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Deployed air refuelers surpass 350 million pounds of fuel delivered 2011

by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

5/18/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- In the first four months of 2011, air refueling aircraft supporting the air mission on the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility have off-loaded more than 357 million pounds of fuel to more than 26,500 receiver aircraft.

The 357 million pounds of fuel figure, which is calculated and tracked by the U.S. Air Forces Central's Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia, equates to approximately 52.58 million gallons -- enough fuel to fill an F-16 Fighting Falcon to its capacity with two external tanks more than 29,750 times.

Meeting the demand for the air refueling are the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender fleets. Both airframes operate in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility from non-disclosed bases in Southwest Asia as well as Kyrgyzstan.

KC-135s, and the Airmen who maintain and fly them, operate from multiple locations such as with the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron in Southwest Asia and the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan.

The deployed KC-10 mission, meanwhile, operates with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing's 908th EARS at another Southwest Asia base.

Wherever they operate from, many tanker Airmen say they are proud to support the deployed air refueling mission, and they know why it's so important to provide global power and global reach.

"We often fly long hours and in extreme weather conditions," said Capt. Sean Flynn, an Air Force Reservist and a KC-10 pilot who has deployed to the 908th EARS numerous times from the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. "You really see the big picture while working in the area of responsibility. It takes everyone from the base support staff, to the bus drivers, to the maintainers to help get us to the end result which is a successful mission in which we can deliver well needed gas to help the fight."

In 2010, AFCENT statistics show the tankers off-loaded more than 1.05 billion pounds of fuel to more than 82,600 aircraft. It was the third consecutive year of where deployed tanker forces off-loaded more than 1 billion pounds of fuel for operations - the largest in 2008 with more than 1.1 billion pounds of fuel off-loaded.

Additionally, according to a talking paper from Air Mobility Command Headquarters at Scott AFB from May 13, mobility Airmen supporting the tanker mission have off-loaded more than 13.3 billion pounds, or 1.98 billion gallons, of fuel for operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

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