AMC Commander Discusses Tanker Mission at Key Field

  • Published
  • By Capt. Steven Stubbs
  • 186th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
U. S. Air Force General Carlton Everhart II sat down with Rep. Greg Harper (R - MS, 3rd District) and key leaders from the Mississippi National Guard and Key Field Air National Guard Base to discuss the continued evolution of the mission conversion back to the KC-135R tankers here Feb. 5.

Everhart, commander of Air Mobility Command, stated that, as the Department of Defense's sole provider of air refueling supporting joint and multinational operations, he depends heavily on the more than 70 thousand experienced Guard and Reserve members who are a part of the team.

"In the current global environment, we simply couldn't do what we do every day without our total force partners," said Everhart.  "Whether it's a nation around the globe in desperate need of humanitarian relief or an adversary contemplating a hostile act, the world knows the United States can be there in a matter of hours.  That's because of rapid global mobility.  That's because of you."

Due to the Base Realignment and Commission's (BRAC) recommendation in 2005, the 186th lost the refueling mission which brought questions as to whether the wing would retain a flying mission.  That question was answered quickly when the base was awarded the MC-12 Project Liberty training mission in 2008 and later obtained the Army and Air Force's latest cargo aircraft, the C-27J, in 2011.  With budget cuts looming, however, the recently procured C-27Js would be removed from the Air Force's inventory and retired.  Once again, the 186th's future was in doubt.

The old saying that history repeats itself once again proved true.  In May 2013, on the heels of Air Force restructuring that took away the C-27J, it was announced that the KC-135R would be returning to its roots at Key Field.

Since the return of the KC-135R in 2013, the 186th Air Refueling Wing Citizen Airmen has been busy fulfilling U.S. Air Force mission requirements overseas.  The visit to Key Field allowed Everhart to see firsthand the accomplishments and hard work of the men and women at Key Field.

"Our purpose today is to show off the incredible men and women of the 186th," Harper said.  "When you look at the history of this base and what it means for air refueling, going back to the Key Brothers, it's pretty spectacular.  We're here to showcase the great job this base has always done when they've been called on to do something. I'm very proud of them."

AMC's KC-135 fleet has been a leader in air refueling for 60 years and is the lifeblood of their ability to respond to crises and contingencies anywhere in the world. 

"While the KC-46A will lay the foundation for the future of air refueling capability, we will still rely on the KC-135 for years to come."

Air Mobility Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., provides worldwide cargo and passenger delivery, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation.  The command also transports humanitarian supplies to hurricane, flood, and earthquake victims both at home and around the world.