Spouses take flight

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein
  • 931st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Fifty McConnell Reserve spouses got an inside look at a day in the life of a “‘tanker” aircrew during a series of Spouse Flights here, Aug. 4-6.

The event, included four separate flights during the August Unit Training Assembly. The aerial refueling included other KC-135 Stratotankers and F-16 Fighting Falcons from Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

One by one, the spouses climbed into the boom pod and watched as the operators carefully refueled other aircraft. Spouses were also allowed to sit in the jump seat of the cockpit in the aircraft.

This was a first-time experience for many of the spouses, and they shared their excitement about the flight with the aircrews afterward. Jesse Thomas, spouse of Tech. Sgt. Tamara Thomas, 931st Air Refueling Wing military pay technician, was part of the flight that featured the aerial refueling of another KC-135

“The coolest part was seeing [the KC-135] break away from the other aircraft after refueling,” he said. “It was really interesting just to see how precise they are.”

Cassandra Wheaton, spouse of Staff Sgt. Ian Wheaton, 931st Maintenance Squadron maintainer, also enjoyed the view from the boom pod, and the chance to get to see the aircraft her spouse works on.

“I really enjoyed seeing the air refueling and all the controls,” she said. “My husband was in the Navy for eight years and I never got to see the inside of a boat, so actually being here and seeing what he does, it was really awesome.”

This was the first spouse flight in more than five years for the 931 ARW, and more are planned for the future, as the event allows the spouses to witness firsthand the role their Airmen play in the global Air Force, said Col. Caroline Evernham, 931st Operations Group commander.

“Our spouses are a vital part of our team and we want them to know what our mission is,” she said. “Not every member works directly on the flightline, but ultimately every person in our wing is part of that process, and every spouse supports that effort by taking care of the home front when the military member is gone.”