JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- As part of Exercise Eager Lion 17, two KC-10 Extender crews from Travis Air Force Base, California, used the airfield on the McGuire-side of the Joint Base as a staging area for refueling operations over Newfoundland, Canada, May 18, 2017.
The Travis Airmen flew in formation far to the north and rendezvoused with three eastbound B-1 Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force Base. The bombers were on their way to support Eager Lion 17, conducting training missions with The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and other international partner forces in the Central Command area of responsibility.
“If anyone is going anywhere further than 15 hours or so, they need a tanker,” said Capt. Matthew Williams, a KC-10 pilot. “We’re the biggest, most capable tanker there is.”
During the in-air refueling, the KC-10 offloaded around 200,000 pounds of fuel into the B-1 Lancers as they made their way overseas.
“We put ourselves in a good position for the receiving aircraft to basically fly formation off of us,” said Master Sgt. Mike Smith, KC-10 boom pod supervisor. “We’re very well trained for operations like this. It’s all in a day’s work.”
Outside of the refueling, this year's iteration of Exercise Eager Lion was comprised of about 7,200 military personnel from more than 20 nations that responded to scenarios involving border security, command and control, cyber defense and battlespace management.
The U.S. military participates in more than 60 exercises with partner missions in the CENTCOM area of responsibility every year. Many of these exercises simply would not be possible without the in-air refueling capabilities of Air Mobility Command. The extended reach provided by the KC-10 fleet allows many additional training exercises, ultimately ensuring crews are safer and more prepared for real engagements.
“Our ability to be anywhere in the world on time to deliver fuel represents AMC’s mission of rapid global mobility,” said Williams. “We are rapid global mobility.”