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Deployed MacDill tankers replace 916th ARW KC-135s

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 916th Air Refueling Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., departed here Tuesday to return home from a challenging but very unique 60-day deployment to Andersen Air Force Base as the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.
The 506th EARS operates KC-135 Stratotankers deployed here supporting U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence in the Asia-Pacific Region. 

"I'm very proud of my guys and the outstanding work they did while deployed here, we faced several challenges and this deployment tested our ability to be ready to go out the door at a moment's notice," said Lt. Col. Christine Schlacter, 506th EARS Squadron commander. 

During their deployment here, the island was faced with two tropical storms and Typhoon Melor that required the evacuation of F-22 Raptors and the KC-135 Stratotankers deployed here. The KC-135 provided support for F-22's during the evacuation of the aircraft. 

The squadron also supported short-notice mission to Saipan to recover F-22 maintenance personnel and equipment before Typhoon Melor arrived on Saipan. 

The 506th EARS also assisted in re-deployment of F-22's Raptors homeward to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Furthermore, the unit supported the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds participation in the Team Andersen Air Show 2009, "Air Power over the Marianas."
Despite their busy work schedule, Airmen from the 506th EARS made time to give back to the local community by participating in the 15th Annual Guam Coastal Clean-up picking up glass, trash, tires, a couch and numerous other household items to beautify Asan Beach. 

The unit generated 86 sorties, accumulated more than 380 flying hours and off-loaded over 250,000 pounds of jet fuel in just 60 days. 

More than 100 personnel from the 927th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., arrived here a week ago to swap-out the unit from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. 

This is their first deployment from the 927th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill AFB, Fla., since the unit's relocation from Selfridge AFB, Mich. 

"Although we have just arrived in Guam, there is a general consensus among our [Airmen] that Andersen Air Force Base is an exciting place to be," said Capt. Jermaine Campbell, 972th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance lead. "We look forward to working from this location and, of course, hope to experience some of the local culture when time permits."

While the 506th EARS takes on a high ops tempo supporting the U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence in the Asia-Pacific Region, the unit's members from the 927th ARW plan on taking advantage of Guam by enjoying the recreational activities available.

"The 506th EARS expects to meet all worldwide mission challenges that lay ahead of us over the next two months," said Captain Campbell. "We are a relatively new unit that has pressed to complete all readiness requirements and are thankful for the opportunity to work with the 36th Wing to help accomplish all mission requirements."