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Fully Mission Capable

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar
  • 185th ARW

TOPEKA, KS -- Operating out of the Topeka Regional Airport in Kansas, the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing continues the mission during the ongoing runway improvements at the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa.

Aircrew and maintenance personnel are currently commuting to Kansas, driving multiple trips to keep the KC-135 aircraft and its crew fully mission capable. On a recent trip to Topeka, Airmen were tasked with temporarily relocating the aircraft again to Des Moines, Iowa to avoid approaching severe weather. Pilots took advantage of the flights and used the time to accomplish important training requirements.

Col. Kevin Alons, who is a KC-135 Instructor pilot and the Director of Operations Joint Headquarters Iowa, said unit members were able to adapt to the new logistic and severe weather challenges.

“We had to reposition quickly, but that’s the nature of air power, the unit is doing a good job at execution, solving problems and accomplishing the mission,” said Alons.

Alons also mentioned that flexibility is a part of the 185th ARW and that the operation in Topeka was a good exercise, testing the unit’s readiness and mobility.

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VIDEO | 04:02 | Fueling Vipers

After the severe weather had cleared, the unit continued the mission. Returning to Kansas, the 185th then carried on with delivering fuel to F-16s of the Oklahoma Air National Gaud’s 138th Fighter Wing.

The Topeka Regional Airport is no stranger to the KC-135 as it houses the Kansas Air National Guard’s 190th Air Refueling Wing and their own KC-135 aircraft. According to Alons, one of the main benefits of the partnership with the Kansas Air National Guard was the 185th and the 190th could learn from one another.

Wes Broxterman, the 190th Operations Support Squadron Commander said that having the 185th in Topeka has been seamless.

“For us the best benefit is the unit to unit bonding and getting to know the 185th, said Broxterman, “Building the relationships has to be the best part about it.”

The 185th Operations Support Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Kelly Brouwer, said aircrew training was very important and that crews will continue to meet currency requirements with flying operations in Topeka.

“The 190th has been very gracious and helpful with what we need as well,” said Brouwer.

The runway improvement project at Sioux City is scheduled to be completed October 2022 and includes concrete joint repair, shoulders and new LED lighting.

Until the runway improvements have been completed, the 185th will continue to meet state and national mission needs, keeping the KC-135 aircraft and its crew fully mission capable.