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Video: Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel Montesano

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel Montesano, from Kansas City, Mo., talks to a WDAF-TV reporter, in Kansas City, about being away from home during the holidays and her duties as a personnel administrator deployed to Kyrgyzstan.

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This work, Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel Montesano, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:12.22.2011

Date Posted:12.22.2011 10:12AM


Video ID:133566




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  • While it won’t be going down the street under its own power, a KC-135E Stratotanker from the Kansas Air National Guard will soon be taking a trip along Topeka Blvd. to its new home at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard, Forbes Field, Topeka.

The tanker will be moved starting at approximately 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, from the 190th Air Refueling Wing at Forbes Field to its new concrete pad at the museum at 6700 S. Topeka Blvd. Traffic will be shut down in both directions on all four lanes of Topeka Boulevard starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday until approximately 8 p.m. Westar Energy will cut power in the immediate area from approximately 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. This will affect approximately 12-15 Westar customers who have already been notified.

Members of the Kansas National Guard’s 891st Engineer Battalion, constructed the pad for the jet during their annual training July 16-24. But construction of the pad was just one of the many logistics considerations tackled before moving day. Planning the route, for example, one does not just pick up a jet weighing approximately 60 tons with a length of 136 feet, a wingspan of 130 feet and a height in excess of 38 feet and carry it away.

"It has taken significant cooperative planning and a lot of hard work, but it is great that we will be able to keep this part of Kansas National Guard history here in the state where future generations will be able to see and appreciate it," said Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general.

The jet will be moved along the runway from the 190th Air Refueling Wing, southeast toward Gary Ormsby Drive, across a ditch at the south end of Forbes Field (near Heartland Park Topeka). Then it will travel west on Gary Ormsby Drive to Topeka Blvd., then north up Topeka Blvd., turning right into the main Forbes Field entrance to its new home at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard (6700 S. Topeka Blvd). Stadler Moving Transport is on contract to assist with the move.

To facilitate the move from Forbes onto Topeka Blvd., a fence will have to be removed and replaced by the 190th Air Refueling Wing’s Civil Engineering Squadron and Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority. The ditch will be filled with shoring materials to allow the tanker to be moved across it, which will then be removed once the tanker has passed. The fence removal and ditch work will begin at approximately 12 p.m. Wednesday.

Warren Construction will assist with movement of the traffic signal at the corner of Gary Ormsby Drive and Topeka Blvd. so that the jet can make the turn.

There are also matters concerning signage along Topeka Blvd., electrical lines and the removal of two trees at the entrance to Forbes Field, which have already been moved. And since KC-135s do not normally share the road with other vehicles, traffic control and signage will be handled by the city of Topeka traffic operations along Gary Ormsby Drive, and the Shawnee County public works will install signs along Topeka Boulevard.

Traffic control will be handled by Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office and Metropolitan Transit Airport Authority with assistance from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Movement costs will be paid from the Col. Mike O’Toole Memorial Fund at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard and will cost approximately $12,000. O’Toole was a former 190th Air Refueling Wing Commander.

According to U.S. Air Force records, Boeing delivered KC-135A 57-1429 to the Air Force on July 16, 1958. Three months later, it became the first KC-135 to land on Taiwan when Secretary of State John Foster Dulles arrived for a visit. Over the next 19 years, the tanker served four different refueling units on multiple deployments, including two to Thailand during the Vietnam War.

When the 190th Defense System Evaluation Group became the 190th Air Refueling Group in 1977, this jet was one of the first Stratotankers assigned to the unit. The tanker was upgraded to a KC-135E model in 1984 and later served in Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during 1990-1991. It flew more than 10,000 hours on deployments around the world with the 190th Air Refueling Wing before it flew its final sortie on May 8, 2007.

"This plane, along with 10 or 11 others, was being prepared to be sent to the U.S. Air Force ‘bone yard’ near Tucson, Ariz.," said retired Lt. Col. Doug Jacobs, command historian for the Museum of the Kansas National Guard. "When we were requesting the aircraft several years ago, this particular aircraft was presented as one that carried historical significance. One crew chief, Master Sgt. Paul Owens, served on that aircraft for almost 30 years."

After a long delay, approval came back to keep it in Kansas. It was demilitarized with the engines removed and prepared for its new home.

Volunteers of the 190th Maintenance Group contributed significant time and effort to make the aircraft safe for public display and repainted it to appear as it did during the 1980s, complete with Strategic Air Command markings and gloss grey paint. Although it will be on display at the museum, the jet remains U.S. Air Force property and the 190th will be responsible for maintaining it on the ground.

"Although it has taken a lot of planning and effort to make this a reality, at the end of the day, the Museum of the Kansas National Guard will have one more testament to the proud heritage of the men, women and machines of the Kansas National Guard," Tafanelli said.
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