News>Retired 93rd ARS/CC gifts Fairchild a book full of heritage
Retired Lt. Col. Al Kessler talks about his time as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot while the commander of the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron listens and Capt. Chris Smith looks through the 93rd ARS heritage book, Oct. 15, 2012. Kessler gifted the scrapbook to his former unit while visiting the current squadron commander, Lt. Col. Patrick O’Brien. The book features articles and photos dating back to 1963. O'Brien is the current 93rd ARS commander and Smith is the squadron’s executive officer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlanadez Young)
A close up of an air refueling photo in the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron’s heritage book, Oct. 15, 2012. The photo was taken when retired Lt. Col. Al Kessler was commander of the 93rd ARS at Castle Air Force Base, Calif. Kessler gifted the scrapbook to his former unit while visiting the current squadron commander, Lt. Col. Patrick O’Brien. The book features articles and photos dating back to 1963. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlanadez Young)
After finding his own name on the list of former 93rd Air Refueling Squadron commanders, retired Lt. Col. Al Kessler points out a few of his peers from years ago, Oct. 15, 2012. Kessler served as the squadron commander in the 1970s when the air refueling squadron was at Castle Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlanadez Young)
Retired Lt. Col. Al Kessler looks at controls inside the flightdeck of a KC-135R Stratotanker Oct. 15, 2012, while Capt. Chris Smith shows him many new controls that weren’t on the A-model KC-135 Kessler flew. The retired lieutenant colonel also spent time in the KC-97 Stratotanker and the B-29 Superfortress. Smith is the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron’s executive officer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Earlanadez Young)
by Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
10/18/2012 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., -- -- A previous 93rd Air Refueling Squadron commander visited his old unit Oct. 15 with a gift from his time as a Pegasus in the '70s.
Retired Lt. Col. Al Kessler presented the current commander of the 93rd ARS, Lt. Col. Patrick O'Brien, with a scrapbook full of historic photos and news articles collected from when the KC-135 Stratotanker Combat Crew Training School closed down at Castle Air Force Base, Calif., in 1995.
Articles and photos in the heritage book date back as far as 1963.
"It's awesome to see the heritage book and it even has our squadron's patch on the front," said Capt. Chris Smith, 93rd ARS executive officer. "We see the patch around the squadron every day, but it's a lot easier to understand when you see the history behind it - especially for a lot of the young Airmen in the squadron."
The book had been sitting in the garage of a former boom operator, who told Kessler he was traveling north but wasn't going past Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Kessler offered to deliver it to Fairchild.
O'Brien and Smith gave the former squadron commander a tour where they visited mission planning, readiness, flight scheduling and more.
"The facilities now are much nicer than when I was in," said Kessler. "We had a small platform, we put a podium on it, got issued a projector and had one of the boom operators to draw some artwork on the walls - that was our squadron," he said.
Kessler also toured a Stratotaker similar to the A-Model KC-135 he flew.
Kessler and O'Brien reminisced about the T-6 Texan, a single-engine advance trainer aircraft used to train pilots during World War II. A newer model, the T-6 Texan II, sits inside the same hangar as the KC-135 they toured.
Kessler flew the original T-6 while O'Brien taught pilot training in the Texan II.
O'Brien told Kessler the newer models even have air conditioning.
"They also had air conditioning when I flew them -- all you had to do was open the back window and you'd get plenty of air," Kessler chuckled.
O'Brien and Smith expressed their sincere gratitude for all he had shared with them, from the stories and camaraderie to the important piece of 93rd ARS heritage.
The scrapbook now sits inside the auditorium of the squadron for future Airmen to enjoy.