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NEWS | May 24, 2022

Nebraska Air National Guard Provides Aerial Refueling Along Eastern Flank

By Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Nielsen, 155th Air Refueling Wing, Nebraska Air National Guard

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic – The Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing deployed a KC-135 Stratotanker to Pardubice Air Base in Czechia to support real-world missions this month.

The KC-135 Stratotanker supplies critical aerial refueling capabilities to U.S. and NATO coalition forces operating as part of NATO’s enhanced air policing mission. The mission operates more than 100 coalition aircraft along the Eastern flank, and the extended fighter rotations all require timely refueling.

“After operating KC-135s from Pardubice Air Base for the past 10 years, it was extremely gratifying to fly several missions from Czech Republic in support of NATO’s enhanced air policing mission,” said Col. John Williams, 155th Air Refueling Wing commander. “The value of a nearly 30-year partnership between Nebraska and the Czech Armed forces allowed the 155th Air Refueling Wing to take an active role in USAFE’s (U.S. Air Force in Europe’s) assurance, deterrence and defense mission.”

The Nebraska Guard and Czech Armed Forces are partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.

Aerial refueling platforms amplify the coalition force’s reach and ability to project power, integrate allied and partner capabilities, enhance interoperability, and ensure security and stability in the region.

These missions enhance the readiness necessary to respond to potential challenges in the region, said Capt. Chris Castle, 173rd Air Refueling Squadron aircraft commander.

The forward deployment, done with the full cooperation of Czechia, demonstrates the U.S. Air Force’s commitment to the collective defense of the NATO alliance and willingness to deploy and use U.S. assets to deter potential aggression and increase regional security.