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    Refueling the Pacific

    For more than 60 years, the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker has
    equipped the United States Air Force with aerial refueling capabilities. Although it started in 1954 with
    the purchase of a mere 29 aircraft, the U.S. Air Force now has nearly 400 KC-135 aircraft that fly
    missions across the globe.

    The 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, relies on consistent
    rotations of various Air National Guard tanker units throughout the U.S. to fly missions year-round.
    These units and their aircraft provide support to sister services and foreign nationals with reliable in-
    flight refueling and medical evacuations.

    Approximately 13 ANG units rotate within the 506th EARS to keep it fully functional at all times
    throughout the year. Currently, the 186th Air Refueling Wing from Mississippi Air National Guard is
    taking responsibility for the 506 EARS operations.

    “Day-to-day missions vary with the 506th, as the Air Force embeds the adaptability to remain flexible,”
    said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Emily Lovings, a squadron aviation resource manager with the 506 EARS. “We fly training missions to restore aircrew currencies, as well as providing in-flight refuels to those in
    the Indo-Pacific region.”

    In October of this year, the 506 EARS conducted a refueling mission with the goal of training more Royal
    Australian Air Force pilots to tank with the KC-135. Missions like this ensure our ability to assist U.S.
    allies, allowing them to effortlessly continue missions.

    The 506 flies a variety of missions alongside allied and partnered nations throughout the year. These
    missions improve capabilities in the region.

    “The 506 is important because it provides global reach to the pacific,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan
    Knight, a boom operator with the 506 EARS.

    Not only do ANG units build relationships with U.S. allies, but they are able to strengthen rapport with
    other outbound and incoming ANG units. Having good communication between the rotating units allows
    the 506 EARS to run smoothly and transition with minimal difficulty.

    Each rotation lasts two months. Incoming units prepare with consistent contact to know what will be
    needed during their time with the gaining unit while outbound units set standards and procedures to
    keep operations flowing.

    The 506 EARS mission is vital as it is located in the largest area of responsibility in the Department of
    Defense, and is essential to maintaining air superiority from the forward edge of the Indo-Pacific.



    Date Taken: 11.22.2021
    Date Posted: 11.23.2021 17:13
    Story ID: 409853
    Location: GU

    Web Views: 197
    Downloads: 0