Manas’ Final Aerial Refueling Mission

The Air Force completed its final KC-135 aerial refueling mission from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, according to a base release. The KC-135 sortie took place on Feb. 24; the tanker refueled A-10s and F-16s supporting operations in Afghanistan and then returned to a fanfare of saluting airmen. “It’s pretty special to be able to say that we were able to fly on the last sortie out of Manas,” said Col. Mike Seiler, commander of Manas’ 376th Expeditionary Operations Group, who piloted the KC-135. By the end of that same day, all KC-135s had left Manas, states the release. The United States began operating out of Manas in December 2001; it was a key hub for moving personnel and material in and out of Afghanistan. Now, the United States is leaving Manas after the Kyrgyz government opted not to renew the US lease, which expires in July. Mihail Kogalniceanu AB, Romania, is now the US military’s main air transit hub for supporting operations in Afghanistan. (Manas report by SSgt. Travis Edwards)