by Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
9/26/2014 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- With
16 KC-135 Stratotankers on its installation, Airmen from MacDill Air
Force Base, Florida, waste no time when answering the call to defend the
nation -- even when there is little to no notice. As these planes can
be seen and heard overhead, one has to wonder where in the world they
On June 27, 2014, four aircrews from the 91st Air Refueling Squadron
were tasked to forward deploy on short notice in support of the fight
against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL. Two KC-135s,
each carrying two crews and a maintenance package, were flown 16 hours
nonstop to the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility in
"We were able to put crews in the AOR within 48 hours of a notification,
getting them out to support the fight 17 hours faster than normal,"
said Lt. Col. Nathan Oliver, 6th Operations Group. "We deploy everyday
... this is what we do. The main responsibility of the deployed 91st ARS
tanker crews is to support U.S. and coalition aircraft through air
refueling whenever and wherever it's needed in support of the situation
on the ground."
Two crew members, Capt. Ryan Christie and 1st Lt. Kaylyn Leibrand,
recently deployed from MacDill. "It's important to do what we can to
help and protect the citizens who can't protect themselves and the
assets we have in the country," said Leibrand. "We are fueling assets in
the air who are able to assist with the situation for Iraqi troops and
civilians on the ground."
Since Aug. 8, U.S. aircraft supported by tanker units like those from
MacDill have delivered humanitarian aid, including more than 101,000
halal meals and nearly 46,000 gallons of water, and conducted more than
130 airstrikes across Iraq. Air Force efforts have helped relieve some
of the humanitarian suffering caused by ISIL and slowed their advance in
Northern Iraq, giving Kurdish and Iraqi security forces time and space
to resume offensive operations, including the recent recapture of the
According to Lt. Col. Gene Jacobus, the 91st ARS commander, not only is
the 91st ARS still deploying crews, this is also one of the largest
efforts they have supported in the last couple of years.
"All of our crews are prepared to deploy on short to no notice all the
time" Jacobus said. "However, in order to do it on this scale, all of
Team MacDill has to come together."
Because the 91st ARS is one of the largest active-duty tanker units in
Air Mobility Command, they play a major role in the overall success of
our nation's current fight against terrorism.
So when hearing or seeing news about the United States' strike on
terrorism and campaign for peace from the air, just know that MacDill is
helping to keep them flying there.