A final flight for a piece of American history

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jennifer C. Howsare
  • 126 ARW Public Affairs
We're all a part of history everyday, but sometimes we get to be a part of something that is more historic than usual. Such was the case for a flight crew from the 108th Air Refueling Squadron when they had the honor of flying the oldest operating KC-135E air refueling plane, tail number 55-3145, out of Forbes Field, Kan., to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center or the 'bone yard' in Tucson, Ariz.
The crew, consisting of Lt. Col Mark Hale, Maj. Nick Babiak, and Senior Master Sgt. Matt Glover, are only a handful of crew members throughout the Air Force still qualified to fly the E-model. Due to their remaining qualifications, various pilots from the 126 ARW will be tasked to fly the remaining KC-135 E-model aircraft as they are decommissioned.
Aside from being the oldest operational KC-135E, the plane's career included stops in England, Thailand, Japan, and Guam plus a slew of CONUS bases. It also spent time in combat over Bosnia, Iraq, and Vietnam, and even took part in SAC Chrome Dome missions around the North Pole. And, while it's almost impossible to verify from film evidence, 55-3145 is purported to be the tanker featured in the title credits of "Dr Strangelove."