Senior Airman Travis Moore, 350th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, explains how he performs in-flight refueling to a member of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program Feb. 2, 2013. The flight was one part of a tour that showcased McConnell’s mission and heritage. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
Members of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program try on protective equipment used by Airmen during a tour Feb. 2, 2013, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. More than 30 KARL members experienced how McConnell provides support to the warfighter with an orientation flight and tour of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
McConnell aircrew pose for a photo with Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership members after an orientation flight to view McConnell’s mission Feb. 2, 2013, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The KARL program is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to developing leaders for agriculture, business and rural communities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
by Staff Sgt. Abigail Klein
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
2/11/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- More than thirty members of the Kansas Agricultural and Rural Leadership group took to the skies to witness McConnell's main mission firsthand Feb. 7, 2013.
A staple of the Kansas community, KARL is a two-year program that provides study, training and worldwide travel opportunities for emerging leaders in the states agriculture and rural communities since its founding in 1990, said Jack Lindquist, KARL president.
The flight also gave KARL members a chance to learn about the importance of air refueling, detailed during a unit mission brief conducted by Col. Kyle Kremer, 22nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander. The pre-flight briefing detailed McConnell's history and the importance of the Air Force's role in combat.
The brief also provided Kremer a chance to thank KARL members for their dedicated support to McConnell as leaders and members of the Kansas community.
"You guys are really what makes this community great and we can't thank you enough for coming out here today," he said.
The flight lasted approximately three hours, and was a once-in-lifetime event for the members, most who have little or no military background.
"It is important for the KARL class to participate in McConnell tours because the military helps to keep the [agricultural] trade routes open," said Luke Thornton, KARL member. "Since we are heavily involved in production agriculture, this is a very important function considering the purpose of our class is to understand as many aspects of our Kansas economy as possible."
KARL has toured McConnell every two years since 1993. The importance of maintaining this link was re-emphasized by Thornton.
"We are very supportive and thankful of everything the U.S. military does to ensure our safety and we are fortunate to have such a long-standing relationship with McConnell as part of our program," he said.