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French Mirage
A French Mirage fighter refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, over Africa Jan. 30, 2013. Tankers from RAF Mildenhall, operating from a forward-deployed location, began flying refueling missions in support of French operations in Mali Jan. 27, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jason Smith)
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KC-135s support French mission in Mali

Posted 2/1/2013   Updated 2/3/2013 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Jason Smith
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

2/1/2013 - WESTERN EUROPE -- A detachment from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, operating from a forward deployed location, has completed aerial refueling mission in support of French Operations in Mali.

The first roughly 10-hour mission, during the daytime, gave the aircrew the opportunity to see the land area they will be potentially flying over on future missions.

"If you know distinguishing landmarks, it always helps," said Capt. Tim Gerne, aircraft commander for this mission and Barnegat, N.J., native. "It doesn't always mean there is a lot to look at though."

A detachment from the 100th ARW deployed on short notice on Jan. 26 and launched the first support refueling mission on Jan. 27.

"It's good to see things coming together," said 1st Lt. John Lachiewicz, the co-pilot of the mission and Chapel Hill, N.C. native. "We hope to make a positive difference in helping our NATO ally."

Just getting the chance to fly and participate in the operation was welcomed by the boom operator, Staff Sgt. Andrew Valence, an Anderson, S.C., native. He said all of the crews he talked with were eager to get started, and this first mission for his crew came with much excitement.

The KC-135 is capable of refueling a variety of U.S. and NATO aircraft. It can off-load a maximum of 200,000 pounds of fuel.

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