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Fairchild AFB aircrews refuel Oregon ANG partners, complete oceanic training

A U.S. Air National Guard F-15C Eagle from the 142nd Fighter Wing, connects with a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing during an air refueling training mission over Oregon, Nov. 22, 2019.

An Air National Guard F-15C Eagle from the 142nd Fighter Wing connects with a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing during an aerial refueling training mission over Oregon, Nov. 22, 2019. The 92nd ARW aircrew conducted the training in support of their Oregon ANG Total Force partners to meet aerial refueling training requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lawrence Sena)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) --

Aircrew members from Fairchild Air Force Base's 97th, 93rd and 384th Air Refueling Squadrons conducted an air refueling training mission with the 142nd Fighter Wing's F-15C Eagles Nov. 23 over Oregon.

Fairchild AFB conducted the training with the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd FW to meet air refueling training requirements for both units en route to completing oceanic training over Hawaii.

“Even though we are active duty, we can always integrate with our Air National Guard partners,” said Capt. Thomas Posey, 97th ARS instructor pilot. “Whether it is our air refueling partners from the 141st Air Refueling Wing flying with us or any other guard unit, they play a crucial role in being able to successfully complete the mission.”

Boom operators are required to become certified in refueling all aircraft types, and by supporting the Oregon ANG, Fairchild AFB is able to ensure its boom operators meet fighter refueling requirements and be mission-ready at all times.

“Supporting our ANG partners is important because we are able to get them the air refueling qualifications they need and complete training requirements on our side as well,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Keepers, 93rd ARS instructor boom operator. “During this mission, our boom operator needed to become certified in refueling fighter aircraft, so being able to work with the Oregon ANG was a great opportunity to accomplish that.”

The 142nd FW’s mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime taskings any time, any place. This includes supporting Operation Noble Eagle, a homeland defense operation which started in the wake of 9/11. The no-fail nature of this mission puts training and readiness at the forefront of their daily operations.

After supporting the 142nd FW, training continued for the 97th ARS during overseas oceanic qualification training at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Oceanic qualification training is an annual requirement for pilots that involves successfully navigating to overseas locations with limited equipment.

“When we go ‘oceanic,’ we are unable to use most of our radio systems on board the aircraft, so this type of training enables us to successfully navigate over the ocean without our systems and reach our destination,” Posey said.

This oceanic training mission comes just one month after the reactivation of the 97th ARS, and newly-added pilots and boom operators are working to ensure they are qualified and ready to execute the Rapid Global Mobility mission.

“Right now, we’re working on getting everyone qualified and 100% mission-ready,” Posey said. “As we receive more members into the squadron, we need to make sure we are healthy, operational and ready to go at any time.”

By supporting its Total Force partners in the Oregon ANG and improving the readiness of its Airmen through oceanic flight training, Fairchild AFB continues its success as the world’s premier air refueling team, fueling global reach at the speed of war.

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