Being a Boomer

One current Air Force boom operator likens his manipulation of the refueling boom on a KC-135R tanker to operating a video game—an extremely detailed and exacting video game. SrA. Jered Danielson, an in-flight refueling journeyman from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., but deployed to Southwest Asia, says boomers have “to know thousands of various procedures, facts, and details” to operate the boom. And when he is not working at his primary job, he backs up the tanker’s pilots on “things like altitude, [air traffic control] clearances, etc.,” in other words paperwork. Still, as he says, “Nothing happens in the [area of responsibility] unless a tanker is there to give out gas.” Remember, the Air Force is looking for a few more good boomers.