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RAF Mildenhall continues support for NATO Libyan operations
RAF MILDENHALL, England – A United Arab Emirates F-16F Desert Falcon flies away from a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker after receiving fuel over the Mediterranean Sea July 19, 2011. Since March, the 100th ARW has off-loaded more than 40 million pounds of fuel to more than 4,000 receivers in support of the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Thomas Trower)
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RAF Mildenhall continues support for NATO Libyan operations

Posted 7/22/2011   Updated 7/22/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Rachel Waller
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/22/2011 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -  -- Joint Task Force Operation Odyssey Dawn began March 19 and the 100th Air Refueling Wing has had an active role in supporting the operation, and the wing continues to support the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector.

Operation Unified Protector is an ongoing operation enforcing the United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, which authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas in Libya under threat of attack.

"Our mission here is to provide aerial refueling to all U.S. forces along with supporting the NATO countries and its allies," said Maj. James Muniz, 100th Operations Group training chief.

Since the operations began, the 351st Air Refueling Squadron has off-loaded more than 40 million pounds of fuel to more than 4,000 receivers.

"Between here and other locations, our aircrews are flying about eight OUP lines a day," said Capt. Tyler Berge, 100th Operations Support Squadron current operations chief.

Year-to-date, the 100th ARW has flown more than 800 sorties in support of OUP.

"Our sorties are significantly longer than our training sorties," said Muniz. "Each sortie averages eight to 12 hours long."

In total, the aircrew has flown more than 6,600 hours, and the number continues to increase daily.

"We're the only air refueling wing in Europe, so it's been an all-in competition for us," said Col. Joseph DeMarco, 100th Operations Group commander. "For all the [aircraft] tails, crews and maintainers, it has been a full-time job."

Although the crew is flying around the clock, they still have additional duties and lives, to accommodate them the schedulers spread out the missions amongst the crews, said Berge.

"I think it's extremely rewarding to be working with the other nations," said Muniz. "Our Air Forces are different, but the fact that we can get together and work toward a specific objective is rewarding."

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