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Twenty-five years later: Fairchild in Desert Storm

Munitions specialists from the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, England Air Force Base, La., load 30 mm rounds of ammunition into an A-10A Thunderbolt II attack aircraft for its GAU-8/A Avenger cannon prior to a sortie in support of Operation Desert Storm. (Courtesy photo)

Munitions specialists from the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, England Air Force Base, La., load 30 mm rounds of ammunition into an A-10A Thunderbolt II attack aircraft for its GAU-8/A Avenger cannon prior to a sortie in support of Operation Desert Storm. (Courtesy photo)

A B-52G Stratofortress of the 1708th Bomb Wing takes off on a mission during Operation Desert Storm. (Courtesy photo)

A B-52G Stratofortress of the 1708th Bomb Wing takes off on a mission during Operation Desert Storm. (Courtesy photo)

Pres. George H.W. Bush speaks during a welcoming ceremony for U.S. military personnel just returned from deployment in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm at Sumter, S.C., March 24, 1991. (Courtesy photo)

Pres. George H.W. Bush speaks during a welcoming ceremony for U.S. military personnel just returned from deployment in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm at Sumter, S.C., March 24, 1991. (Courtesy photo)

F-111F aircraft and an EF-111A Raven, rear, fly in formation over the desert during Operation Desert Shield. The aircraft are assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing. (Courtesy photo)

F-111F aircraft and an EF-111A Raven, rear, fly in formation over the desert during Operation Desert Shield. The aircraft are assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing. (Courtesy photo)

An F-15 Eagle flies a patrol over the desert during the cease-fire between coalition and Iraqi forces following Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft is carrying four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles on its wing pylons and an AIM-7 Sparrow missile beneath its fuselage. (Courtesy photo)

An F-15 Eagle flies a patrol over the desert during the cease-fire between coalition and Iraqi forces following Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft is carrying four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles on its wing pylons and an AIM-7 Sparrow missile beneath its fuselage. (Courtesy photo)

An F-14A Tomcat refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-10A Extender as other Tomcats fly in formation, during Operation Desert Storm. Squadrons represented by the aircraft are (from foreground) Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33), Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84) and Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14). (Courtesy photo)

An F-14A Tomcat refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-10A Extender as other Tomcats fly in formation, during Operation Desert Storm. Squadrons represented by the aircraft are (from foreground) Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33), Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84) and Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14). (Courtesy photo)

A 401st Tactical Fighter Wing F-16C Fighting Falcon refuels from a KC-135 Stratotanker as another F-16 stands by during Operation Desert Storm. (Courtesy photo)

A 401st Tactical Fighter Wing F-16C Fighting Falcon refuels from a KC-135 Stratotanker as another F-16 stands by during Operation Desert Storm. (Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy map)

(Courtesy map)

U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (left), U.S. Central Command commander in chief, inspects troops while visiting a base camp during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, April 5, 1991. (Courtesy Photo)

U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (left), U.S. Central Command commander in chief, inspects troops while visiting a base camp during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, April 5, 1991. (Courtesy Photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Twenty five years ago, aircraft and personnel from Fairchild played an integral role in one of the most decisive battlefield victories in military history since World War II, providing fuel and logistical supports to joint and coalition partners.

KC-135 Stratotankers and aircrews from Fairchild Air Force Base flew 4,004 hours and 721 sorties during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in the early months of 1991. The 43rd and 92nd Air Refueling Squadrons also contributed greatly to the effort, including flying 200 combat sorties. Fairchild tankers offloaded 22.5 million pounds of fuel to receiver aircraft that included the A-6, A-10, B-52, C-5, EA-6, EC-130, F-4, F-111, F-117A, KC-10 and Tornado.

The 92nd Bombardment Wing, the host wing at Fairchild AFB until the early 1990s, was also actively involved in the Gulf War. The B-52 crews that deployed from the 325th Bombardment Squadron flew five combat sorties, each lasting more than 15 hours, during which each crew released approximately 51 bombs.

Operation DESERT STORM lasted officially from Jan. 16 to Feb. 27, 1991. The 92nd BW was first tasked for DESERT SHIELD Aug. 15, 1990. An initial team of more than 50 deployed Aug. 20, 1990. Tankers supported the European Tanker Task Force, Alaskan TTF and Pacific TTF. Deployed Fairchild members supported more than 30 DESERT EXPRESS missions by daily delivering spare parts, rapidly moving high priority parts to the theater. The bombers were deployed to Diego Garcia to supplement the desert operation. In total, the 92nd BW deployed about 560 personnel to the two operations.

"Yesterday, at the beginning of the ground war, Iraq had the fourth largest army in the world," said then U.S. Central Command commander in chief, Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in 1991. "Today, they have the second largest army in Iraq."

(Information in this article was derived from information provided by the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Historian's office.)