HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Airmen from two bases worked together on the Air Force’s newest tanker, the KC-46A Pegasus, as they improved off-station training and readiness. Reservists from the 77th Air Refueling Squadron, 916th Air Refueling Wing, at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., flew to Hill AFB to conduct the training with the 67th Aerial Port Squadron here on Jan. 8.
“This is the first time we’ve done a cargo training mission out of Seymour,” said Senior Master Sgt. Barry Bradley, a boom operator from the 77th ARS. “This airplane is actually a 2017 model. We got this airplane and one other airplane back in June (2020), and we got two more in August.”
The training opportunity allowed the 77th ARS to practice loading and refueling outside of their home base, as well as giving reservists in the 67th APS the opportunity to load an aircraft that they have not previously worked with.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Anderson, an air transportation specialist in the 67th APS. “This aerial port for the reservists doesn’t get a lot of traffic. When we get partners like the 916th who can come in and help us train, it’s something special.”
During the load training, Airmen loaded and unloaded seven pallets of various dimensions and weight onto the KC-46A.
“Like anything new, there are things we’re learning, things that we have to figure out,” Bradley said. “When it’s going through testing, everything is always exactly the same. When you’re at a different unit, nothing is the same. Like coming here, it’s so cold, we had to de-ice the airplane before flying yesterday. That’s something we don’t usually do at Seymour.”
Airmen from both units benefited from the opportunity to put into practice what they have trained to do. The unexpected challenges that come with joint training ensure that Airmen are prepared for challenges that may arise during missions.
“Working with the other aerial port, loadmasters, and aircrafts from other bases allows us to stay ready for anything that happens in our deployments,” Anderson said.