Prepping Aircraft, Pumping Gas

Airmen deployed to Manas AB, Kyrgyz Republic, recently set a new record in the amount of fuel offloaded by KC-135s to receiver aircraft in one day—more than a million pounds. The 376th Air Expeditionary Wing maintainers performed numerous quick-turns of the KC-135s to handle an increase in combat operations in Afghanistan. On July 17, they launched 16 sorties that delivered 1.01 million pounds of jet fuel. “What our maintainers did that day is astounding,” said Maj. Jay Alonzo, 376th Aircraft Mx Squadron commander, adding, “Our airmen know that their efforts have a clear impact on the war and that’s what pushed them through the maintenance challenges we encountered.” After one of the KC-135s struck a large bird, damaging its inboard wing flap, the maintainers faced with no spares took one off a ground tanker and got the damaged aircraft back in the air within six hours. “Changing a flap is no easy task,” commented TSgt. Ryan Shipley, deployed from Fairchild AFB, Wash. (Manas report by Maj. Damien Pickart)