The 100th air refueling wing – A critical air refueling bridge
The 100th Air Refueling Wing is part of the
United States Air Force and stationed at RAF
Mildenahll, England. It is the only U.S. air
refueling wing that is permanent in Europe. It provides the critical air refueling “bridge” that allows the US Air Force to Deploy anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.
The 100th ARW was originally called the 100th Bombardment Group. It originally was a B-17 Flying Fortress unit that was stationed at RAF Thorpe Abbotts in England. There were two Disguised Unit Citations given to this unit during and after World War II. This unit flew over 300 missions and suffered great losses during combat. Over 170 aircraft would be missing in action. On April 20, 1945, the unit flew its last mission.
The 100th ARW is comprised of 15 KC-135 aircraft. The unit has over 16,000 personnel, which are assigned to four bases. The 100th ARW was first stationed at Beale, AFB, California. There were no personnel or equipment when this unit first started. Eventually, the 17th Bombardment Wing’s KC-135 Stratotankers were absorbed by the 100th ARW. It assumed the responsibility for worldwide air refueling support from September 1976 until March 1983. It was then taken over by the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.
For the next seven years, the unit would remain inactive. In July 1990, the 100th ARW was reactivated, but with a new name – the 100th Air Division. Its new home would be Whiteman AFB, Missouri. It would only be a year, however, before the unit would be deactivated again. Finally, in 1992, the 100th ARW was reactivated in RAF Mildenhall. This is the long refueling wing for the Air Force in Europe.
The premier aircraft, the KC-135 Stratotanker is quite a unique aircraft. It was the Air Force’s first jet powered refueling tanker. It has been used extensively since the Vietnam War and it tremendously extends the range and endurance of almost all of the U.S. Military’s bombers and tactical fighters. It has been in service with the Air Force for over fifty years, making it only one of six aircraft to carry that distinction. Despite the increasing costs associated with maintenance, studies have shown that many of these aircraft can be safely flown until 2040. The KC-46 is the expected replacement.
The KC-135 has a multi-point refueling system, allowing it to refuel many different kinds of US aircraft, but also most of the NATO tactical jet aircraft, as well. It can also refuel two aircraft at the same time. It can hold up to 31,275 gallons of fuel and requires a crew of three. However, there is also room for up to 37 passengers.
If you or a loved one is part of the 100th ARW, then you might consider an Air Force ring. There are beautiful insignias and emblems for the 100th ARW available that you can have engraved on the sides. The inside of the band can also be personalized with an engraving. These Air Force rings are a terrific way to show your support for these men and women of the 100 AWR and they make a fantastic gift idea.
You may check more information on Air Force Rings here