Last week I was able to participate in a once in a lifetime opportunity that quickly has become one of the top five most amazing things I have ever done. I took part in an Arizona Air National Guard aerial refueling mission. The mission took place over the Grand Canyon in a KC-135R Stratotanker.
During the “mission” our flight was able to refuel 10 F-16s that were out of Tucson. A couple of other firsts were that I was able to sit right next to the skilled boom operator as he refueled the F-16s and I also had the opportunity to sit in the cockpit during the landing (AMAZING)!!!
While my experience is one that I can “cross off my bucket list” I want to take a minute to thank our service men and women at the 161st Air Refueling Wing and give you a few statistics on why what they do is so important.
Did you know?
- The Arizona National Guard is actually under the control of the state, with the governor acting as commander in chief.
- The primary mission of the 161st Air Refueling Wing is to provide global aerial refueling support to U.S. military forces and our allies.
- Barry Goldwater was one of its founders and original members.
- In early Nov. 2012, the 161st Air Refueling Wing helped launch 16 aircraft in support of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The aircraft, both C-5s and C-17s, contained utility vehicles, equipment and personnel from Arizona’s Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APD) bound for New York State.
While we are preparing for Thanksgiving it is important to be thankful for our service men and women.