Reservists Ensure Future of Air Force Mobility Pilots

Reservists from the 18th Air Refueling Squadron here are contributing to the future of Air Force mobility.

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“The 931st has really helped us out with the business efforts,” Martino said. “It’s more difficult to schedule tanker support because you have to schedule against two planes and two aircrews to meet up for the refueling."

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan (PRWEB) April 03, 2013

Reservists from the 18th Air Refueling Squadron here are contributing to the future of Air Force mobility.

Since November, the 18th ARS, the 931st Air Refueling Group’s only flying squadron, has provided aerial refueling support for student pilots during seven of the last 10 of business efforts for the C-5 Formal Training Unit at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

During business efforts, the 931st sends an aircrew and a KC-135 Stratotanker to Texas for several days to provide support for C-5 Galaxy student pilots who must complete aerial refueling sorties to graduate.

According to Lt. Col. John Martino, 733rd Student Training Squadron Commander, the 931st ARG stepped up to the plate in a major way by filling their requests for tanker support.

“The 931st has really helped us out with the business efforts,” Martino said. “It’s more difficult to schedule tanker support because you have to schedule against two planes and two aircrews to meet up for the refueling. If the receiver aircraft is delayed or cancelled, you may not be able to notify the tanker crew until they are already in the air and that’s a wasted opportunity.”

Business efforts provide a means of dealing with hiccups that sometimes occur. “Business efforts are huge if a C-5 is having trouble,” said Martino. “You can notify the tanker crew and let them know what is going on and do what is called a ‘sympathetic delay’.”

According to Lt. Col. Suzanne Jones, Chief of Current Operations, 931st Operations Support Squadron, business efforts prevent wasted money.

“It’s less expensive to send a crew down to San Antonio for a week than to have a crew in the air waiting for a receiver that can’t show up,” said Jones. “The minute you fly an aircraft that wasn’t needed, you’ve wasted money.”

As the “schoolhouse” for Galaxy pilots, the FTU is responsible for preparing the next generation of Reserve, active-duty and Air National Guard C-5 Galaxy aircrew members.

The FTU is comprised of two squadrons, the 733rd STS and the 356th Airlift Squadron. The Air Force Reserve Command organization is a subsidiary of the 433rd Airlift Wing and trains and produces 500 aircrew members in nine different curricula for pilots, loadmasters and engineers.

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For more information on the 931st Air Refueling Group, visit http://www.931arg.afrc.af.mil/