Military Aviation

Alligator blocks USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, fights with FWC Officers at MacDill AFB

Alligator blocks KC-135 Stratotanker

Taken on Apr. 22, 2024 the curious photos in this post feature an alligator hiding under one of the KC-135 aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) near Tampa, Florida.

The video below was posted on the base’s Facebook page and by ABC shows the reptile being wrangled by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) officers next to a Stratotanker aircraft.

MacDill says:


‘Our newest toothy Airman has been relocated to a more suitable environment off base. Special thanks to FWC for the assist. They think Elvis pushed this guy away from home. Great captions below! Happy Earth Day!’

According to Fox 13 Tampa Bay, MacDill joked that the gator was pushed out of its home by Elvis, an even bigger gator known to frequent the area.

The base thanked FWC for the help and added that the gator had been relocated to a more suitable location.

Again, MacDill said on its Facebook page: ‘The gator is now in the Hillsborough River. Huge thanks to FWC.’

According to the FWC, alligator courtship begins in early April and mating season takes place in May or June.

When an F-22 Raptor Provided Refuge for 20,000 Honey Bees

Noteworthy on Jun. 11, 2016 192nd Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintainers found a swarm of honey bees hanging from the exhaust nozzle of an F-22 Raptor stealth fighter engine following flight operations at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Andy Westrich, US Navy retired and local bee keeper, arrived on base with the needed materials and supplies. Westrich said the swarm was one of the largest he had ever seen. He was escorted to the aircraft and used vacuum hoses to safely corral the honey bees off of the aircraft into large buckets. He then took the bee’s home and found that, as a hive, they weighed eight pounds which calculates to almost 20,000 bees!

The 6th Air Refueling Wing

MacDill AFB is home of the 6th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) that generates and executes air refueling, and contingency response capabilities while providing base support for joint, coalition and interagency partners including USCENTCOM and USSOCOM. The 6 ARW executes this mission with 24 KC-135R‘s, and 3,000 professional Airmen.

The 6th shares its KC-135 aircraft with Air Force Reserve’s 927th Air Refueling Wing which arrived at MacDill in 2008.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. KC-135R Stratotanker 161st Air Refueling Wing, 197th Air Refueling Squadron “Copperheads”, 63-8038 – Arizona Air National Guard – Sky Harbor ANG Base, AZ

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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.

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