JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, –
After the completion of runway repairs at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, the last KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft temporarily operating from here returned home Dec. 20.
The first of four steady-state KC-135s arrived at Joint Base Charleston on Oct. 14 along with nearly 90 Airmen from MacDill to continue operations during the runway reconstruction at MacDill.
The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability and is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.
The visitors were warmly welcomed by the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings, because it provided the opportunity to work with the MacDill tankers and perform various training missions.
“MacDill enabled us to accomplish over 288 currency events, ensuring we maintain our proficiency in this critical skill,” said Col. Louis Hansen, 437th Operations Group commander. “Air refueling is a force multiplier, allowing U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command (AMC) to deliver forces and cargo anywhere in the world non-stop.”
The temporary arrangement made the difficult task of scheduling and coordinating joint cargo and tanker training opportunities. During the 64 days the 6th Air Mobility and 927th Air Refueling Wings spent here, they teamed up for 48 sorties in addition to their primary mission.
“Joint Base Charleston met all of our operational needs and is an AMC base where the Airmen understand the mobility mission,” said Maj. Andrew Calhoun, 6th Operations Support Squadron assistant operations officer. “An added bonus is that we routinely refuel C-17s and being co-located with our receivers gave us more opportunities for training.”
Through planning and constant communication, the teams were able to ensure all needs were met without impacting the other team’s mission. Leadership from both teams agreed they worked cooperatively to ensure the relocation was a positive experience for everyone.
“This project required a total team effort,” said Calhoun. “We couldn't have pulled it off without the world class support Joint Base Charleston showed us every day. Our runway closure and relocation team proved what we all know, we have the most flexible, competent and skilled military men and women in the world.”