It takes two to tanker

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- October 1, 2007, a ceremony was held to reveal the nose art on a Fairchild’s KC-135 Stratotanker, a representation of the new classic association between the active duty 92nd Air Refueling Wing and the Washington Air National Guard 141st ARW.

Ten years later, Team Fairchild celebrates not just a decade of integration, but the partnerships and growth that came from combining the 92nd and 141st ARWs, said Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd ARW commander.

The integration of the 92nd and 141st ARWs was the first time in Air Force history that an ANG and active duty KC-135 Stratotanker units joined together in a classic association, according to the 92nd ARW historian.

“The merging of our two wings was an important chapter in our mutual story of success,” Samuelson said. “By sharing aircraft, training together and executing our missions side by side, we've been able to become more efficient and effective both at home, and while enabling Rapid Global Mobility for warfighters and humanitarian relief around the world.”

The driving force behind the association was the federally-mandated Base Realignment and Closure act in in 2005. This required the remaining KC-135 Stratotankers that belonged to the Washington ANG to be redirected to Iowa. Now the 92nd ARW aircraft serve both wings in all capacities: work, fly and train.

The partnership between the ANG and active duty forces has improved many aspects of operations here at Fairchild. It has increased deterrence, enhanced regional stability, lowered operating costs, increased capability and capacity and ensured access to base assets, according to a report by Air Mobility Command.

“I think the biggest thing Total Force Integration has done is allowed us to find efficiencies in shops,” said Col. Johan Deutscher, 141st ARW commander. “We take job knowledge the Guard has because of longevity and impart that knowledge onto some of the younger Airmen; so from a training perspective and an efficiency perspective, we have seen gains.”

The partnership between the two organizations has caused both units to grow and learn together. Rapid Global Mobility can’t happen without the total force, and no major command relies more on total force than AMC.