Nebraska Stratotankers Support Critical Aerial Refueling Mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Nielsen

The Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing deployed a KC-135 Stratotanker to Pardubice Air Base, Czechia, May 2022 in support of ongoing real-world missions.

The KC-135 Stratotanker supplies critical aerial refueling capabilities the U.S. and NATO coalition forces, which are operating as part of NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission. The NATO Air Policing mission operates over 100 coalition aircraft along the Eastern flank, and the extended fighter rotations all require timely refueling support.

“After operating KC-135s from Pardubice Air Base for the past 10 years, it was extremely gratifying to fly several missions from Czech Republic in support of NATO's Enhanced Air Policing mission,” said Col. Williams, 155th Air Refueling Wing commander. “The value of a nearly 30 year partnership between Nebraska and the Czech Armed forces allowed the 155th Air Refueling Wing to take an active role in USAFE's assurance, deterrence, and defense mission.”

Aerial refueling platforms amplify the coalition force’s reach, ability to project power, integrate allied and partner capabilities, enhance interoperability, and ensure security and stability in the region.

These missions enhance the readiness necessary to respond to potential challenges in the region said Capt. Chris Castle, 173rd Air Refueling Squadron aircraft commander.

The forward deployment, done with full cooperation of Czechia demonstrates the U.S. Air Force’s commitment to the collective defense of the NATO Alliance and willingness to deploy and use U.S. assets to deter any potential aggression and increase regional security.