by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Whether in support of airlift missions or combat operations, aircraft fuel delivered by members of the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron here is vital to the success of this surge.
The 908th EARS' KC-10 Extender aircrews deliver more than one million pounds of fuel in support of Afghanistan operations daily. That total is approximately 50 percent of the total amount of fuel distributed in the Afghanistan theater.
Using either an advanced aerial refueling boom or a hose and drogue centerline refueling system, the KC-10 can refuel a variety of U.S. and allied military aircraft within the same mission day or night. There are three main wing fuel tanks and three large fuel tanks under the cargo floor. Combined, the six tanks carry more than 356,000 pounds of fuel.
Lt. Col. Jimmy Shaw, the commander of the 908th EARS, said the Afghanistan missions are challenging. In particular, there are numerous communication difficulties due to the rugged terrain.
However, he said his aircrews are able to overcome the difficulties.
"The bottom line is they task us and we perform," he said. "It's rugged and it's difficult and you are not in friendly territory."
The squadron's aircraft perform more than 450 sorties monthly, the colonel said. In the past, aircrews spent 30 percent of their time deployed, but with the increased operations tempo, they now spend 70 percent of their time deployed.
Colonel Shaw said it is not rare for someone to be deployed three times in the same year, and the members of the 908th EARS are able to keep up the heavy tempo due largely to the flexibility and professionalism of the maintainers.
"They really have to jump through some impressive hoops sometimes," he said. "The fact that those guys can show up every day with a great attitude and continue doing the great things they do is amazing."
A symbiotic relationship between operations and maintenance is necessary for successful missions, said Capt. Thomas Fiordelisi, the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Extender Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge.
Even though they have been deploying at a heavy rate, they take pride in their work because they know it is for an important cause, he said.
"With the increased operations tempo our skilled maintainers are in heavy demand," Captain Fiordelisi said. "They love doing their job because they know they are contributing to something that is special."
Colonel Shaw said the high number of missions has his aircrews performing at their best.
He said he sleeps well at night knowing that the refueling mission in Afghanistan is in good hands.
"We have never been more proficient," he said. "At this mission, I have no worries whatsoever that our crews are at the top of their game."
Welcome to the Milcom Monitor Post sponsored by Teak Publishing (Copyright © 2006-2023 Teak Publishing). All rights are reserved. Redistribution of these pages in any format without prior permission is prohibited. Links to individual stories are permitted without permission. The comment section on this blog is closed, but you can pass along material or comments via email MilcomMP at gmail dot com. If you submit material for this blog and want to remain anonymous, indicate that in your message.
Milcom Monitoring Post Profiles
- What are Emergency Action Messages (EAM)? Updated 20 September 2021
- UFO Milsat Program
- Fleetsatcom System
- UHF 225-380 MHz Milcom Spectrum Holes: Updated 24 July 2019
- Civilian Air Cargo/Airline/Military Call Signs
- Intl HF Aero Civ/Gov/Mil Frequency List
- USN Aircraft Modex Numbers
- University of Twente Wide Band WebSDR Netherlands
- U.S. Military ALE Addresses
- DoD Air Refueling Frequencies - Update 15 Jul 2016
- COTHEN HF Network – Last Update 22 March 2023
- Monitoring the Civil Air Patrol Auxiliary Update 10 Sep 2016
- US Coast Guard Asset Guide - Update 6 Oct 2022
- The Spectrum Monitor e-Zine Milcom Column Index - Update 17 January 2022
- The Milcom MT Files (1998-2013) Articles Index