KC-10 Surpasses Two Decades Abroad

The Air Force dispatched KC-10 tankers to the Persian Gulf in January 1991 during the opening salvos of the first Gulf War. They have remained there ever since and on Monday of this week the aircraft type celebrated 20 years of unbroken deployment in support of US and coalition combat operations in Southwest Asia. This milestone comes just two months shy of the KC-10’s 30th anniversary in USAF service. The pace for KC-10 aircrews and maintainers has slackened only slightly since the first Gulf War, the largest aerial refueling operation ever. “Last year, [our unit] had 1,400 incidents where KC-10s and their aircrews supported US and coalition troops in contact with the enemy,” said Lt. Col. Johnny Barnes, commander of the 9th Air Refueling Squadron at Travis AFB, Calif. The Air Force’s 59 KC-10s have a projected structural service life extending beyond 2043. (Travis release)