Manas Tanker Unit Hits Sortie Milestone

The 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron that operates from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, on April 10 flew its 16,000th sortie since it inception at the Central Asian base in 2003. The unit’s KC-135 tankers serve a vital role as flying gas stations for the combat aircraft supporting operations in Afghanistan. “Everyone here has an impact, from the youngest airman to the most experienced aviator” in this accomplishment, said Lt. Col. Michael Seiler, the unit’s boss. This news came quietly against the backdrop of Kyrgyzstan’s ongoing political turmoil that temporarily affected Manas operations. But according to a posting at the Web site of the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city Bishek, Manas “has resumed normal operations.” The statement added, “Refueling operations continue as usual and the transit of troops has resumed.” (Includes Manas report by SSgt. Carolyn Viss) (See also Viss’ subsequent report.)