HomeNewsArticle Display

22 EARS Fueling the Fight

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake, 912th Air Refueling Squadron crew chief, speaks with pilots of a KC-135 Stratotanker over the radio prior to take off Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake, 912th Air Refueling Squadron crew chief, speaks with pilots of a KC-135 Stratotanker over the radio prior to take off Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the apron Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the apron Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker lands Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. KC-135 Stratotankers stationed out of Incirlik Air Base are responsible for aerial refueling of coalition aircraft supporting the Operation INHERENT RESOLVE mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker lands Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. KC-135 Stratotankers stationed out of Incirlik Air Base are responsible for aerial refueling of coalition aircraft supporting the Operation INHERENT RESOLVE mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the runway preparing for takeoff Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. KC-135 Stratotankers stationed out of Incirlik Air Base are responsible for aerial refueling of coalition aircraft supporting the Operation INHERENT RESOLVE mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the runway preparing for takeoff Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. KC-135 Stratotankers stationed out of Incirlik Air Base are responsible for aerial refueling of coalition aircraft supporting the Operation INHERENT RESOLVE mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker takes off takeoff Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

A KC-135 Stratotanker takes off takeoff Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason, 912th Air Refueling Squadron crew chief, stands watching a KC-135 Stratotanker after marshalling it onto the taxiway for its flight Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. One of a crew chiefs responsibilities is to guide aircraft safely onto the taxiway. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason, 912th Air Refueling Squadron crew chief, stands watching a KC-135 Stratotanker after marshalling it onto the taxiway for its flight Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. One of a crew chiefs responsibilities is to guide aircraft safely onto the taxiway. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) boom operator reaches up to unlock the boom for a preflight operations check Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. As the boom operator, Jeffrey directly delivers thousands of pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft daily. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) boom operator reaches up to unlock the boom for a preflight operations check Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. As the boom operator, Jeffrey directly delivers thousands of pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft daily. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft commander, speaks with ground crews over the radio while performing preflight inspections Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Communications between air and ground crews are essential to everyday flight operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft commander, speaks with ground crews over the radio while performing preflight inspections Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Communications between air and ground crews are essential to everyday flight operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) boom operator, looks out an emergency exit door to relay aircraft flap movements to the aircraft’s pilot during a preflight inspection Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Jeffrey positon allows him to provide a blind spot buffer for pilots and relay information over the aircraft radio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) boom operator, looks out an emergency exit door to relay aircraft flap movements to the aircraft’s pilot during a preflight inspection Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Jeffrey positon allows him to provide a blind spot buffer for pilots and relay information over the aircraft radio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft commander, walks around the aircraft to perform preflight inspections with Tech. Sgt. Jason and Staff Sgt. Jake, 22d EARS crew chiefs Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Preflight inspections are required to be performed before every aircraft takeoff to better ensure safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 10

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason, 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft commander, walks around the aircraft to perform preflight inspections with Tech. Sgt. Jason and Staff Sgt. Jake, 22d EARS crew chiefs Sept. 19, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Preflight inspections are required to be performed before every aircraft takeoff to better ensure safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

Airmen deployed to the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at Incirlik Air Base conduct daily high intensity operations keeping the gas flowing and the combat missions going.

It’s the responsibility of the Airmen of the 22nd EARS to provide in air refueling for all coalition aircraft involved in Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. The additional fuel provided by the refueling squadron gives extended air operations to coalition forces.

“Coalition aircraft couldn’t do what they’re doing without aerial refueling,” said Capt. Skyler, 22nd EARS KC-135 Stratotanker instructor pilot. “Every sortie we launch from here is pretty much equal in offload to two sorties of any other base supporting this mission.”

 Supporting the mission requires that 22nd EARS Airmen be familiar with a multitude of different airframes. They must be flexible enough to work with different nations, operating different aircraft and speaking different languages.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Senior Airman Diana, 22nd EARS KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator. “It can be a little confusing sometimes to try and grasp what everyone’s saying over the radios, but it’s really cool to go up there and see so many different countries working together for the same mission.”

22nd EARS Airmen offload an average of 50K pounds of aircraft fuel every time their KC-135 Stratotanker is airborne. To put that into perspective, the amount of gas they deliver would be more than 7,000 gallons of fuel or nearly $20K at a gas pump using the U.S. national average.

 “Our mission and the amount of fuel we deliver is crucial to the air support here,” Diana said. “It allows coalition aircraft to take off with a bigger payload and stay in the air longer.”

Coalition forces have conducted more than 7,000 strikes against Daesh targets thanks in part to the efforts of the 22nd EARS Airmen.

The added efficiency afforded to coalition forces through the efforts of the 22nd EARS Airmen is what Skyler said he likes best about doing his job. He said, with every mission he flies his goal is to deliver so much fuel that other tanker missions air time is reduced because of reduced needs.

“Us spending time out here, refueling, providing support for everyone that’s directly engaging ISIS on a daily basis is definitely a rewarding mission,” Skyler said. “I’m glad to be out here.”

Along with the pride of a job well done Diana said there is one slight perk to being an in air refueling boom operator.

“I’ve got the greatest office view in the world,” Diana said. “Looking out the window, you get to see a lot. I’ve seen planes out here I’ve never seen at home. You see the landscape, the huge difference between countries and how they’ve developed, and then, there’s always sunrises and sunsets. It’s really an incredible view.”