A Year in Review
By Col. Cliff James, 117th Air Refueling Wing Commander
/ Published February 20, 2013
Birmingham, Ala. -- As I write this article, Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but you will read this with Christmas on your mind. This is a special time of year: a time for celebration of holidays and evenings spent with family and friends eating way too much desert, a time to reflect on our past and contemplate the future. As I reflect on our wing's success, I am very thankful and honored to be a member of the 117th Air Refueling Wing.
I would like to share with you some of the accomplishments of our 117th in FY12. We flew 1,274 local and deployed sorties, amassing 5,600 flying hours resulting in more than 9 million gallons of fuel offloaded with a value of $31,186,803 in fuel dollars. These numbers represent an increase of 133% in flying hours and a 136% increase in offloaded fuel since the wing's active component integration in October 2009. We maintain a 24/7 alert mission as a continuing part of Operation Noble Eagle. This has been an ongoing mission since 2001--over a decade! Those numbers would not be possible without the efforts of every member of our wing.
The wing deployed 192 personnel and 77,250 pounds of cargo overseas on various missions around the world, in tours ranging from 14 to 179 days. Our Small Air Terminal within the newly completed $2 million Mobility Processing Center processed 1,879 passengers and 241,000 pounds of cargo; a 190% increase in passenger movement and 200% increase in cargo movement from FY11. It has become a major hub of military movement for all branches of service.
During the year, the 117th Air Refueling Wing completed the military construction project for the Mobility Processing Facility ($1.9 million). Construction continued on the Alert Crew Quarters ($1.25 million) and is scheduled to be completed in early FY13. One sustainment restoration and modernization project was awarded and completed in FY12 for an aircraft apron repair ($810,000) and another was started in FY12 for the renovation of a Vehicle Maintenance Facility ($1,100,000). Renovation of a Jet Engine Shop ($920,000) is still underway.
Several projects on the horizon began design in FY12: Two military construction projects in Security and Services Training Facility ($6,400,000) and an Addition and Alteration to the Distributed Ground Station (DGS) Intelligence Facility ($8,500,000). One energy conservation project to replace lighting and heating systems ($810,000) is also underway.
As you can see, FY12 was a productive year for the 117th Air Refueling Wing. In FY13, we will continue to deploy to CENTCOM throughout the year and the Pacific in February. We will continue to train and exercise in order to be prepared for our NORI and ORI in FY14. Your 117th is strong and positioned for future success. However, it takes everyone in the wing to ensure our success. I want to personally thank you for your outstanding efforts and ask for your continued support.