/ Published September 10, 2019
A KC-135R Stratotanker assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, 91st Air Refueling Squadron, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., flies a training mission over central Florida. The KC-135's principal mission is air refueling. This asset greatly enhances the U. S. Air Force's capability to accomplish its mission of Global Engagement. It also provides aerial refueling support to U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and allied aircraft. Four turbofans, mounted under 35-degree swept wings, power the KC-135 to takeoffs at gross weights up to 322,500 pounds (146,285 kilograms). Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the tanker's flying boom, the KC-135's primary fuel transfer method. A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailed behind the flying boom, may be used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. An operator stationed in the rear of the plane controls the boom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt Keith Reed)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the unit presently designated the 6th Air Mobility Wing. The 6th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing became the 6th Air Base Wing, finding a home at MacDill AFB, Fla., in 1994. The departure of the 56th Fighter Wing’s F-16 Fighting Falcons in the early 1990s left MacDill’s flightline vacant for the first time in its history. Once activated as an Air Base Wing, the Sixth assumed management of the combatant command support mission on behalf of the Air Force. By Sept. 1994, the operational tempo at the base increased dramatically with support to Operation Restore Democracy in Haiti, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Air Operations Center. Also in 1994, the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and crews returned the flying mission to MacDill resulting in another redesignation as the 6th Air Refueling Wing. Subsequently, the 310th Airlift Squadron arrival in 2001 transforming the Sixth into the 6th Air Mobility Wing. Pictured is a 6th Air Mobility Wing KC-135 Stratotanker flying over the Sunshine Skyway bridge in 2012.