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906th ARS: Refueling for the fight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Miranda Simpson
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill – Located in the heart of the Midwest, the 906th Air Refueling Squadron provides global air refueling for combatant commands across the world.

On average, this squadron flies two to three refueling missions per day. This includes training and real-world air refueling missions from home station and while deployed.

The 906th ARS is also capable of moving cargo and conducting aeromedical evacuation missions. They have flown relief missions for hurricanes by providing supplies and moved patients all over the globe to the appropriate medical treatment facilities.

To make sure everything goes as planned, there are 32 different Air Force Specialty Codes working within the squadron, including boom operators, pilots, fuels, Squadron Aviation Resource Managers, maintainers and Aircrew Flight Equipment technicians.

Throughout the different AFSCs, something unique stands out: Air National Guard members from the 126th Air Refueling Wing work in tandem with the 906th ARS active duty members.

Lt. Col. Kurt Wampole, 906th ARS commander, explained how there was an increased emphasis on Total Force Integration when the congressionally-driven Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005 ultimately landed the 906th ARS an official spot here four years later.

Although the ANG owns the air refueling aircraft, KC-135 Stratotankers, the two entities have built a strong relationship and operate completely integrated on a daily basis.

“The teamwork here is what makes us successful,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Yanke, 906th ARS superintendent. “We get to work with and lean on the experience of guys who have been doing their job for 30 years. What the Airmen have been able to do here is establish relationships and learn a lot in a very short amount of time.”

They even perfect the skills needed to inspect equipment and save people’s lives, like Senior Airman Remington Weston, 906th ARS AFE technician.

“If there was ever an in-flight emergency or aircraft mishap, our equipment is there to provide protection for anyone on board the aircraft. We also ensure that aircrew members are up-to-date on all training requirements that they need to execute their everyday duties.”

With that kind of trust, it’s easy to believe the Airmen when they say the 906th ARS is like a family. Weston said he feels as though he can go to his peers, or even anyone in his leadership chain, and he knows they will always be there for him.

That same feeling was echoed by his superintendent, Yanke, who also added heartfelt advice for his Airmen. “Know the impact you are having in the grand scheme of things…Know your value.”

Wampole said his Airmen never fail to impress him when executing their complex mission safely and professionally every day, all while making it look easy.

“Our people and everything they accomplish makes me proud to be this squadron’s commander. We have a very diverse team and getting to interact with them all is an incredible experience. I am honored and humbled to lead such an amazing team. I couldn’t ask for a better group of Airmen to serve with.”