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MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Senior Airman Rob Poe, 349th Air Refueling Squadron, trains Senior Airman Jeremiah Ibarra, 349th Air Refueling Squadron, on the in-flight refueling system on Nov. 26. In-flight refueling system operators make a difference by safely and completely checking the aircraft before any mission. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Roy Lynch III)
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Flying Bandits Strike Again

Posted 12/6/2007   Updated 12/6/2007 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

12/6/2007 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The 349th Air Refueling Squadron received its nickname as the "Beale Bandits" while attached to Beale Air Force Base, Calif. It was activated at McConnell on January 1, 1994, as part of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, and the squadron decided to keep the nickname "Bandits."

The 349th Air Refueling Squadron contributed to the wing's 2007 fiscal year flying mission. The squadron aided the wing with the flight of more than 24,000 refueling hours with a total off-load of 120 million pounds of fuel.

"I am excited to know that I directly impact the safety of the 349th ARS aircrew," said Airman 1st Class Christina Smith, 22nd Operations Support Squadron, Aircrew Flight Equipment technician.

"Entering the Air Force, I never realized how important my job would be until I got here, my first duty station, and I put a face to the piece of equipment I maintain," added Airman Smith. "It was at that point my job became personal to me. I take pride in my work and what I do for the 349th ARS."

The 349th ARS is a part of the 22nd Operations Group, which supervises operations in support of strategic force projection and mobility, special operations, tactical air operations, and humanitarian assistance efforts. The 349th ARS flies KC-135R Stratotankers in support of worldwide Air Mobility Command, U.S. Transportation Command, Air Force, Department of Defense, and allied operations anywhere in the world.

"It is an honor to be associated with the KC-135R Stratotankers and its history, spanning more than 50 years," said Capt. Michael Lashinski, a 349th ARS pilot. "The KC-135R Stratotankers are a Cold War icon and have transformed into so much more."

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