Tanker on the Scene

Airmen at Fairchild AFB, Wash., earlier this month hosted Air Mobility Command’s first exercise to prepare KC-135 aircrews for acting as on-the-scene commanders during rescues of downed airmen. “This is a role that KC-135s are rarely used for, but fully capable of,” said Capt. Dana Stockton, a pilot with Fairchild’s 92nd Air Refueling Squadron. The designated OSC aircraft coordinates rescue efforts at the rescue site and acts as the initial responder. The exercise took place over a densely wooded area in Ione, Wash., north of Fairchild. The KC-135 crew communicated with a mock downed crew in enemy territory, transferring information on the survivors to an A-10 pilot to complete the mock rescue. “We see the immediate benefit of this training,” said Capt. James Blech, a 93rd ARS pilot at Fairchild. “We hope to set the standard for KC-135 combat search and rescue preparedness.” (Fairchild report by TSgt. J.T. May III)