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Historic Five-Ship Flight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Wesley A. Jones
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
A five-ship of KC-135 aircraft departed in formation, making it a first-ever event in the base's 91-year history, here at the 117th Air Refueling Wing on Saturday.

"It's a huge motivational factor when the entire base can walk out in the backyard and see the fruit of their labor," said Col. Scott Grant, 117th Maintenance Group commander.

The main purpose of the flight was training so as to accomplish mission requirements. A KC-135R from the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh, Pa. was flown in the formation and the refueling mission.

Grant gave credit to the Operations, Maintenance and Mission Support Groups that collectively made this accomplishment possible.

"It's not just one person here or a group of people there," said Grant. "It took the whole base and it drills down to the last airman basic doing his or her job to make this happen. Whether they are doing travel vouchers or working in supply, when they can see that many airplanes leave the ground, every person on this base, in one way or another has touched that product."

It originally was scheduled to be a four-ship but due to aircraft availability it became a five-ship. Grant explained there was a spare in case one of the planes was not able to fly but when all were ready at the time of take-off it became possible to put the fifth plane in the line-up.

"Nothing demonstrates the theme of "We fly Airplanes" more than clearing the ramp and launching everything we have," said Grant, "It's a prideful moment for the whole base."

The 'Dixie Refuelers' went on to do an air-refueling mission with A-10's.