The thirst for tanker gas carries on

  • Published
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing

A year full of obstacles including a global pandemic and a rapidly approaching hurricane season didn’t stop Airmen from the 927th Air Refueling Wing from being mission ready during the unit training assembly held August 1-2, 2020.

In one of several missions flown over the weekend, a 63rd Air Refueling Squadron aircrew onboard a KC-135 Stratotanker met mid-air to refuel three 23rd Fighter Group of A-10 Thunderbolts from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.  

“Having training exercises keep us proficient and current in our jobs which we can’t do at home,” said Staff Sgt. Jackie Brown, a boom operator with the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron. “We can do online tasks but it’s the hands-on practice that keeps us proficient.”

Along with flight crew, maintainers who are essentially the hands that get the aircraft moving are also essential to the missions.

“When it comes to aircraft maintenance, we always have to be ready. Even with COVID-19, we still have to push forward and do our mission,” said Senior Master Sgt. Darrell Mellars Aircraft Maintenance Superintendent. “We don’t have time to sit back and relax we have to keep the aircraft moving and in the air.”

Even with the many obstacles faced the vision of the base to always be ready stands true. Being a refueling base tanker gas is important to keep aircrafts flying longer to accomplish missions. 

“The Air Force has a mission that is on-going and just because the civilian world slows down, we as the military have to keep going,” said Mellers “We bring our people in to train and get them where they need to be to be proficient and ready.”

While the base is only at twenty-five percent capacity due to social distancing from COVID-19, some members are able to telework from home, while others need to be on base to perform their duties and continue to be proficient in their jobs.