Saturday, December 14, 2013

PHOTOS: Refueling Mission

Posted By on Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Inlander photographer Young Kwak is traveling with a crew from Fairchild Air Force Base to the Transit Center in Manas, Kyrgyzstan. Read his previous posts here.

In the late afternoon over northern Afghanistan, an F-16 pulls up behind a US Air Force 376th Expeditionary Operations Group KC-135 tanker based out of the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan.

Senior Airman Dave Fernandez guides the fueling boom, with a small nozzle tip, over to a receptacle on top of the fighter. After a few moments, the F-16 is latched onto the tanker. After a couple of minutes, the F-16 pulls away with a full tank and fades towards the horizon.

Nine times more and 22,000 gallons later, Shell 74 — the flight number given to this particular mission — heads back home to Manas. The whole mission takes about about seven hours, including flying to and from Manas.

Out of the four member crew used for this mission, three call the Spokane area home. Aircraft Commander and Captain Alex Denton, Co-Pilot and Captain Mike Dobbs and Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez all belong to the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base. The fourth, Navigator Gene Croft, is from McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

click to enlarge (Left to right) 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton, Co-Pilot and Captain Mike Dobbs, Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez and Deputy Operations Group Commander and Navigator Lieutenant  Colonel Gene Croft walk outside a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • (Left to right) 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton, Co-Pilot and Captain Mike Dobbs, Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez and Deputy Operations Group Commander and Navigator Lieutenant Colonel Gene Croft walk outside a KC-135.
click to enlarge 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant Gregory Warren stands in front of a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant Gregory Warren stands in front of a KC-135.
click to enlarge 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Deputy Operations Group Commander and Navigator Lieutenant Colonel Gene Croft speaks with a maintenance crew in front of a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Deputy Operations Group Commander and Navigator Lieutenant Colonel Gene Croft speaks with a maintenance crew in front of a KC-135.
click to enlarge The crew of Shell 74, a 376th Expeditionary Operations Group refueling mission over Afghanistan speaks with a maintenance crew outside a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The crew of Shell 74, a 376th Expeditionary Operations Group refueling mission over Afghanistan speaks with a maintenance crew outside a KC-135.
click to enlarge 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton closes a panel on a KC-135 - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton closes a panel on a KC-135
click to enlarge 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Co-Pilot Captain Mike Dobbs looks towards the cabin inside a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Co-Pilot Captain Mike Dobbs looks towards the cabin inside a KC-135.
click to enlarge 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton flies a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton flies a KC-135.
click to enlarge The Hindu Kush Mountains of Kyrgyzstan are photographed from a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The Hindu Kush Mountains of Kyrgyzstan are photographed from a KC-135.
click to enlarge (Left to right) 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton, Co-Pilot and Captain Mike Dobbs and Deputy Operations Group Commander and Navigator Lieutenant Colonel Gene Croft fly a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • (Left to right) 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Pilot and Captain Alex Denton, Co-Pilot and Captain Mike Dobbs and Deputy Operations Group Commander and Navigator Lieutenant Colonel Gene Croft fly a KC-135.
click to enlarge 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez refuels an F-16 from a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez refuels an F-16 from a KC-135.
click to enlarge An F-16 is linked to a 376th Expeditionary Operations Group KC-135 during a refueling mission over Afghanistan. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • An F-16 is linked to a 376th Expeditionary Operations Group KC-135 during a refueling mission over Afghanistan.
click to enlarge 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez refuels an F-16 from a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • 376th Expeditionary Operations Group Boom Operator Senior Airman Dave Fernandez refuels an F-16 from a KC-135.
click to enlarge An F-16 approaches a 376th Expeditionary Operations Group KC-135 during a refueling mission over Afghanistan. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • An F-16 approaches a 376th Expeditionary Operations Group KC-135 during a refueling mission over Afghanistan.
click to enlarge YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
click to enlarge An F-16 flies over northern Afghanistan. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • An F-16 flies over northern Afghanistan.
click to enlarge The Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan are photographed from a KC-135. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan are photographed from a KC-135.
click to enlarge A "Shell 77" memorial is photographed at the at the 376th Expeditionary Operations Group office, which was a K-135 that crashed in Kyrgyzstan on May 3, 2013. On board were three crew members: Captain  Mark Tyler Voss, Captain Victoria "Tori" Ann Pinekney and Technical Sergeant Herman "Tre" Mackey III. Their home unit was the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron, based at Fairchild Air Force Base. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • A "Shell 77" memorial is photographed at the at the 376th Expeditionary Operations Group office, which was a K-135 that crashed in Kyrgyzstan on May 3, 2013. On board were three crew members: Captain Mark Tyler Voss, Captain Victoria "Tori" Ann Pinekney and Technical Sergeant Herman "Tre" Mackey III. Their home unit was the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron, based at Fairchild Air Force Base.

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