185th hosts KC-135 media flight

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincnet De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

This week journalists from Western Iowa were invited to fly with the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing where they witnessed an inflight refueling with a group of A-10 fighter jets.

The group departed and returned to the Sioux City airport onboard one of the unit’s KC-135 air refueling aircraft. 

VIDEO | 06:56 | 185th hosts KC-135 media flight

The media day event offered journalists a unique look inside the refueling wing’s air operations, usually only witnessed by members of military.

Reporter RJ Breen and Morgan Jones from KTIV television along with Alyssa Tatsch from KCAU TV, and Mark Hahn from KSCJ Radio made up the list of broadcasters from Sioux City who flew with the unit.

Newspaper reporters Mikaela Mackey and Rylan Howe from the Northwest Iowa Review, Hannah Schuh with the Sioux City Journal and Tim Loftus with the Sergeant Bluff Advocate were also on the flight.

After flying a short distance from the Sioux City airport in Western Iowa, the KC-135 made its way to the refueling area over Northwest Missouri. While in the refueling track, a group of A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft came up to meet the Stratotanker. The A-10s being refueled were from the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 442nd Fighter Wing based at Whiteman Air Force Base near Kansas City.

One-by-one, passengers on board the KC-135 were invited to make their way through the aircraft’s dark interior to the boom pod in the back of the aircraft. The group took turns lying on their stomachs next to the boom operator as the A-10s approached and carefully connected to the refueling boom.

The passengers photographed the air refueling while looking through a small window in the back of the aircraft.

When air refueling is witnessed for the first time it can be unnerving as the KC-135 and receiving aircraft fly very close to each other in a high-speed aerial dance. The science in aircraft engineering along with training of both refueler and receiver make the process look routine.

During their visit, media members had the opportunity to interview 185th air crew members, including Wing Commander Colonel Sonya Morrison. Morrison said the event was a good opportunity for members of the media to gain a better understanding of the unit’s air refueling mission.

“It would be impossible to get airplanes, cargo and people moved all around the world, without air refueling,” Morrison explained.

The KC-135 flown by the 185th ARW has been in continuous operation in the U.S. Air Force since it was first introduced in the 1950s. The aircraft was created for air refueling but also regularly transports people and equipment around the globe.

The purpose of the event this week was to showcase the work being done each day by members of the Iowa Air Guard and give media members a better idea of the unit’s unique mission. 

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