Military Aviation

100th ARW DEPLOYS KC-135 STRATOTANKER TO GREECE FOR FIRST TIME

The KC-135 Stratotanker landing at the Athens International Airport in Greece was the first time landing at an international airport for all the pilots aboard the aircraft

On Oct. 26, 2017, a U.S. Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker and Hellenic Air Force (HAF) F-16s participated in an air to air refueling training mission over the Mediterranean Sea.

As told by Airman 1st Class Tenley Long, 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, in the article Bloody Hundredth demonstrates reach, builds partnerships in Greece, training commenced from the moment the wheels of the KC-135 Stratotanker landed at the Athens International Airport in Greece. Actually this was the first time landing at an international airport for all the pilots on board the KC-135.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kaleb Bourque, 351st Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, refuels a Hellenic air force F-16C Fighting Falcon Oct. 26, 2017, over the Mediterranean Sea.

“This alone allowed for all the pilots up front the chance to see how international airport operations are conducted,” said Capt. Richard Jackson, 351st Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) aircraft commander. “On top of that, conducting air to air refueling with the Hellenic Air Force was a huge opportunity for us to gain training for our boom operators in the back.”

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels a Hellenic air force F-16C Fighting Falcon Oct. 26, 2017, over the Mediterranean Sea.

The HAF benefitted from this training as well, allowing 22 pilots the opportunity to practice aerial refueling hook ups.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16C/D Fighting Falcon 01-8536/99-1511, 343M Asteri / 115 Combat Wing

“We started off a little rocky, with a 30 minute delay, but after we took off everything was on par with the timing,” Jackson said. “We arrived on our refueling track and completed aerial refueling with the F-16 pilots from the Hellenic air force. We did about five initial qualifications and requalifications for their pilots, along with currency training for us and them. All in all it was a very successful day.”

Hellenic air force F-16D Fighting Falcons fly alongside a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing Oct. 26, 2017, over the Mediterranean Sea.

This was the first time the 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) operated from Greece, building partnership with the HAF, while demonstrating the KC-135’s reach in Europe.

“There are many players involved in making this a successful training mission,” Jackson said. “To ensure an announced arrival and departure from Greece, we had overwhelming support from the U.S. Embassy, who worked closely with the [Hellenic air force] and the local government in Greece. Overall, without this team working cohesively, this mission could never take place.”

A Hellenic air force F-16D Fighting Falcon prepares to take on fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker Oct. 26, 2017, over the Mediterranean Sea.

This mission provided the training and teamwork necessary to expand capabilities and confidence of the U.S. Air Force and its NATO allies.

Hellenic air force F-16C Fighting Falcons fly alongside a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing Oct. 26, 2017, over the Mediterranean Sea.

Photo credit: Senior Airman Tenley Long / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

View Comments

  • I remember when we deployed 8 KC-135's there for the first Gulf War. The 100th at Mildenhall didn't exist yet, as we were all from the states. :) Always love to hear about the 135's.
    old 305th crew chief/8021

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