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    Refueling squadrons increase camaraderie

    MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, KS, UNITED STATES

    04.16.2019

    Story by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker 

    22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

    Since the arrival of the KC-46A Pegasus, the 22nd Operations Group has been increasing looking for ways to build camaraderie between McConnell’s boom operators.

    “People have a lot of pride in the airplanes that they fly and in the airplanes that they operate,” said Staff Sgt. Devaughn Granger, 344th Air Refueling Squadron KC-46A Pegasus boom operator. “We understand that we’re going to have competitions, that’s just who we are, but our goal is to have a healthy competition.”

    The 344th, 349th and 350th ARS boom operators participate in weekly Boom Physical Training and Boom Lunches in order to increase comradeship. On average, 30 boom operators attend the team building events.

    The squadrons are involved with cargo rodeos, which put the aircrews in cargo loading scenarios that have hidden mistakes. The crews are responsible for catching those mistakes. The winner is awarded a trophy to display in their squadron building.

    Staff Sgt. Alex Esquibel, 350th ARS KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator instructor, explained that during these team building events, relationships can be built, which can encourage boom operators from other squadrons to learn from each other.

    “Most of the boom operators on the KC-46 are prior operators on the KC-135 or KC-10 Extender, so they know how our community works,” said Esquibel. “They get to experience the new community and show it to us. It’s bringing us together.”

    Last week aircrew members of the 344th ARS toured and briefed boom operators from the 349th and 350th on the functionalities and features of the KC-46.

    “Why would we let an airplane drive a divide?” said Granger. “I appreciate all these guys and know what they go through. When you bring in another level of negativity, that’s not appreciating each other or caring about each other.”

    Both boom operators exclaimed the importance of being part of a team.

    “I’ve had my times where I’ve been gone on the road for 250 plus days out of the year,” said Granger. “And guess what?”

    “I look left and right, and I’m eating thanksgiving dinner with my boom operators and pilots,” Granger continued. “People miss multiple holidays and birthdays, so you have to have that camaraderie.”

    As a team, the boom operators are able to voice their opinions, concerns and ideas. They are able to learn from each other and strengthen the refueling capabilities that McConnell provides.

    “There’s a quote by Tecumseh that states, ‘A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong,’” said Esquibel. “Everyone has their own piece that they bring to the fight. You can’t do everything yourself, but when you bring everyone together, you’re stronger as a unit.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.16.2019
    Date Posted: 04.17.2019 11:08
    Story ID: 318467
    Location: MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, KS, US 

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