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Active-duty, Guard wings pave future alliances

by Staff Sgt. Connie L. Bias
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/2/2007 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFPN) -- Two Fairchild Air Force Base air refueling wings merged Oct. 1 and forged into Air National Guard and active-duty wings.

In response to the Congress-mandated 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process, the last of the KC-135 Stratotankers belonging to the Washington ANG's 141st Air Refueling Wing were redirected to Iowa, and the 141st ARW will now share aircraft with the active duty 92nd ARW.

The union, said leadership from both wings, simply makes stronger a bond that already exists. A formal ceremony here showcased the first KC-135 adorned with both wings' patches

"We have a long history of cooperation, and we will continue in that spirit," said Col. Greg Bulkley, the 141st ARW commander. "We have already created documents that form the skeleton for the new relationship of these two organizations. Now is the time to form the body, to bring the association to life."

That new relationship includes an agreement allowing Guard pilots to train with 92nd ARW KC-135s, fly missions with the aircraft, and respond to short-notice emergencies. While both wings will maintain separate operational structures and command chains, daily operations for both wings will become closer than ever.

"The Air National Guard has an obligation to the state, to the governor, as well as a federal mission, as does the 92nd," Colonel Bulkley said. "Utilization of these resources and the synergies that both of these wings bring should prove to be very successful."

"I come from an airlift background," said Col. Thomas Sharpy, the 92nd ARW commander. "With this association, I believe we'll be able to have more aircrews to keep the airplanes flying longer and increase support to the war on terrorism."

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