News: Travis KC-10 pilot, Norco native, flies combat air refueling missions from Southwest Asia base
Story by Senior Airman Jenifer Calhoun
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Every time Capt. Wes Spurlock steps with his crew to fly a combat air refueling mission, the 10 year Air Force veteran said he knows the importance behind what he does.
"Operations are happening every day that require fuel at a moment's notice," said Spurlock, a KC-10 Extender pilot deployed with the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia. "The KC-10 has the capability and the people to make it happen."
In his deployed duties as a pilot, Spurlock drives the biggest air refueling aircraft in the Air Force inventory. In addition to the three main wing fuel tanks, the KC-10 has three large fuel tanks under the cargo floor, one under the forward lower cargo compartment, one in the center wing area and one under the rear compartment.
Combined, the capacity of the six tanks of the KC-10 carries more than 356,000 pounds (nearly 55,000 gallons) of fuel -- almost twice as much as the KC-135 Stratotanker. That's a lot of fuel to help keep aircraft providing ground cover in Afghanistan on target and in the air.
"As a KC-10 pilot over here, we support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom plus other contingency operations," said Spurlock, who is deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. "I know my job has an effect on the war effort on a daily basis."
Becoming a pilot in the Air Force is not easy requiring years of training and practice. According to the Air Force specialty description for 11T2, qualified pilot/co-pilot, Airmen in Spurlock's field are required to plan and prepare for missions and review mission taskings, intelligence and weather information.
They also supervise mission planning, preparation and filing of flight plans and crew briefings while at the same time ensuring their aircraft is pre-flighted, inspected, loaded, equipped and manned for missions. All of this is done in addition to the actual physical act of flying the aircraft. Through all of this, Spurlock said it is why he is proud to serve.
"It is awesome to serve in the Air Force," said the 2000 graduate of Norco High School and the 2004 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. "It all comes back to seeing the impact that yopu have on a daily basis."
The 380th AEW is comprised of four groups and 12 squadrons, including the 908th EARS, and the wing's deployed mission includes air refueling, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. In addition to OIF and OEF, the wing also supports the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
This work, Travis KC-10 pilot, Norco native, flies combat air refueling missions from Southwest Asia base, by MSgt Jenifer Calhoun, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.