Fuel Anytime, Anywhere:

Air Force aerial refueling units normally get from two to four days to prepare for their tanking missions, but when necessary they can respond like the 351st Air Refueling Squadron within four hours. The RAF Mildenhall unit got an emergency tanking request for an Air National Guard C-17 transporting several severely injured troops from Iraq to the US on Feb. 7. The call came at 2:30 a.m. and the 351st ARS had a KC-135 in the air by 6:30 a.m. They had a crew available because of a cancelled sortie, but there was maintenance and paperwork to get through. “The maintainers and my crew worked unbelievably fast because we realized how critical the mission was,” said Capt. Colin Henderson. “We basically planned it from scratch … the guys in the back of that plane are fighting for their lives.” The tanker refueled the 172nd Airlift Wing C-17 over the England-Scotland border, saving the airlifter about three hours if it had landed to refuel.