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The way things are: Present-day Fairchild

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Throughout the history of Fairchild, loyal, dedicated, diligent and proud have been characteristics continually used to best describe the base. And to this day, Airmen of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing and its tenant units have gone far beyond achieving the mission with excellence.

The influence of certain individuals, the valor of particular units and varied events have molded, shaped and yielded the lands west of Spokane into a modern, contingency-enabling air refueling Air Force base.

The transition into an air refueling base began in 1993 with the first transfer of a B-52 from the bas. Thus, 52 years of service in bombing missions ended with the transfer of the last remaining bomber in May 1994.

"July 1, 1994 was the official standup of the Air Refueling Wing and transfer to Air Mobility Command," said Dan Simmons, 92nd Air Refueling Wing historian.

Since then, the wing has been involved in nearly every contingency world wide. Fairchild's KC-135 Stratotankers have played a huge role in air refueling operations across the globe.

"Also, a large percentage of our wing expeditionary combat support forces are deployed around the world in all different specialties for fighting the Global War on Terror," Mr. Simmons stated.

Most notably, Fairchild hastily responded to our nation's call following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

"One of the first things that happened was we launched aircraft in preparation to refuel fighter aircraft involved in combat air patrol," Mr. Simmons said. "Not long after that, the base began deploying Airmen in support of Operation Enduring Freedom."

As Fairchild Airmen continually perform their daily duties expertly and professionally, others become aware of the standards set here. Through exercises carried out with utmost expertise and the exceptional grades during the recent Unit Compliance Inspection, Fairchild has proven its ability to perform.

"Fairchild has earned a reputation for excellence over the years, coming from deployed commanders, distinguished visitors who have the opportunity to visit the base, and others from different bases," Mr. Simmons noted. "And it seems that Fairchild wins its share of awards at command and Air Force levels."

During its history as an up-and-coming Air Force base and continuing into current times, Fairchild Airmen have carried a great sense of pride and commitment on their shoulders, dedicated to be the best.

(This is the second in a three-part series in recognition of the Air Force's 60th Anniversary and Fairchild's endeavors.)