The new commander of the reserve wing at Beale Air Force Base says the base is seeing the return of an old mission. Colonel John Trnka says the base is getting back the K-C 135 re-fueling aircraft…
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission announced in 2005 that the KC-135s would move to a base in North Carolina, and the last re-fueling tanker left Beale in 2008. Trnka says the return of the mission means more jobs in the area for reserves…
Trnka says the first airplane back on the ramp at Beale will be late this year or early next year.
I was an asst crew chief back in late 60's when the tankers were leaving as A models and returning as Q models, base was ramping up for SR71 OPS then, some of my life's best and most memorable years there from 66 to late 69, did tdy's to Kadena, 21 tankers were there then and to this day I still remember all their tail numbers, saw several of them now relocated to 171st ARW in Pittsburgh in October 2013, got a tour with an old flightline buddy that day and they had 80117 opened up for us, Bobby and I flew to Kadena on 117 back in our day, was wonderful seeing her again, still beautiful after 45 years in her new paint job and new engines, lots of good memories, awesome experience to lay in the boompod and watch a Blackbird pull up under us to refill her tanks, not a large number of folks actually got to see that firsthand cause of course she was top secret in those days. I live in VA now and one of the SR71's is on display near Dulles Airport about 45 minutes from home, still get a thrill each time I go there and see her, remembering the sound of those massive engines on take off and trying to count the shock diamonds shooting out the rear, and the way the ground shook on takeoff. She was an awesome bird that was gone too soon.
I was a navigator on Q models in the 1980's. Great mission, and I worked with some great people.