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New Jersey Air Guard Flies KC-46 Pegasus Sortie

  • Published
  • By Mark Olsen,
  • New Jersey National Guard

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - The 108th Wing’s 141st Air Refueling Squadron officially flew its first KC-46 Pegasus local sortie Oct. 3.

The mission included 16 pilots, boom operators and crew chiefs with the 141st Air Refueling Squadron and a 514th Air Mobility Wing boom operator. 

The sortie marks the continuing evolution of the New Jersey Air National Guard.

“The 108th Wing and the 305th Air Mobility Wing are great partners and the right choice for a KC-46 association,” said Col. Joseph W. Leonard, deputy commander, 108th Wing.

“This association provides the right capabilities, at the right time, anywhere in the world the Air Force needs,” he said.

The KC-46A is the first phase in recapitalizing the U.S. Air Force’s aging tanker fleet. With improved refueling, cargo, and aeromedical evacuation capabilities compared to the KC-135, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and partner nations. 

Air refueling increases the speed, range, lethality, flexibility and versatility of combat aircraft.

During the mission, the two aircraft refueled F-16 Fighting Falcons and then took turns refueling each other.

“It’s a two-ship formation with the call signs Hobey 41 and 42,” said Capt. Brandon M. Johnson, a 141st pilot.

The call sign is a nod to Hobart Amory Hare “Hobey” Baker, a world-renowned Princeton University athlete who served as the commander of the 141st Aero Squadron during World War I. 

The 141st, one of the Air Force’s oldest units, is part of the 141st Air Refueling Squadron’s lineage. After Baker’s death, the Princeton Tiger was incorporated into the 141st’s squadron insignia. 

“The Air National Guard, and more specifically the 108th Wing, is a force multiplier because we provide years of experience and confidence to our partners … whether training next to the active duty at home station or side-by-side in battle against an adversary,” said Leonard. “Together, the 108th and 305th will continue to excel through our richness and diversification of culture, experience differences, and determination to provide our piece to national security.”