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KC-10s keeps US and Australian forces dominating the skies in Talisman Sabre 19

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress is refueled by a USAF KC-10 Extender July 14, over the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Brisbane, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Stratofortress and Extender were some of several aircraft used during TS19,  alongside other USAF and RAAF airborne warning and control system aircraft, refuelers, tankers and bombers.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress is refueled by a USAF KC-10 Extender July 14, over the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Brisbane, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Stratofortress and Extender were some of several aircraft used during TS19, alongside other USAF and RAAF airborne warning and control system aircraft, refuelers, tankers and bombers.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt.Ty Steinhausen, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, performs routine maintenance checks on one of three turbine engines of a USAF KC-10 Extender July 16, 2019, at Brisbane International Airport, Australia. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for Exercise Talisman Sabre 19, a biannual joint operation providing effective and intense training to ensure U.S. Forces are combat ready, capable, interoperable, and deployable on short notice.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt.Ty Steinhausen, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, performs routine maintenance checks on one of three turbine engines of a USAF KC-10 Extender July 16, 2019, at Brisbane International Airport, Australia. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for Exercise Talisman Sabre 19, a biannual joint operation providing effective and intense training to ensure U.S. Forces are combat ready, capable, interoperable, and deployable on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress flies over the Pacific Ocean July 14, near the coast of Brisbane, Australia, after being refueled by a USAF KC-10 Extender in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Stratofortress and Extender were some of several aircraft used during TS19, alongside other USAF and RAAF airborne warning and control system aircraft, refuelers, tankers and bombers.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress flies over the Pacific Ocean July 14, near the coast of Brisbane, Australia, after being refueled by a USAF KC-10 Extender in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Stratofortress and Extender were some of several aircraft used during TS19, alongside other USAF and RAAF airborne warning and control system aircraft, refuelers, tankers and bombers.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William Hulse, 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, prepares to fuel a USAF F-22 Raptor July 14, over the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Brisbane, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Raptor was one of several aircraft used during TS19,  alongside other USAF and RAAF airborne warning and control system aircraft, refuelers, tankers and bombers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William Hulse, 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, prepares to fuel a USAF F-22 Raptor July 14, over the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Brisbane, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Raptor was one of several aircraft used during TS19, alongside other USAF and RAAF airborne warning and control system aircraft, refuelers, tankers and bombers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

Aircraft chocks belonging to the 305th Air Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, are stowed off the flightline after being pulled from a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender prior to its departure July 16, from Brisbane International Airport, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for TS19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

Aircraft chocks belonging to the 305th Air Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, are stowed off the flightline after being pulled from a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender prior to its departure July 16, from Brisbane International Airport, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for TS19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ty Steinhausen, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and USAF Tech. Sgt. Jerret Hupp, 305th AMXS, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, perform routine pre-flight inspections of a USAF KC-10 prior to its departure July 16, 2019, at Brisbane International Airport, Australia. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for Exercise Talisman Sabre 19, a biannual joint operation providing effective and intense training to ensure U.S. Forces are combat ready, capable, interoperable, and deployable on short notice.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ty Steinhausen, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and USAF Tech. Sgt. Jerret Hupp, 305th AMXS, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, perform routine pre-flight inspections of a USAF KC-10 prior to its departure July 16, 2019, at Brisbane International Airport, Australia. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for Exercise Talisman Sabre 19, a biannual joint operation providing effective and intense training to ensure U.S. Forces are combat ready, capable, interoperable, and deployable on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender pilot performs preflight checks aboard an Extender July 16, before departing from Brisbane International Airport, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for TS19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender pilot performs preflight checks aboard an Extender July 16, before departing from Brisbane International Airport, Australia, in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for TS19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

The 2nd Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, is one of several U.S. Air Force squadrons assigned to participate in the biannual Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for TS19. The 2 ARW was responsible for flying USAF KC-10 Extenders during the exercise, refueling USAF, U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft in order to maintain continuous air operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

The 2nd Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, is one of several U.S. Air Force squadrons assigned to participate in the biannual Exercise Talisman Sabre 19. The Extender arrived July 12 to support major air operations for USAF, Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft operating out of RAAF Base Amberley for TS19. The 2 ARW was responsible for flying USAF KC-10 Extenders during the exercise, refueling USAF, U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft in order to maintain continuous air operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez)

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA --

Throughout the duration of Talisman Sabre 19 (TS19), a biannual exercise on the east coast of Australia, nearly 300 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft participated in major air operations. Out of those aircraft, three provided the fuel necessary to keep the others in the sky.

 

Three U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender refueling aircraft played a major role in supporting air operations during TS19; two of which are assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, the other from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

 

Capt. Andrew Parris, 6th Air Refueling Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, detachment deputy, explained the importance of having refuelers in the air to maintain the exercise air fight.

 

“Being able to keep assets in the air and extend combat operations is entirely dependent on the presence of aerial refueling,” he said. “You just can’t do without it.”

 

The Extenders took turns in the air during the month-long exercise, completing more than 20 flights, providing more than 2.2 million pounds of fuel to nearly 300 receiving aircraft.

 

In order to maintain such a rigorous flying schedule, the KC-10s were maintained by members of their home bases: the 305th and 605th Air Maintenance Squadrons with JB McGuire, and the 60th AMXS with Travis AFB.

 

Prior to the arrival of Travis AFB personnel, McGuire’s seven-person team had four days to focus on ensuring their single aircraft was able to fly on schedule, stay in the air and quickly turn around for back-to-back flights.

 

“My team worked extremely long days to get things done,” said Master Sgt. Joe Dawson, 605th AMXS production superintendent. “We ensured our jet was good to go, on time, every time for nine flights within four days.”

 

The 305th and 605th AMXS worked together to refuel, troubleshoot and effectively maintain their aircraft, which eliminated the usual need for a larger team of separate Air Force specialty codes.

 

“We’re beginning to expand our capabilities beyond just maintenance,” said Tech. Sgt. Jerret Hupp, 305th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “This sort of innovation allows our maintainers the chance to become more well-rounded in and out of the military. It ultimately saves a huge amount of time, evens out the workload and makes each one of us more valuable.”

 

Parris noted the maintenance success and prompt turnaround times played a huge role in

making sure air operations remained on schedule, especially considering only two jets were actively in use at a time.

 

“It just goes to show how much fuel we can consistently deliver to the fight, even with minimal aircraft,” Parris said. “This is proof with a good set of maintainers and aircrew, we can get out there and put a lot of fuel in the air.”

 

By the completion of TS19 on July 25, the KC-10’s will have accomplished more than 20 flights totaling nearly 100 flying hours, all within 10 flying days.