SOUTHWEST ASIA - In the first three months of 2010, Airmen supporting the KC-10 deployed air refueling mission in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility flew more than 1,000 sorties offl-loading more than 108 million pounds of fuel to more than 6,600 aircraft in support of combat operations. Behind the controls for many of those missions was 1st Lt. Jason Brown.
Brown is a KC-10 Extender tanker pilot deployed with the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at a non-disclosed in Southwest Asia. He is deployed from the 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, 305th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and his hometown is Arvada, Colo. As a KC-10 pilot, Brown directly supports combat air refueling missions with the 908th EARS and the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.
"Sometimes the day-to-day stuff we deal with shadows the great work we do," said Brown, an Air Force Academy graduate. "Taking a step back and looking at the big picture helps to show what we do is worth the effort of being here, being a pilot and being in the Air Force."
In the first quarter of 2010, Brown helped support more than 500 "troops in contact" events meaning KC-10 Airmen refueled aircraft that were providing air-to-ground support for troops in contact with enemy forces on the front lines. Brown said when he graduated high school in Arvada, he never quite thought he'd be where he is today.
"Out of high school, I wanted to play Division I athletics and receive an excellent education at the same time," Brown said. "The Air Force Academy recruited me to play football and I knew it was an opportunity I could not pass up. I played football all four years -- wide receiver -- and was a letterman for the last three. I also lettered in baseball for two years -- starting as a pitcher and moved to first base.
"Growing up in Colorado, I knew a lot about the Air Force Academy and what it had to offer from the military service, to the athletic program, academic program, as well as the many lasting friendships I would have as a result," the first lieutenant said. "Flying wasn't the first thing on my mind before or even during my time at the academy, but when it became time to decide what to do upon graduation, choosing to fly was one of the easier decisions I've had to make. Most people have their own reasons for attending the Air Force Academy and not one is any better or worse than another, but in the end you stay and commission because you want to be a part of the efforts your peers are putting in overseas."
According to his official Air Force job description as a tanker pilot, Brown 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 Brown 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, Brown 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-10, 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. Supporting the war effort, he said, reminds him of how everything got started for him.
"Being a senior in high school during Sept. 11, 2001, urged many people to join, which had an impact on me as well and so this was my way of doing my part," Brown said. "My best friend from high school is a Marine and has served twice in Iraq. Although I don't nearly experience what he did going door-to-door, he still appreciates the support that we in the Air Force provide with the KC-10s and other aircraft every day."