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Air refueling wing from Scott plays vital role worldwide

  • Published
  • By Monte Miller
  • 375th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
(Editor's note: This is part two of a two part series on the 126th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135 Stratotanker mission.)

The sun had only been up a couple of hours when the flight crew arrived to start their day at Scott Air Force Base.

Their mission for that day was to travel high above Whiteman Air Force Base near Kansas City, Mo., and refuel A-10 Thunderbolt IIs during a training mission.

The day began with a full crew briefing that included the flight plan, weather, safety procedures and many other points of interest that would affect the flight and the mission.

This mission was somewhat unique since it would be a flight of two KC-135s in formation.

After the briefing, the crews were transported out to their jets where about another hour of inspections and system checks are performed before engine start, a final salute from the ground crew and taxi to the runway.

After a successful take-off the aircraft turned west and headed to the designated refueling tract somewhere over western Missouri.

Once the aircraft were in the pattern at about 13,000 feet, the call was made to the nearby A-10s that they were ready to refuel. The tankers then sustained airspeed of 220 knots to allow the A-10s to refuel safely.

Out of nowhere, the fuel thirsty Warthog swooped into position behind the tanker to receive about 200 gallons or 1,000 pounds of jet fuel before continuing their training mission.

On this refueling mission, the 126th Air Refueling Wing refueled six aircraft and as quickly as they had arrived, the A-10s were out of sight continuing their training.

The A-10 Thuderbolt IIs are from the 442nd Fighter Wing, Air Force Reserve Command based at Whiteman AFB, Mo.

The 126th ARW crew for the refueling mission included pilot Capt. David Essrington, co-pilot 1st Lt. Viveca Lane, boom operator Staff Sgt. Nathan Moore and passenger liason/pilot Capt. Steve Olson.

They are all members of the 126th ARW, an Illinois Air National Guard wing based at Scott Air Force Base.