Air Force supports Navy during Western Pacific deployment
By Staff Sgt. Peter Reft, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 06, 2017
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron supported the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) with refueling support for fighter aircraft over the Philippine Sea throughout last week.
The 909th KC-135s provided daily air refueling support to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) F/A-18 Super Hornets and Growlers embarked aboard CVN-70 during the carrier’s regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led initiative to extend the command and control functions of the U.S. 3rd Fleet in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“The inflight refueling capabilities provided by the 909th ARS greatly increase sortie duration for CVW-2, directly increasing combat readiness and flexibility,” said Navy Commander Ashly Schwartz, Carrier Strike Group One (CSG-1) Air Operations officer. “It allows added tactical flexibility and a unique joint training opportunity for junior aircrew.”
909th Stratotankers in Carl Vinson’s airspace performed all refueling operations successfully for both day and night time operations.
“We gave them around-the-clock tanker support with 100 percent effectiveness,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Anthony Gole, 909th ARS KC-135 pilot. “A Navy operations officer on Carl Vinson thanked us for our mission effectiveness, our flexibility, helping them to achieve their training objectives, and our smooth operation procedures between the fighters and tankers.”
Gole added that the 909th’s support bolstered the Carl Vinson’s mission to enforce freedom of navigation and international norms of the South China Sea.
"Our forward presence contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea, as well as furthers operational training and enabling the exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge," said Rear Adm. James W. Kilby, CSG 1 commander, in an article published by the USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs office.
With not only the 909th ARS tanker support, but also the support from Team Kadena, Carl Vinson’s aerial refueling operations were executed flawlessly.
“I have to thank the maintainers who continued to get good jets in the air and enabled us to fully support Navy operations,” said Gole.
Throughout the 8 days of training, the 909th ARS offloaded 309,000 lbs. of fuel to 107 receivers from the Carl Vinson.