Frontier Tankers Nod to the Last Frontier

The Alaska Air National Guard retitled the 168th Air Refueling Wing to acknowledge its additional radar space surveillance mission last week, officials announced. The 168th Air Refueling Wing was redesignated the 168th WG to represent both its KC-135 squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, and its Pave Paws radar site at Clear Air Force Station, south of Fairbanks. The wing’s 168th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in 1986 and is currently the only Arctic-based tanker unit in the Pacific region, according to the release. The 213th Space Warning Squadron joined the wing in 2003, and provides Pacific and Arctic ballistic missile warning and space situational awareness to NORAD. “We have gone from flying bombers, to fighters, to a couple versions of the tanker refueling, and now expanding that to the space and warning mission,” 168th WG Commander Col. Torrence Saxe said during the Feb. 3 ceremony at Eielson.