MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kansas (AFNS) -- A KC-135 Stratotanker aircrew assigned to the Air Force Reserve 931st Air Refueling Group here was cast in a sort of supporting role for a Military Channel television program while performing an air refueling mission in the skies above New Mexico June 21.
The routine air refueling mission called for the tanker to offload approximately 15,000 pounds of fuel to an AC-130H Spectre gunship assigned to the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
However, the AC-130H had some special passengers on board: A film crew for WAG-TV in the United Kingdom, which produces a program titled "Military Top 10s" for the Discovery Communications owned Military Channel. The producers of the program are planning to highlight the AC-130H as one of the ten featured segments on the program that will spotlight the top weapons systems in the military. The film crew rode along during the gunship's flight to shoot video footage to be used in the production of the program.
While the focal point of the Military Channel program is the gunship's tremendous firepower, the refueling mission was an opportunity to display the crucial role that air refueling plays in ensuring that firepower can get to where it is needed.
"It's a unique opportunity to refuel an aircraft and know that there is a film crew on board the receiver," said Master Sgt. James Guldjord, a boom operator assigned to the 18th Air Refueling Squadron. "It really gave us the chance to show how our refueling mission increases the combat capability of the Air Force. The gunship is an extremely powerful weapon system, but without the tanker refueling it and keeping it in the air, it can't lay down that firepower where it needs to."
Maj. Trey Forrest, a pilot assigned to the 18th Air Refueling Squadron, who flew on mission, agreed.
"I hope the film crew was able to gain an understanding of how much the capabilities of the Air Force rely on air refueling.," Forrest said. "They really got to see firsthand how air refueling is both a force extender and a force multiplier."
There is no guarantee the air refueling mission video will make the final cut when the television program finally airs. However, the Airmen who conducted today's refueling said it was rewarding just to have the opportunity to put their mission on display.
"It's always enjoyable to show individuals the importance of the air refueling mission and how it impacts the entire Air Force," said Capt. Brian Doom, a pilot assigned to the 931st Operations Support Squadron. "To know that today's flight could possibly show some of that capability to a worldwide audience is really pretty exciting."
The Military Channel's "Military Top 10s" series will air on Discovery networks in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe before being broadcast around the world on other Discovery-owned channels. Discovery Communications reports that it has 144 worldwide networks and is broadcast in 45 languages to 208 countries and territories, with 1.7 billion cumulative subscribers.