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Airmen Take to the Sky for Understanding

A wide angle look out the boom pod of a KC 135 on to a B-52 Stratofortress. On the right hand side of the window are wires and cables

A view from the boom pod of a 126th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker refueling a B-52 Stratofortress from the 96th Bomb Squadron station at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, November 17, 2021.  The Illinois Air National Guard wing, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is ready to refuel U.S. and Allied military, anytime, anywhere. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Brian Ellison)

an airman looks out the back of a KC-135 looking at a B-52 bomber with the clouds below

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cierra “CC” Carlan, 906th Air Refueling Squadron, gets ready to refuel a B-52 Stratofortress November 17, 2021. The Illinois Air National Guard wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. was refueling B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Brian Ellison)

Airman laying down to the right of the boom operator looks out a window

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Landon Hiebert watches an aerial refueling during a 126th Air Refueling Wing orientation flight November 17, 2021. This was Hiebert's first time on a military flight. The Illinois Air National Guard wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. was refueling B-52 Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Brian Ellison)

An airman looks out the leftside of a window of a KC-135 taking a photo with her phone.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Megan Amici 126th Maintenance Group, takes a picture during her first flight on a 126th Air Refueling Wing plane November 17, 2021, near Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. The Illinois Air National Guard wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. was refueling B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Brian Ellison)

An airman laying down in a pod to the left of the boom operator looks through a window to see the plane being refueled

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kimberly Bruning 126th Maintenance Group peers through the boom pod as the In-flight Refueling Specialist refuels a B-52 Stratofortress from the 96th Bomb Squadron November 17, 2021. The Illinois Air National Guard wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. was refueling B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Brian Ellison)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --

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.

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