Airmen Take to the Sky for Understanding

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Brian Ellison
  • 126th Air Refueling Wing

Illinois Air National Guard members boarded a KC-135 Stratotanker, Wednesday at Scott Air Force Base for the first orientation flight of 2021.  

Airmen from the 126th Air Refueling Wing participated in the flight to gain a better understanding of the wing’s mission.

“It is important for our teammates to witness an aerial refueling operation at least once in their careers,” Col. Tom Jackson commander of the 126th ARW said. “It helps them fully understand and know how every single member of the 126th provides a critical capability that supports the mission.” 

The flight, consisting of 15 members, was part of a planned training mission with two B-52 Stratofortress bombers from the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

“It’s super exciting,” Senior Airman Megan Amici said Monday before the flight. “I’ve really been wanting to go up in one because I work in maintenance, I’m around them all the time.”

It was a mostly cloudy day over southern Illinois, southern Missouri and western Kentucky but above the clouds Senior Airman Cierra “CC” Carlan was busy exercising her skills as a boom operator hooking up to the planes from the 96th BS.

For many Airman this was their first military flight, like Airman 1st Class Landon Hiebert who stated that he really enjoyed watching the crew and the boomer do their jobs. He went on to say, “Seeing a massive B-52 behind us was spectacular.”

Jackson stressed the importance of every single member of the wing saying that the 126th ARW would not be successful worldwide without the support of every team member.

All the members on the flight were selected by their commanders.