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News > Fairchild relocates KC-135 flying OPS
Fairchild relocates KC-135 flying OPS

Posted 1/24/2011   Updated 1/24/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Scott King
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2011 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.  -- Fairchild is in the process of one of its largest undertakings in recent history.
The base is relocating its KC-135 flying operations to two different locations. Eight aircraft are being relocated to the Spokane International Airport with the remaining aircraft (up to 28) relocating 100 miles away, to the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash.

This move is necessary because of the condition of the 50-year old pavement on the runway here, which has exceeded its useful life - normally 25 years. The runway will be replaced over the next year in a $42.8 million dollar project.

The logistics of the move have been in the works for more than a year and have involved many hands.

"This is a huge project involving many agencies across the base and in Moses Lake," said Lt. Col. James O'Connell, 92nd Operations Group deputy commander and GCIA Detachment commander. "The Moses Lake community has embraced this idea and has been working very closely with us to make this move seamless and effective."

Due to its close proximity (110 miles from Fairchild) and its ability to support the KC-135 mission, the GCIA, formerly Larson Air Force Base, will support the majority of Fairchild operations. It has an accommodating runway, adequate fuel storage to support short-notice taskings, suitable ramp and hangar space, and is only two hours away from the base which will minimize the number of TDY personnel and durations thus minimizing the impact to operations tempo.

Most Fairchild functions will remain here with personnel being deployed weekly to the GCIA.

Leadership may deploy up to 30 days; support agencies 7 to 21 days; aircrew up to 7 days.

"It's an ideal location for the mission to continue," Colonel O'Connell explained. "For our personnel, they will be staying in dormitories, there are dining facilities and a fitness center all within walking distance. There is also a base shuttle, as well as a city bus and taxis available to get to downtown Moses Lake - with the exception of not being home, it's a win-win situation for our folks and the Moses Lake community."

The Moses Lake community sees this as a win-win move and is enthusiastic to host Fairchild Airmen

"On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and our community, we are looking forward to Fairchild's extended stay in our community," said Debbie Doran Martinez, Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce. "We have much to offer year-round. There are free concerts and movies in the park, loads of outdoor recreation like fishing, hunting, boating, ice skating and biking to name a few. We also have local wineries, organic farms and a farmer's market - I'm sure the Fairchild Airmen will find our community very receptive and welcoming to their arrival."

Base leadership is also looking forward to this joint-venture with Moses Lake.

"We are looking forward to operating our KC-135s out of there and creating more military history for the area." said Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "This is great opportunity to show our neighbors in Central Washington the vital role Fairchild plays in national defense and the Global War on Terrorism."



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