The Air Force has selected 42 airmen to be the first KC-46 initial operational, test, and evaluation aircrew, including officers and enlisted airmen from the Active Duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. The airmen selected are the “best in their field” and came from a selective program, said Maj. Broc Starrett, with the Air Force Personnel Center mobility air forces rated assignments, in a release. “These Total Force airmen will have a significant impact on the future of the Air Force mobility mission.” The KC-46 program checked off another program first when three test aircraft flew missions on the same day, Boeing announced on March 17.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.