Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Total Force ops in Libya change air refueling tactics

by Col. Bob Thompson
Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

5/24/2013 - WASHINGTON -- The world's top experts in air to air refueling recognized the Total Force contributions to NATO's Operation Unified Protector during an April meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Flown from March 19, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2011, the no-fly zone over Libya was patrolled by aircraft from 16 countries and fueled by flying tanker aircraft from nine partner nations. The aerial refueling effort was coordinated by a team of 55 Airmen in the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre, in Poggio Renatico, Italy.

According to the "Founders Award," the team successfully scheduled and delivered 4,407 tanker aircraft sorties and offloaded about 250 million pounds of fuel to more than 15,000 patrol aircraft. During the operation, the team obtained clearances never before considered, ensured better interoperability among the allies and created new processes and information sharing procedures.

In front of representatives from 19 nations at the conference in Orlando, the Air Refueling Systems Advisory Group recognized seven Air Force Reservists for their outstanding contributions that will change the way future NATO missions are flown. This included: Brig. Gen. Ken Lewis, Air Force Reserve Plans and Programs, Pentagon; Col. Doug Planner, 4th Air Force Operations, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; Lt. Col. Josh Owens, 4th AF Operations and Training, March ARB; Maj. Miles Marshall, 349th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif; Maj. Ed Schierberl, Air Force Reserve Strategy Division, Pentagon; and Capt. Todd Cramer, 312th Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB.

The no-fly zone was established by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970 and 1973 to protect Libyan civilians during the overthrow of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Air Force Reservists - known as Citizen Airmen - have served in every U.S. combat and humanitarian operation throughout the world including Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Mali and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 2,000 Citizen Airmen are currently deployed and, 3,000 are on active duty status in support of combatant commander requirements.

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