By 2nd Lt. Christopher Thibeaux-Moore, 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 07, 2021
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Seth Amiott, a 50th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, followed by crew members, runs toward a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft during a simulated alert scenario April 21, 2021, at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The crew executed an alert drill during an integrated training event, meant to test timing and efficiency in an emergency takeoff scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore)
U.S. Air Force pilots and boom operators assigned to the 50th Air Refueling Squadron from MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, mission plan for a training flight, April 21, 2021, at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. They planned to execute multiple training objectives as well as refuel a B-52 assigned to the 96th Bomber Squadron from Barksdale AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Johnathan Gurley, a 50th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator prepares for takeoff in a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, from Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana, April 20, 2021. As part of their training, crews wore helmets and oxygen masks throughout the duration of the flight and simulated contested environments in-route to aerial refuel a B-52 assigned to the 96th Bomber Squadron from Barksdale AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore)
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Keegan Maple, a pilot assigned to the 50th Air Refueling Squadron, conducts pre- flight checks, April 20 2021, before taking off for a training flight from Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana. The crew completed multiple training objectives during training operations at the Barksdale AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore)
U.S. Air Force Capt. Joel Gonzalez, 6th Operational Support Squadron’s chief of wing tactics, assigned to MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, prepares in-flight for a training exercise at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, April 19, 2021. Airmen from the 50th Air Refueling Squadron, assigned to MacDill AFB, performed integrated training alongside the 96th Bomber Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore)
MacDill’s own 50th Air Refueling Squadron “Red Devils” teamed up with crews from the 96th Bomber Squadron also named the “Red Devils”, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to conduct integrated training April 19-21, 2021.
Crews took to the sky to fly sorties aimed at demonstrating proficiency in a multitude of simulated flight scenarios, to include, operating in degraded environments and flying in contested air space.
“We are pushing the Full Spectrum Readiness and ‘Accelerate Change or Lose’ mindset,” expressed Capt. Joel Gonzalez, 6th Operation Support Squadron, chief of wing tactics. “That’s why we have come here, we have been able to imbed a ton of training into this one mission.”
During the integrated training, crews from the 50th ARS and the 96th BS coordinated plans to meet individual training goals and mission planning in a face-to-face environment, simulating real life efforts to provide rapid global mobility.
“Our Airmen must be multi-capable and adaptable team builders, as well as innovative and courageous problem solvers, and demonstrate value in the diversity of thought, ingenuity, and initiative,” exclaimed Gen. Charles Q. Brown in his “Accelerate Change or Lose” directive, to Airmen to promote change in an increasingly contested environment.
Geared to prepare pilots for operating through various challenges similar to those used in combat, this training was unlike many that have been done before.
Along with refueling, pilots and boom operators participated in simulated scenarios alongside their bomber counterparts.
While at Barksdale, MacDill’s aircrews underwent aircraft commander training, as well as “Visual Flight Rule” training and mission planning. Additionally, observer coach trainers oversaw all aspects of the training and provided valuable feedback.
Over the course of the integrated training, crews demonstrated their capabilities in complex scenarios and continue to do their part to deliver on the United States Air Force’s promise “To fly, fight, and win…airpower anytime, anywhere.”