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JROTC Takes Flight

On Thursday, March 8, four of our Air Force Junior ROTC cadets had the unique experience to travel to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, near Goldsboro, North Carolina, and 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. It 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.  We flew out past the North Carolina coast and down past Charleston, making loops over the ocean.  We got to observe the boom operator manipulate the boom and hook it up 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, we graciously thanked the flight crew and headed home.

Refueling

On the way home, we stopped at Bentonville Battlefield to learn about some civil war history.  We took 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. 

“This 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.”

 

Cadet Taylor in the Cockpit

Written by: Heinz L. Schweinsberger, Master Sgt, US AF (Retired)
Posted: Mar 19, 2012 by April Dawkins

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