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Fairchild crews support mission against ISIL

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) -- Fairchild aircrews are actively participating in support of the mission against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant known as ISIL.

U.S. military forces and partner nations, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have been taking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq since Sept. 23, using a mix of fighter, bomber, remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles against ISIL targets.

Some U.S. aircraft participating in the operation include remotely piloted aircraft, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet and F-22 Raptor fighters, B-1B Lancer bombers and KC-135 Stratotankers.

From their deployed location, Fairchild crews are proud of their airframe and the role it's filling against the continuing effort fighting global terrorism.

"For over 57 years, the KC-135 has provided the logistical backbone to the U.S. air war fighting capability," said Maj. Gena Fedoruk, 92nd Operations Support Squadron instructor pilot. "The aircraft's purpose is fuel the fight, which she has reliably done for decades. The KC-135 is an asset that continues to perform well, excelling in the ever-changing operational environment and sustained high ops tempo."

Another important member of the tanker crews knows the importance of the Stratotanker.

"I feel the KC-135 has a very important role in fulfilling the mission because we are able to get aircraft where they are needed whether it's to their operating bases or to target locations and safely back home again," said Senior Airman Wesley Tinch, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator. "It's because of the Stratotanker that other aircraft effectively fulfill their role in protecting the freedom back home."

The KC-135 has provided air bridges since its inception in 1954. To name a few, it refueled aircraft in the Vietnam War, Just Cause in Panama, Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Allied Force in the Balkans, Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and now continues to serve in the Global War on Terrorism.

Fairchild crews are also proud to be participating in air operations against ISIL.

"My role as an aircrew member on such a timeless airframe is beyond anything I could have hoped for in any lifetime," said 1st Lt. Marcel Trott, 92nd ARS pilot. "Being a part of something greater than the individual is a blessing in itself - it's purely my honor to serve in such a capacity."

"I'm extremely honored to have participated with my crew in leading the first KC-135 formation flight in support of the initial airstrikes in Syria," Fedoruk said. "It is truly fulfilling to be part of this historic moment in the fight against ISIL and terrorism."

Base leadership stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the deployed crews and their efforts over the skies of Iraq and Syria.

"Our crews are working hard around the clock delivering fuel to U.S. and coalition aircraft on the front lines in order to protect our freedom," said Col. Charles McDaniel, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "I'm extremely proud of the job they are doing and of the continuing role our KC-135s have provided to the warfighters."

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