The Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing at Scott Air Force Base, the Air Guard’s first-ever tanker unit, is now 60 years old. Earlier this month, more than 350 airmen, family members, and VIPs gathered at Scott to celebrate the KC-135 unit’s 60th anniversary. For the event, wing members decorated one of their hangars with unit memorabilia and displayed classic automobiles and a KC-135R. They also showed videos highlighting the unit’s accomplishments over its six decades of operations. “I cannot think of a finer tribute to the airmen of the 126th Air Refueling Wing than to celebrate in this way tonight,” said Gen. Craig McKinley, National Guard Bureau chief, who spoke at the event. These Air Guardsmen operate their KC-135s in a partnership with the active duty 375th Air Mobility Wing under an active association. (Scott report by Cadet Cale Fulton)
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.