or what ever was needed.

As a Jet Engine Mechanic we not only was a flying Gas Tank but a fully equipped parts operation as well. That view is burned into my memory; the view is spectacular as you can imagine but it is deadly serious work to co-ordinate the aerial ballet required to successfully accomplish that task.


33 posted on 03/17/2006 4:53:46 PM PST by winker
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: oxcart
How about this one?


35 posted on 03/17/2006 5:08:47 PM PST by phantomworker (The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram. - Thomas Koenig)
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To: SandRat

Yawn. Ho Hum. Been there. Seen that.





But dog gone it is still FASCINATING!


36 posted on 03/17/2006 5:21:10 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Knuckledragger

I guess I need to modify my idea of what close air support is. I thought it was when they zoom in at treetop level and strafe and bomb the bad guys threatening the good guys. I can't see B-52's pulling that off.


37 posted on 03/17/2006 5:25:16 PM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
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To: oxcart

We filled up a SR-71 once over the Pacific. I didn't get to watch as it was not allowed at that time. I later found that the boom operator would have let me watch. Too bad he didn't tell me till after it was done.

Refuled B-52s & F-104s.


38 posted on 03/17/2006 5:25:38 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: winker

***This was my work view for three years from 1966-1970.***

Mine too. 1966-1969. Jet over 2 aircrarft mechanic.
Walker AFB, NM
Little Rock AFB.
Kadina AFB, Okinawa.
Guam.
Ban-UTapao, Thailand
Fairbanks, Ak.
And that paradise on earth, Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. In winter.


39 posted on 03/17/2006 5:31:03 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
Yes, those Blackbirds were rather secretive critters.
40 posted on 03/17/2006 5:35:15 PM PST by oxcart
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To: oxcart


A thing of beauty!!
41 posted on 03/17/2006 9:10:50 PM PST by One4Indictment
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To: SandRat

BTTT


42 posted on 03/18/2006 3:14:00 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: One4Indictment
Take Off
43 posted on 03/18/2006 3:38:38 AM PST by plenipotentiary
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To: HardStarboard

Using them as CAS. The B-52s can loiter for hours on station waiting for the call to put down JDAM onto targets.


44 posted on 03/18/2006 7:39:35 AM PST by Tommyjo
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