USAF activates refuelling squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base

22 October 2019 (Last Updated October 22nd, 2019 14:34)

The US Air Force (USAF) has reactivated the 97th Air Refueling Squadron during a ceremony at Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) in Washington, US.

USAF activates refuelling squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base
Members of Team Fairchild gather for the 97th Air Refueling Squadron’s reactivation ceremony and Assumption of Command. Credit: USAF / Staff Sgt Dustin Mullen.

The US Air Force (USAF) has reactivated the 97th Air Refueling Squadron during a ceremony at Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) in Washington, US.

The 97th Air Refueling Squadron has been stood up as the fourth squadron at Fairchild AFB after the 92nd, 93rd, and 384th Refueling Squadrons.

It was previously deactivated for 15 years and the ceremony marks the reactivation of the new squadron.

The USAF stated that the squadron was reactivated to cater to an increase of KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft at Fairchild.

USAF 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander colonel Derek Salmi said in a previous article: “Fairchild is the perfect fit for these new tankers because of our demonstrated capability to provide responsive air refuelling across the globe.

“Through hard work and dedication, our airmen have established Fairchild as the Air Refueling Center of Excellence and we will continue to carry forth this legacy as the world’s largest tanker wing.”

Earlier this year, 18th US Air Force commander major general Sam Barrett said that Fairchild AFB will serve as a long-term strategic centre for KC-135 refuelling operations.

USAF 97th Air Refueling Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Cindy Dawson said: “We have been working very hard to set up our squadron, with a new building and new furniture, setting up our processes, [all while] we have already received taskings to send our airmen downrange to support the fight.

“The tankers are one of our most strategic assets for the airforce. We have fantastic fighters and bombers that can bring air power anywhere in the world, but they can only get there with the help of tankers.”

Last week, Fairchild AFB received the first of 12 additional KC-135 Stratotankers from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The addition of the Stratotankers will increase base aeromedical evacuation, air refuelling, and airlift capabilities.