Turkish Air Force integrates with U.S. Bombers in long-planned mission

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kaitlin Cashin
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron arrived Tuesday at Incirlik Air Base, Türkiye, for a historic hot-pit refuel as part of long-planned bomber task force training mission.

A hot-pit refuel refers to the tactic of refueling aircraft while engines are still running. This marks the first time that U.S. Air Force B-1s were hot pit refueled at Incirlik Air Base. The aircraft were on base for under two hours before departing for a training mission with the Turkish air force.

The 39th Air Base Wing Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Schoeneberg, and 39th Air Base Wing Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Helms, greeted the 9th EBS Commander, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Stillwell, and the 489th Bomb Group Command Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew Marshall on the flight line.

The B-1s integrated with the Turkish military, to include KC-135R Asena tankers and F-16 Fighting Falcons, for training missions planned well in advance to practice Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) procedures and close-air support training missions.

"The teamwork with our Turkish air force partners showcased the interoperability and professionalism of NATO aviators," said Stillwell. "Thank you to the 10th Tanker Base and the 39th Air Base Wing Team Titan for their expert support and hospitality."

Incirlik AB is one of the largest military installations in Türkiye and its strategic location makes it a hub for NATO integration and the defense of NATO’s southern flank.

"We are excited to support and commemorate this historic hot-pit refueling operation out of Incirlik," Schoeneberg said. "It demonstrates the unique capabilities and strategic positioning of this base. Moreover, it highlights to everyone that Türkiye is a critical member of the NATO alliance, and that Team Titan is open for business.