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108th deploys to Turkey in support of OEF, OIF
Photos and story by Senior Airman Robbie Finley, 108ARW/PA
TAG at Operation Jump Start
The 108th Air Refueling Wing deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operations’ Enduring and Iraqi Freedom Sept. 27 through Nov. 4.

More than one hundred service members from McGuire’s “super tanker wing” took over the 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS) and the 90th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron (both of which belong to the 385th Air Expeditionary Group) to support Air Mobility Command operations by providing aerial refuelings via the 108th’s KC-135E Stratotankers.

Almost every member who initially deployed to Incirlik was replaced by other 108th members halfway through the deployment, with only 28 people in place from beginning to end, according to Lt. Col. Daniel J. Rutkoski, the 385th AEG deployed logistics plans officer.

Six 90th EARS flying crews conducted an average of three refuelings a day, according to Lt. Col. Thomas P. Coppinger, the 385th AEG’s deployed director of operations. A majority of these were C-17 Globemaster IIIs, although they did occasionally refuel C-5 Galaxys.

Senior Master Sgt. John Temar II (left), Production Superintendent, and Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Koratzanis (right), Maintenance Superintendent, inspect the paperwork for a KC-135E Stratotanker engine.

The 385th AEG’s operations personnel plugged away day and night to coordinate the aerial refuelings assigned to them through the Tanker Airlift Control Center, which dictates where and when an aerial refueling is going to be required.

Although many of the 108th’s KC-135s date back to the late 1950s, there weren’t any major mechanical complications.
“We only lost one mission to date due to a hydraulics problem. Other than that, everything (was) 100 percent,” said Col. Kevin J. Keehn, the 385 AEG deployed deputy commander.

Members of the 385th EMXS had an extra duty on their hands once they arrived – to care for KC, the official mascot of the squadron. KC, an Anatolian Sheppard dog, mysteriously appeared four years ago, and has been lazily walking around the maintenance facilities ever since. The 108th crew left behind for KC a large barrel of food, paid for by donations.

After a successful deployment, the last group of 108th personnel packed up and left Incirlik Nov. 4.

TAG at Operation Jump Start
Boom Operator Staff Sgt. Gregory M. White (front) and Life Support Specialist Airman 1st Class Monique Pindell (back), lay in the boom area in wait of a C-5 Galaxy.


Table of Contents

Volume 32 Number 6
Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs