11:38 AM

Fla. Cadets Ride Along on KC135 Refueling Flights

Capt. David Taylor
89th MacDill Aviation Cadet Squadron
Florida Wing

Eighteen Florida Wing cadets recently got a close-up look when two KC135 Stratotankers refueled six A10 Warthogs.

The cadets received an orientation ride on the KC135s courtesy of the 927th Air Refueling Wing, a U.S. Air Force Reserve unit stationed at MacDill Air Force Base and tasked with air refueling.

Before the flight, the Florida Wing visitors were briefed by Col. Douglas Stouffer, 927th Wing commander; Col. Mike Greiger, a pilot and former CAP cadet who organized the mission; and Capt. Tyler Gross, who is responsible for command of maintenance of the KC135s.

Stouffer gave a history of the KC135 and of the 927th. He discussed the day’s mission and air fueling missions in general.

Greiger talked about career opportunities in the Air Force, including opportunities for becoming a pilot. He explained how Civil Air Patrol helped him prepare for a military career and briefly discussed his experiences as an F-16 fighter pilot. He was one of the F-16 pilots responsible for escorting Air Force One after 9-11, and he also flew combat missions in Iraq.

Gross addressed the importance of aircraft maintenance and discussed opportunities for military careers in all branches of service.

Afterward, the cadets were equally divided and boarded the two KC135s. They enjoyed access to the cockpit during takeoff, landing and while in flight.

They were also able to observe the refueling booms, with some having the opportunity to “fly” the boom.