Base Guide/Phone Book
Commander's Action Line
Helping Agencies
Newcomers
Powder River Training Complex
Road and Weather
Public Affairs

   

Area leaders experience thrill of air refueling mission

Airman Basic Sarah Cason, a KC-135 boom operator assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, focuses on the B-52 Stratofortress she’s refueling June 27, 2018.

A B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, takes on fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to MacDill AFB, Florida, June 27, 2018. The KC-135 took off from Ellsworth AFB, S.D. to conduct refueling training missions with aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James L. Miller)

Airman Basic Sarah Cason, a KC-135 boom operator assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, focuses on the B-52 Stratofortress she’s refueling June 27, 2018.

Airman Sarah Cason, a KC-135 boom operator assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, focuses on the B-52 Stratofortress she’s refueling June 27, 2018. Cason was accompanied by 13 civic leaders from Rapid City, South Dakota who got a firsthand view of the Air Mobility Command air refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James L. Miller)

Airman Basic Sarah Cason, a KC-135 boom operator assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, focuses on the B-52 Stratofortress she’s refueling June 27, 2018.

Randy Olivier, Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee chair, watches Capt. Doug Karl and 1st Lt. Brice Mossman, KC-135 Stratotanker pilots assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, June 27, 2018. Olivier was one of 13 civic leaders who participated in the orientation flight designed to give local leaders a firsthand view of the operational side of the Air Mobility Command’s air refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James L. Miller)

Airman Basic Sarah Cason, a KC-135 boom operator assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, focuses on the B-52 Stratofortress she’s refueling June 27, 2018.

Karl Jegeris, chief of the Rapid City Police Department, watches Airman Sarah Cason, a boom operator assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, maneuver the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker into position during a refueling mission near the Nebraska and South Dakota border June 26, 2018. Jegeris was one of 13 civic leaders from Rapid City, South Dakota, who participated in a civic leader orientation flight designed to provide participants with a better understanding of the Air Mobility Command mission and the role the command plays in helping bases like Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota provide airpower - anywhere, anytime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Denise M. Jenson)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Thirteen area leaders from the Black Hills had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a key part of the Air Mobility Command mission firsthand during civic leader orientation flights June 26 and 27.

The civic and business leaders, who ranged from the chief of the Rapid City Police Department to the executive director of the Ellsworth Task Force, participated in the flights aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, flying training missions out of Ellsworth.

“It was amazing to see such a high degree of professionalism from everyone involved,” said Karl Jegeris, RCPD chief who was on the flight that refueled a RC-135V/W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft from Offutt AFB, Nebraska. “The ground crew, flight crew and the office staff who worked behind the scenes were simply amazing … this defined teamwork at its best.”

The second group participated in a mission that included refueling a B-52 Stratofortress from Minot AFB, North Dakota.

Melanie Barclay, Make-A-Wish South Dakota regional director and a member of the Ellsworth Honorary Commander program, said she was very impressed with the skills of the aircrew and the aerial ballet that played out between the aircraft.

“I find it incredible that the two jets can fly so close together at such great speeds in a safe way,” she said upon witnessing the lifeblood of projecting airpower being transferred from one aircraft to another. “Most people could not say that they've flown so close to another plane that they could wave to the other pilots.”

Airman Sarah Cason of the 91st Air Refueling Squadron was the boom operator for both flights. She said in addition to having the opportunity to train with different aircraft, she thoroughly enjoyed meeting the civic leaders and being able to showcase the capabilities of the KC-135.

“It was great to meet new people and help them better understand our mission,” the Alabama native said. Air refueling is one of AMC’s four core mission areas: air refueling, airlift, air mobility support and aeromedical evacuation. AMC also provides support to the nuclear enterprise.

“I’m very proud to be a part of AMC,” she said. “Helping people understand what we do and our jobs is a key part of what we do, and flights like this help us do that.”

Civic leader orientation flights, which require Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs approval and major command coordination, are for individuals who can have a positive impact on public understanding of the roles and missions of the Department of Defense and Air Force.

“My experiences with the aircrew and Airmen on the ground were amazing,” said Josh Farley, a financial advisor for a national investment firm. “This experience gives me information to have an informed conversation with others who might have their facts out of order. I think small interactions like this help immensely.”