Robins hosts MacDill refuelers

  • Published
  • By Janny Gordon
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
For the next several weeks, Robins will host members of the 91st Air Refueling Squadron from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Part of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, 6th Operations Group, three KC-135s from MacDill's fleet will be temporarily stationed here due to current reconstruction of the base's runway in Tampa.

The 461st and 116th Air Control wings and 78th Air Base Wing have partnered to host 82 active-duty personnel working operations, maintenance and missions support for the aircraft.

Flight planning and operations will continue out of Bldg. 12. The crew and aircraft arrived Jan. 26. "When we arrived, everything was ready for us," said Maj. Christopher Callahan, detachment commander. "It is transparent to us - we might as well be operating out of MacDill with all the support that we've had."

Since their arrival, one plane has already flown local traffic patterns for air crew training and practiced landings.

Its mission is air-to-air refueling, and when not tasked from headquarters, supports local training requests from units across the southeast.

That can include requests from C-17s at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., F-15s from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., or F-22s from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., for example.

Requests for proficiency in air-to-air refueling are an important one, added Callahan, as personnel need to be current while performing overseas missions.

In the last year, the 91st ARS has supported Enduring Freedom, with members deploying roughly one-third of the year per person. The bulk of its deployment taskings have included support of combat operations as needed for refueling tactical, reconnaissance and fighter aircraft.

Another common mission is to escort fighter aircraft over the ocean, providing gas the entire way, said Callahan.

Refueling an F-15, for example, can take up to five minutes; with heavier aircraft, anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. The specifications for offload capabilities is around 7,000 pounds per minute depending on the type of fuel request.

"Our overall pace here will be flying at least one plane a day and some days, two lines," said Callahan. "Our goal is to leave a minimal footprint here, and to leave the place better than when we found it. We're enjoying it so far."