Dozens of Airmen and four KC-135s from the 914th Air Refueling Wing returned home to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., this month from the wing’s first combat deployment with the tankers.
The wing switched from flying C-130s to KC-135s beginning in 2017, became fully mission-ready in April, and four months later deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, as part of Operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support. The New York-based Airmen have also flown training missions with partner countries in the region.
They returned home on Dec. 12 and 13 after four months in the Middle East.
Many of the Airmen previously deployed to fly the Hercules overseas. They retrained on the KC-135 over the past few years in preparation for this deployment.
“I was on the last deployment in 2016, and it was bittersweet to have my last … C-130 flight at Al Udeid before I went to KC-135 training,” Lt. Col. Dennis Jakubczyk, 914th Operations Support Squadron commander, said in a Dec. 14 release. “Being one of the last (914th) guys to fly the C-130 in combat and then being one of the first Airmen to go out the door with the tanker on our first deployment operationally was kind of amazing.”