Have you ever wanted to take a peek inside a KC-135 Stratotanker or a C-21 leer jet?
Media members received that opportunity Tuesday, as Scott Air Force Base hosted a Media Day event, which included an informative and unique look behind the curtain at various units on base.
Moreover, the base tour included visits to the 375th Air Mobility Wing Headquarters, the flight line and then Air Mobility Command Headquarters/618th Air Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center).
To start, after being greeted by Col. Laura Lenderman, 375th AMW Commander, and meeting other high-ranking military officials, media members viewed an in-depth video that included a detailed history of SAFB — which celebrates its centennial Jan. 6, 2017 — and positive impact locally. From there, it was on the flightline to visit the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
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This part of the tour included an in-depth look of a KC-135, which serves as an air refueling flight and also can be converted into a hospital to provide critical care for the wounded. The KC-135 — which is more than 60 years old — includes everything from life saving equipment to airway kits, while also carrying oxygen.
“Why is AE important? It’s important for many reasons,” said Lt. Col. Russel Frantz, new 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Commander. “We swoop in, pick patients up ... and move patients in and out rapidly. We move pediatrics to the elderly and everything in between.”
In this regard, Capt. Jessica Looft recalled a recent mission she flew and noted the satisfaction derived from it.
“We got to take people home ... that was a cool thing,” she said. “We move pre-term babies ... it’s just a cool job.”
There are so many awesome stories over the last 15 years in the advances in aeromedical evacuation technology on the aircraft. It’s a pretty awesome part of our mission.
Col. Laura Lenderman, 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander
Staff Sgt. E.L. Neysmith II added: “That’s the real part of the mission — getting people home.”
Of note, the survival rate of wounded warriors has increased from 76 percent to 91 percent, thanks largely to the AES’s efforts.
“There are so many awesome stories over the last 15 years in the advances in aeromedical evacuation technology on the aircraft,” Lenderman said. “It’s a pretty awesome part of our mission.”
Overall, the KC-135 can care for up to 25 patients, serves as a key training platform for Airmen and transports anyone from military personnel to retirees to military members on leave. It can fly a maximum of 50,000 feet and travel up to 535 miles per hour.
However, a KC-135 lacks one thing — air conditioning. In turn, when flying a mission over 120 degree heat in the desert, for instance, it’s 140 degrees in the cockpit.
Next came a briefing of the C-21, which primarily transports high ranking military members, among other critical functions. Scott is one of two active duty bases with C-21s.
“Most of what we do is carrying around four stars (generals) in the Air Force,” 1st Lt. Alex Beveridge said. “It’s so much fun to fly those guys.”
“It’s a pretty awesome responsibility,” Lenderman said of the pilots who fly these high-ranking military members. “They’re making decisions on their own and making very good decisions. I’m very proud of them.”
Overall, the C-21 has a crew of two pilots and can fly for approximately four hours at a time.
It is very vital to the DoD (Department of Defense) that this department exists. We help plan trips for the President. We’re going to be moving people. It happens here day in, day out. It’s very exciting. There’s never a dull moment.
Col. Charles B. McDaniel, 618th Air Operations Center Vice Commander
“The C-21 is a very capable aircraft,” Beveridge said. “It has a proven track record with safety and reliability. It’ll get you where you need to go.”
The final tour stop was AMC Headquarters to learn about the 618th Air Operations Center. Maj. Jen Pelletier provided a briefing that included AMC’s four core capabilities: Airlift, Air Refueling, Air Mobility Support and Aeromedical Evacuation.
In this regard, the 618th AOC has four core competencies: plan, task, execute and assess.
“It is very vital to the DoD (Department of Defense) that this department exists,” said Col. Charles B. McDaniel, 618th AOC vice commander. “We help plan trips for the president. We’re going to be moving people. It happens here day in, day out. It’s very exciting. There’s never a dull moment.”
Garen Vartanian: 618-239-2660