Team Fairchild Leads 100 Years of Aerial Refueling Celebration

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Clare Werner
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned the 92nd Air Refueling Wing and 141st Air Refueling Wing celebrated Operation Centennial Contact by demonstrating their capabilities over multiple states on June 27, 2023.

The U.S. Air Force initiated OCC by tasking all tanker units to demonstrate their air refueling operations throughout the U.S. and internationally in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of aerial refueling. The two Team Fairchild wings supported this operation by conducting multiple flights over different landmarks including Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone, Glacier and Olympic National Parks.

“Air refueling propels our nation’s air power across the skies, unleashing its full potential,” said Gen. Mike Minihan, Commander, Air Mobility Command. “It connects our strategic vision with operational reality, ensuring we can reach any corner of the globe with unwavering speed and precision. Air refueling embodies our resolve to defend freedom and project power, leaving an indelible mark on aviation history.”

Fairchild Air Force base is known as “America’s Super Tanker Wing” because it is home to 62 KC-135 Stratotankers, the largest tanker fleet in the world. During the commemoration flight, nine Fairchild KC-135s performed aerial refueling over multiple states including Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington.

“This was a valued demonstration that exhibited a part of Fairchild’s mission set to the public,” said Col. Chesley L. Dycus, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “It is always impressive to see a display of this size that incorporates multiple air refueling wings coming together to complete a singular mission.”

 Aerial refueling is essential to modern military combat and humanitarian operations because it increases the speed, range, lethality and versatility of aircraft. With 100 years of experience, air refueling professionals across the Air Force provide unrivaled rapid global reach for U.S. military aircraft from all services, as well as international allies and partners.

“Rapid global mobility is what air refueling is all about,” said Dycus. “The ability to be anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice is what sets us apart.”

Minihan echoed his sentiment, adding that air refueling professionals will continue to strengthen air mobility excellence over the next hundred years. 

“We must leverage the remarkable capabilities of air refueling to preserve peace, protect freedom and bring hope to the world.” he said. “As Mobility Airmen, we write the next chapter of air refueling.”