First KC-135 Arrives at Key Field

The Mississippi Air National Guard’s 186th Air Refueling Wing received the first of eight KC-135s that the unit expects to have in place by the end of September, according to local press reports. The KC-135 touched down on June 10 at the wing’s home at Key Field ANG Base in Meridian, reported the Meridian Star. This KC-135 is one of the six that the Ohio Air Guard’s 121st ARW at Rickenbacker ANG Base is shedding to help constitute the Mississippi wing’s full eight-aircraft complement, according to the Ohio wing’s Facebook page. The Ohio unit will continue to operate a fleet of 12 KC-135s. The KC-135 mission is returning to Key Field. KC-135s used to operate there, but BRAC 2005 stripped the base of its tanker role. In mid-2011, Key Field gained the C-27J schoolhouse. However, with the Air Force’s divestiture of the C-27J fleet, a void emerged once again that the return of the tankers will fill. KC-135 conversion training for Key Field pilots and maintainers has already begun, according to a base release. (See also Meridian’s WTOK TV News 11 report.)