Phoenix KC-135 Wing Dedicates Spirit of Arizona

The Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing in Phoenix recently dedicated one of its KC-135 tankers as the Spirit of Arizona, according to a unit release. The KC-135, an R-model aircraft with serial number 62-3516, now features the Arizona state flag painted on its vertical tail, states the July 16 release. “From nose to tail, the pride of our home state and the appreciation of our unit members are symbolized on our aircraft,” said Col. Gary Brewer, 161st ARW commander. “This tail symbolizes how the Arizona National Guard is different—that every time our nation calls, we are always there to provide support,” he said. Col. Joseph Wilson, 161st Maintenance Group boss, led the group of 40 volunteers who painted the tail over the course of three weeks, states the release. More than 300 guests attended the June 14 dedication ceremony at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport; the ceremony was meant to promote “esprit de corps, pride, and teamwork,” and recognize “the Guard’s connection with it community partners,” states the release. (Phoenix report by 1st Lt. Rebecca Garcia and TSgt. Susan Gladstein)