Congressman Guest holds roundtable at the 186th Air Refueling Wing

  • Published
  • By Maj. Sabrina Dalton, Chief of Public Affairs, 186th Air Refueling Wing

Congressman Michael Guest held a roundtable at the 186th Air Refueling Wing, today, to discuss efforts to bring the KC-46 Pegasus aircraft, the next generation of aerial refueling, to the base.  

“I am proud to represent the 186th Air Refueling Wing through my work in Congress. The reputation of the 186th as long-time leaders—pioneers—of air-to-air refueling is renowned, which makes it an ideal site for one of the upcoming KC-46 basing decisions. The Mississippi Congressional Delegation is fighting for the 186th in this effort, and I look forward to partnering with the Meridian community to continue demonstrating why the 186th is the most deserving of this key platform,” Guest said.  

Maj. Gen. Barry A. Blanchard, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, Mississippi National Guard, and 186th ARW Commander Col. Cynthia Smith, briefed more than 50 state and local leaders on the current pursuit of the KC-46 Pegasus aircraft.   

“Securing the KC-46 mission to the 186th is a key initiative and one of the highest priorities for our state leadership,” Blanchard said. “We thank our Mississippi Congressional delegation for their support.” 

“The 186th Air Refueling Wing holds major advantages such as location, cost, history, and expertise for consideration as home to this potential new mission,” Smith said. “We appreciate our partnership with the community, and our state and local leadership are crucial in vying for this new aircraft. 

Key Field, the birthplace and home of aerial refueling, possesses one of the few hangars in the Air National Guard that can hold two KC-135s or house the KC-46 with only minor modifications – a substantial cost savings to the U.S. Air Force.  

In January of this year, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) and several state congressmen toured Key Field Air National Guard Base’s (ANGB) existing infrastructure that is ready to house the U.S. Air Force’s most advanced aerial refueling aircraft, the KC-46 Pegasus, as the Air Force continues to modernize its tanker inventory.  During the visit, Wicker also got a first-hand look at a KC-46 aircraft that was participating in aeromedical evacuation training at the base. Read more here

The 186th Air Refueling Wing provides over 1,100 personnel and eight KC-135R aircraft to Air Mobility Command for worldwide operations.  Additional units at Key Field include the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron, the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron, and the 186th Air Operations Group.