One Last Time

A KC-135 from the 319th Air Refueling Wing at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., has just deployed to Southwest Asia to support operations in Afghanistan, marking the last time that a Grand Forks-based KC-135 will spend an extended period of time in the war theater before the base ends its tanker mission later this year. Under BRAC 2005-mandated realignments, Grand Forks is switching from flying KC-135s to operating RQ-40 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft. The tanker left on July 26. It will spend several months overseas, a wing spokeswoman told the Daily Report Tuesday. The wing has one tanker unit remaining, the 905th Air Refueling Squadron, with 12 aircraft, she said. Between August and December, these tankers will depart the base for good, ending about 50 years of KC-135 operations there. Grand Forks maintainers recently concluded their final KC-135 isochronal inspection. (Grand Forks report by A1C Rachel Martinez)