TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Ninety-four Citizen Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing here departed for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to support Operation Inherent Resolve with KC-135R Stratotanker air refueling support.
The group of Reserve Airmen, made up of a mix of operations and maintenance group professionals, is one of the largest groups to leave from Tinker this year to support ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“The nation’s business is why we are all here,” said Col. Travis Caughlin, 507th Maintenance Group Commander. “We’ve spent a long time training and preparing and it’s very worthwhile when you get to go execute what’s really going on. It doesn’t get any more real than this.”
The group is scheduled to be deployed two months, which is shorter than previous deployments in Air Force Reserve Command. This realignment is partially designed to improve operations by keeping maintenance and operations teams together during home station training and while deployed.
While the deployment may be shorter, the 507th ARW will be deploying again in the summer of 2017. With operations in Southwest Asia continuing, support from the Air Reserve Component is vital, according to wing leadership.
“I’m convinced tankers are the key to global reach,” Caughlin said. “If we don’t get there, then fighters, bombers, and airlifters won’t get there without the tanker. We’ve got to get that gas to the warfighter.”