Mildenhall fuel Portugal’s Real Thaw exercise

  • Published
  • By HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

RAF Mildenhall’s KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 100th Air Refueling Wing provided aerial refueling capabilities, integrating with NATO Allies, during exercise Real Thaw.

The tankers conducted a series of air-to-air refueling missions integrating into operations based out of Beja Air Base, Portugal.  KC-135 participation in this Portuguese-led exercise extends the coalition’s reach and readiness through interoperability training.

"As the European theater's only air refueling wing, it's critical to participate in these Ally-led training events," said Col. Gene A. Jacobus, 100th Air Refueling Wing Commander. "These exercises enable us to foster a culture of cooperation and continue building partnerships to extend the global reach of our alliance."

Mildenhall’s 100th ARW, also known as the “Bloody Hundredth,” conducts global air refueling and combat support operations, directs reception, and mobilizes for contingency operations primarily within the European and African areas of responsibility. 

Exercise Real Thaw covers a vast range of tactical training, which will include air-to-air and air-to-ground training, tactical air transport operations, close air support, special operations aviation, medical evacuation, and joint terminal attack controller training. This training is integral to maintaining joint readiness, building interoperability, and strengthening relationships between NATO Allies.

Imagery will be available on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service at

For questions regarding U.S. Air Force participation in Real Thaw, please contact USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs as +49 06371-47-6558 or email or