Tactical

Air Force flyovers around US celebrate 100 years of air refueling

To celebrate 100 years of air refueling, the Air Force is conducting community flyovers across the country Tuesday. The flyovers will feature a variety of aircraft, including KC-135 Stratotankers, KC-10 Extenders and the KC-46 Pegasus.

More than 150 aircraft will take part, in all 50 states, to pay tribute to the first successful air refueling on June 27, 1923, 20 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight, according to the National Museum of the Air Force. On that day, Army Air Service 1st Lts. Virgil Hine and Frank Seifert, flying a DH-4B — a two-seat, single-engine World War I biplane observation and bomber aircraft — passed gasoline through a gravity hose to another DH-4B piloted by Capt. Lowell H. Smith and 1st Lt. John P. Richter, accomplishing the first aerial refueling.

While the original mission of air refueling remains the same today, it is now done on a global scale. The flyovers Tuesday are one piece of the Air Mobility Command’s “100 Years of Air Refueling” campaign, created to educate the public about the vital role that AMC and air refueling plays in supporting the U.S. military.

“Air refueling propels our Nation’s air power across the skies, unleashing its full potential,” said Gen. Mike Minihan, the head of Air Mobility Command. “It connects our strategic vision with operational reality, ensuring we can reach any corner of the globe with unwavering speed and precision. Air refueling embodies our resolve to defend freedom and project power, leaving an indelible mark on aviation history.”

In the Chicago area, at least two KC-135 Stratotankers from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing and the Air Force’s 906th Air Refueling Squadron will fly over parts of the state beginning with a scheduled 10:22 a.m. flyover in Springfield.

They will then head to Gurnee’s Six Flags Great America, Evanston’s Baha’i House of Worship and Northwestern University, and Chicago’s Navy Pier between 11:04 and 11:13 a.m.

The aircraft will then head south along the Mississippi River, reaching St. Louis’ Gateway Arch at approximately 12:10 p.m.

In New York and New Jersey, the flyover will begin with one KC-135, 8 KC-46s and 6 C-17s departing from the 305th Air Mobility Wing out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The route of flight will be visible from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania landmarks. There will be two formations flying the route, approximately 20 minutes apart.

New York

  • Ithaca, 1:23 p.m.
  • Buffalo, 1:43 p.m.
  • Niagara, 1:51 p.m.
  • Rochester, 2:01 p.m.
  • Syracuse, 2:14 p.m.
  • Albany, 2:34 p.m.

New Jersey

  • Asbury Park, 1:03 p.m.
  • Barnegat Light, 1:10 p.m.
  • Atlantic City, 1:17 p.m.
  • Cape May, 1:25 p.m.
  • Philadelphia Airport, 1:42 p.m.

In Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, the flyovers will begin at Key Field Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Mississippi.

  • Threefoot Hotel in Meridian, 9:15 a.m.
  • Pascagoula, 9:45 a.m
  • Waveland, 10:00 a.m
  • The Vidalia Bridge, 10:30 a.m.
  • Vicksburg National Military Park, 10:40 a.m.
  • Mississippi State Capitol, 10:50 a.m.
  • Arkansas Razorback Stadium, 11:55 a.m.
  • Fort Smith, 12:10 p.m.
  • Arkansas State Capitol, 12:30 p.m
  • USS Kidd in Baton Rouge, 1:40 p.m.
  • The Super Dome/Jackson Square, 1:55 p.m.

In Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. the 6th and 927th Air Refueling Wings will fly out of MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa.

Florida

  • Cape Coral Bridge, Fort Meyers, 11:15 a.m.
  • Tallahassee, 11:30 a.m.
  • Key West, 11:45 a.m.
  • Miami Beach, 12:20 p.m.
  • South Palm Beach, 12:30 p.m.
  • Tidal Cove Beach, Sebastian, 12:50 p.m.
  • Interstate 4/Hwy 98 Intersection, Lakeland, 1:10 p.m.
  • Skyway Bridge, St. Petersburg, 1:25 p.m.
  • University of Florida Stadium, Gainesville, 2:40 p.m.
  • Ocala, 2:45 p.m.
  • Busch Gardens, Tampa, 3:00 p.m.

Georgia

  • Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta, 12:30 p.m.
  • Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, 1:00 p.m.

South Carolina

  • South Carolina Capitol, Columbia, 1:15 p.m.
  • Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston, 1:40 p.m.

In Alaska, the Air National Guard’s 168th Wing, will conduct KC-135 Stratotanker flyovers across the state starting at approximately 10:30 a.m. Times are listed on the wing’s Facebook Page.

The Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing will be flying over Sioux City at 9:50 a.m., West Lake Okoboji at 12:35 p.m. and Jack Trice Stadium in Ames at 12:55 p.m.

Iowa’s guard will also be flying over South Dakota and North Dakota. For South Dakota, check out the state capitol in Pierre at 10:25 a.m., the Badlands at 9:40 a.m., Mount Rushmore at 9:50 a.m. and Sioux Falls at 12:20 p.m.

For North Dakota, be at Theodore Roosevelt National Park at 10:20 a.m. and the state capitol in Bismarck at 11:40 a.m.

In Michigan, aircraft of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Bse will be participating. The approximate times:

  • Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron, 10:20 a.m.
  • Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center and downtown Alpena, 10:40 a.m.
  • Mackinac Bridge and Mackinaw City, 10:50 a.m.
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes area near Maple City, 11:15 a.m.
  • Downtown Grand Rapids, 11:45 a.m.
  • Battle Creek Air National Guard Base and Battle Creek, 11:55 a.m.
  • The Michigan State Capitol and downtown Lansing, 12:05 p.m.
  • The Detroit River, 12:30 p.m.
  • Selfridge Air National Guard Base, 12:35 p.m.

The Utah Air National Guard will perform flyovers across Utah, starting with an appearance over Utah State University at 9:40 a.m. and ending over Park City at 12:09 p.m.

For more details, check out your local news outlets or the Facebook pages of nearby Air Force and Air National Guard bases.

Citizens are encouraged to come out, watch and enjoy the show.

Georgina DiNardo is an editorial fellow for Military Times and Defense News and a recent graduate of American University, specializing in journalism, psychology, and photography in Washington, D.C.

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