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380AEW Article

Deployed tankers test dispersed operations in USEUCOM, USCENTCOM

  • Published
  • By 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Deployed tanker aircrew and maintainers recently tested dispersed operations capabilities when they landed at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay in Greece on Oct. 21, 2020.

Three KC-10 Extender tanker aircraft executed U.S. Central Command Air Tasking Order sorties while transiting between the USCENTCOM and U.S. European Command areas of responsibility during an overnight extended mission.

“USCENTCOM missions are generated almost exclusively from USCENTCOM operating bases,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Sanders, 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander. “By supporting USCENTCOM priorities from a USEUCOM base, we validated that our unit is capable of providing flexible options to multiple combatant commanders.”

Dubbed “Agile Extender,” the exercise enabled the 908th EARS to demonstrate their ability to deliver airpower with a light and mobile team of aircrew, maintainers and planners – all contained within the three-ship of deployed aircraft.

“By sending a team of maintainers to accompany the aircraft, we expanded the standard flying crew chief position into a tailored package of maintenance professionals,” said 1st Lt. David Whitfield, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Extender officer in charge. “This was a unique opportunity for maintenance specialists to fly, accompany the aircraft, respond to any maintenance issues and return with mission success.”

With the three deployed tankers returned to Al Dhafra Air Base, the accomplished mission left the 908th EARS open to employing dispersed operations in the future.

 “We gathered our lessons learned from the event and will look for future opportunities to practice being light, lethal and reliable from anywhere in the world,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Mansell, 908th EARS operations officer.