by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs
6/16/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Members
of the 96th Air Refueling Squadron launched four KC-135 Stratotankers
to conduct their final mission, or "Fini" flight, here June 11.
According to Lt Col. Jason Work, 96th ARS commander, due to the upcoming
deactivation of the squadron, this was the last operational mission for
To mark the historic final mission, the Stratotankers showed a range of
KC-135 capabilities by conducting aerial refueling and defensive
maneuvering as a four ship.
"It was a unique opportunity; we do not get to go up in a four ship very
often," Work said. "Hawaii offers a great training opportunity, because
there is so much air space, and [maintenance] was gracious enough to
generate all four aircraft, so we could go out and fly."
Each KC-135 executed refueling operations for six F-22 Raptors from the
199th Fighter Squadron. The four ship also completed defensive
maneuvering by practicing how to react as a four ship to an air-to-air
or surface-to-air threat. The defensive maneuvering included in-place
turns, scatter turns, combat descends and defensive climbs maneuvers,
rejoining at the end of the training to the four-ship formation.
"This is one of those times when you really show the merits of a
squadron and how disciplined they are, when you do large ship
formations," Work said. "This is the first opportunity that most of the
aircrews have had to operate as a four ship, performing defensive
maneuvering and everyone performed perfectly. All the maneuvering was
Once on the ground, their families and the squadron leadership greeted
the aircrews with leis, water guns and water hoses to celebrate the
"It is nice to get all of the squadron together to fly as a four ship;
we don't get a lot of opportunities to do that," said Capt. Britton
Adamson, 96th ARS pilot. "We had the new pilots flying with the older
pilots and landing was great seeing all the families and leadership
coming out to the flight line as we parked. It is bittersweet leaving,
but it was a gratifying thing to be a part of as we finish our mission."
The 96th ARS will hold a deactivation ceremony in September, marking the
end of their five years of service as a total force integration
squadron at the 15th Wing.