McConnell Tankers Flee to Fairchild as Storm Hits Kansas

KC-135 Stratotankers evacuated from McConnell AFB, Kan., are shown at Fairchild AFB, Wash. Twitter photo via Fairchild AFB.

Three KC-46s and 10 KC-135s fled McConnell AFB, Kan., on Wednesday as a storm approached the base.

The evacuation, ordered “as a precaution due to the possibility of severe weather impacting the Wichita area,” does not include local personnel, according to a McConnell release.

Fairchild AFB, Wash., which is a large KC-135 operating base, will serve as a “safe haven” location that can provide facilities to house aircraft and personnel and provide maintenance for the aircraft, according to the release.

McConnell earlier this year began receiving the new KC-46s, though the deliveries stalled after the first three due to issues with debris being found inside the aircraft. Deliveries have not yet resumed.

Storms rolled through the McConnell area late Wednesday, bringing large hail, lightning, and heavy wind, according to KWCH.

The storm and corresponding evacuation is the latest in a series of natural disasters impacting USAF bases within the past several months, including severe flooding at Offutt AFB, Neb., and a hurricane and tornado at Tyndall AFB, Fla.