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Alaska Air Guard unveils new tail flash on Stratotanker

By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey | 168th Wing | Oct. 20, 2020

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – A KC-135 Stratotanker from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 168th Wing was unveiled Oct. 15, showcasing a new tail flash.

The 168th Wing continues to have strong ties to local communities in interior Alaska as the “hometown Air Force.” In collaboration with Tanana Chiefs Conference, the 168th Wing established a commitment to honor interior communities on the wing’s aircraft. The first KC-135 honors the village of Minto, one of nine Alaska interior communities that will be represented on 168th Wing Stratotankers.

A polar bear stands strong on the wing’s tail flash representing the Arctic region and spirit of Alaska. The geometric design of the polar bear highlights the wing’s culture of innovation.

According to the Tanana Chiefs Conference website, Minto residents are mainly Tanana Athabascans. Minto is in the western-most portion of traditional Tanana Athabascan territory, on the west bank of the Tolovana River, 130 miles northwest of Fairbanks.

The next aircraft to be unveiled will honor Gwichyaa Zhee, Grayling, Huslia, Tetlin, Telida, and Tanana. Fairbanks and the North Pole will be displayed on the final two aircraft.

“The support and partnership of our community are what allows us to succeed,” said Col. Richard Adams, 168th Wing commander. “The interior Alaska communities will be proudly displayed on the tail of our KC-135 as we refuel our nation’s military aircraft above the skies of Alaska and around the world. It is an honor to dedicate our first aircraft to the tribe of Minto.”