SSgt. Ken Essick, a KC-10 boom operator with the 2nd Air Refueling Squadron at McGuire AFB, N.J., had the chance on April 9 to refuel an E-8C Joint STARS aircraft flying out of Robins AFB, Ga., on which his dad, CMSgt. Randal Money, was flight engineer. But there’s more to this story that made the mid-air meeting in skies above North Carolina even more special: It was his dad’s final E-8C flying mission before retiring from the Air Force. “This was the ultimate way to end my 31-year Air Force career,” said Money, who is assigned to the Georgia Air National Guard’s 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron. He added, “It was an honor to have my son refuel my aircraft on this mission.” For Essick, the event was equally memorable. “I thought refueling an F-22 or a B-2 would be the coolest thing I’ve ever done, but they don’t even compare to refueling that E-8C with my dad as the engineer,” he said. (McGuire report by TSgt. Scott T. Sturkol)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.