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ROTC Cadets Participate in Refueling Mission

Pictured on homepage are, from left to right, Cadet Major Kendyll Dellinger, Cadet Captain Jessica Taylor, Cadet Staff Sergeant Maggie McBryde, and Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Michael Trull. Pictured above is Cadet Staff Sergeant Maggie McBryde aboard the KC-145 during the refueling mission.

On Thursday, March 8, four of Piedmont's Air Force Junior ROTC cadets had the unique experience of travelling to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, near Goldsboro, North Carolina, to take part in a KC-135 refueling mission. The KC-135 is a fuel tanker that can carry in excess of 40,000 pounds of fuel and can also carry up to six pallets of cargo or act as a medical evacuation airplane to bring wounded troops out of war zones.

On this specific mission, the KC-135 was meeting up with a Boeing-747 to give it to approximately 20,000 pounds of fuel.  At about 10:00 AM, the plane took off for its 3 ½ hour roundtrip flight.  They flew out past the North Carolina coast and down past Charleston, making loops over the ocean.  They observed the boom operator manipulate the boom and hook it to the 747 to offload the fuel. As the fuel is being pumped from one plane to the other, the two planes fly as close as only 25 feet apart at 250 to 350 mph, at 25,000 feet up!

After about an hour, the two planes separated, and the KC-135 headed back to base. Upon landing, ROTC cadets graciously thanked the flight crew and headed home. On the way home, cadets stopped at Bentonville Battlefield to learn about civil war history.  Next stop was a tour of the Bentonville farmhouse, which is still standing in original condition. The farmhouse was used as a hospital to treat wounded men from both sides during the Civil War.  â€œThis was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” said Cadet Taylor. “I will never forget that day and all we learned. It definitely was an amazing day for all of us.”


Written by: Heinz L. Schweinsberger, Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force (retired)
Posted: Mar 15, 2012 by Donna Helms

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