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100 Million pounds of fuel offloaded

  • Published
  • By Capt. Dicie Hritz
  • 171 ARW
171st Air Refueling Wing eclipses significant milestone 

4/29/2009 - 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, PA - The 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, achieved a major milestone, Tuesday by offloading the 100 millionth pound of aviation fuel in support of the North East Tanker Task Force.

Capt. Walter Ransom, aircraft commander of the crew of three, led the team that consisted of Capt. Mike Koehl, co-pilot, and Staff Sgt. William Paull, boom operator onboard a KC-135R stationed at Pittsburgh International Airport.

"Ethyl 06", the official call sign for the mission, offloaded 80,000 pounds of jet fuel to a C-17 bound overseas. The aerial refueling mission commenced off the coast of Maine and New Foundland, continuing a practice performed daily by the citizen airman of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

100 million pounds of aviation fuel or the military standard name JP8 jet fuel is the equivalent of nearly 15 million gallons of fuel to the average consumer. To put this amount of fuel in perspective; 15 million gallons would fill approximately 454 full size swimming pools, remarkably powering the average American car for more than a staggering 22,400 years (assuming 22.4 MPG and 15000 miles/yr).

The North East Tanker Task Force supports Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom by aerial refueling cargo aircraft bound for and from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Aerial refueling acts as a force multiplier extending the legs of cargo aircraft allowing them to carry more cargo than they would otherwise be capable of.

It goes without saying that the aircrew does not carry out the mission alone. Maintenance preflight crew chiefs prepared the aircraft for launch, consisted of Tech. Sgt. Dan Oyster and Staff Sgt. Brad Michaelson. Master Sgt. Joe Ferrar and Staff Sgt. Justin Jones recovered the jet at the conclusion of the mission.

Since 2003, the 171st has participated in the global war on terror from its ramp here in Pittsburgh. The unit has a mission capable rate nearing 93%, we have been able to afford the air force with a global force ready and allows the military to take the fight directly the need.

The 171st Air Refueling Wing is a Pennsylvania Air National Guard unit that has been actively engaged in support of United States contingencies worldwide. Since 9/11 the 171st has maintained numerous around-the-clock alert lines able to respond at a moment's notice for Homeland Defense, the North East Tanker Task Force, and other taskings as directed from the Governor of Pennsylvania and Federal Command Authorities.