News: McConnell KC-135 pilot flies combat air refueling missions for USCENTCOM
Story by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Capt. Pat Edwards is a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot deployed with the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia.
Edwards is deployed from the 384th Air Refueling Squadron, 22nd Air Refueling Wing, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. According to the McConnell base Web site, the 22nd ARW provides all-weather, in-flight, aerial refueling for U.S. and allied military aircraft and airlift for Global Reach projection of troops, equipment and supplies worldwide.
According to his official Air Force job description as a tanker pilot, Edwards pilots tanker aircraft and commands crews to accomplish air refueling, airlift, training and other missions. He plans and prepares for missions, reviews mission tasking, intelligence and weather information, and supervises mission planning, preparation and filing of flight plans and crew briefings.
The job description also states that tanker pilots like Edwards ensure aircraft are pre-flighted, inspected, loaded, equipped and manned for missions. In addition to piloting the aircraft and commanding the crew, he operates aircraft controls and equipment and performs, supervises, or "directs navigation, in-flight refueling and weapons delivery."
Furthermore, Edwards conducts and supervises training of crewmembers, ensures the operational readiness of the crew by conducting or supervising mission specific training, and develops plans and policies, monitors operations, and advises commanders. He also assists commanders and performs staff functions related tanker pilot duties.
Every time he flies the KC-135, the job description also shows that he must maintain mandatory job knowledge in the theory of flight, air navigation, meteorology, flying directives, aircraft operating procedures and mission tactics.
According to statistics from Air Force Central's Combined Air Operation Center in Southwest Asia, coalition tankers have flown greater than 6,000 sorties, offloaded greater than 688 million pounds of fuel and refueled more than 54,000 aircraft as of Aug. 31.
The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing is one of the "largest, most diverse" expeditionary wings in the Air Force, providing combat airpower and support for deployed areas supporting operations New Dawn, Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, according to the 379th AEW's website. The wing and its associate units operate more than 100 aircraft, making the base a large hub for humanitarian airlift activity while providing mission-essential combat power, aeromedical evacuation and intelligence support for three theaters of operations.