618th AOC enables Team Fairchild tanker operations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jesenia Landaverde
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Fragments of pulverized rocks, minerals and volcanic glass filled the air over the Aleutian Islands, just off the coast of Alaska and directly in the flight path of a Team Fairchild KC-135 Stratotanker as it was about to fly out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

Volcanic ash can be spewed tens of thousands of feet into the air and reach jet cruising altitude. The volcanic ash can flame out engines, damage the airframe and endanger the aircrew’s life on board.

This incident is one of many that can happen when planning a mission and thanks to the Air Force’s training standards, aircraft commanders are able to think quickly to keep the crew safe and complete their mission.

“Luckily, we are able contact [Tanker Airlift Control Center] to aid us with possible flight routes when the unexpected happens by getting us up in the air within an hour,” said Capt Ryan Turner, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 pilot who is in training to become an aircraft commander.

The Air Operations Center (AOC/TACC) has nine directorates and one squadron dedicated to help plan, task, execute and asses all Air Force mobility missions around the globe.

“Fairchild AFB is always one of the first air refueling assets we leverage to execute Air Mobility Command’s no-fail missions,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Ricci, 618th Air Operations Center tanker allocation manager. “Our tremendous relationship with the wing facilitates a steadfast response to any emerging air refueling requirement in any area of responsibility.”

Before every mission, an AOC Airman puts together all the pieces of a successful mission into a package that provides the aircrew with flight planning, foreign clearance and mission objectives.

“They do all the heavy lifting, so aircrew can just show up the day of the flight and polish their plan,” Turner said. “We appreciate everything they do for us. They’re the coach with a game plan, and we’re the players executing and winning the game.”

Air Mobility Command averages one aircraft departure every 2.9 minutes, and the 618th AOC executes command and control over 200 of those sorties every day. The AOC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,100 mobility aircraft, as Air Mobility Command’s execution arm for providing air refueling, airlift, aeromedical evacuation and air mobility support where and when needed to support Air Force, joint and allied operations.