RC-12 to Mississippi Air Guard

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and the state’s Congressional delegation announced Sept. 16 that the Air Force plans to put a temporary mission qualification training detachment for the RC-12 aircraft with the Air National Guard’s 186th Air Refueling Wing. The Key Field base should receive up to seven of the intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance platform beginning in January 2009. Sen. Thad Cochran (R) said the training would be “the first of its kind” and would do much to support war on terror operations. The 186th ARW, slated to lose its KC-135 tankers under BRAC 2005, will run the training program alongside its refueling mission through 2011. Sen. Roger Wicker (R) said, “This bridge mission will ensure the pilots, flight crews, and maintenance personnel at Key Field will be able to stay in Meridian and maintain their high level of proficiency.” Cong. Chip Pickering acknowledged the hard work of the unit and local and state leaders in assuring “commitments … to preserve a flying mission for the 186th … are kept.”