22nd ARW Fact Sheet


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22d Air Refueling Wing Fact Sheet

Published October 2021



The 22d Air Refueling Wing (ARW) is the host unit of McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The wing is part of 18th Air Force, a numbered Air Force within Air Mobility Command. The 22 ARW has been and continues to be involved in a number of operations providing air refueling, humanitarian airlift and aeromedical evacuation missions around the globe.

The wing's 17 squadrons (16 at McConnell AFB, one at Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire) combine for a force of approximately 3,500 active duty military members.


The base is Total Force, hosting 931st Air Refueling Wing Air Force Reserve and the 184th Wing Air National Guard units. The base's total force strength is around 6,924 personnel. The base also supports 7,948 retirees.

The wing’s primary mission includes the delivery of global air refueling capabilities, both conventional and unconventional, to U.S. armed forces, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and coalition allied aircraft using the KC-135 Stratotanker. The aircraft also doubles as an airlift and aeromedical evacuation carrier. The first KC-46A Pegasus was delivered to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas on Jan. 25, 2019. The aircraft has been in development since Feb. 24, 2011, and its initial flight occurred in Dec. 2014. The KC-46 represents the beginning of a new era in aerial refueling, and will provide a vital capability to the U.S. Air Force and joint partners.

The 22 ARW was established as the 22d Bombardment Wing (BMW), Medium, on 1 August 1948. It was later re-designated as the 22nd Bombardment Wing, Heavy. The wing began its tanker-exclusive history on 1 October 1982 as the 22 AREFW, Heavy.


As the 22 BMW, Medium, and later Heavy, and under the authority of Strategic Air Command (SAC), the unit flew a host of bomber and tanker support aircraft up to October 1982 including the KC-97 Stratofreighter (1952), B-47 Stratojet (1953), B-52D Stratofortress (1963) and KC-135A Stratotanker (1963).  The B-52D was replaced by the KC-10A Extender in 1982.  In January 1994, USAF reorganization efforts moved the 22 ARW to its current home station and flying the KC-135R/T/RT model Stratotankers.  


The approved emblem of the 22 ARW consist of an Ultramarine Blue shield bordered with Air Force Yellow (The USAF colors).  In the center lies a yellow cougar’s paw with extended red claws signifying armed power.  Beneath the shield is a scroll bearing the unit motto: DUCEMUS (pronounced DO-CAME-US), written in the Latin and translated as “We Shall Lead.”

During the 1990s, the wing deployed crews and aircraft to support no-fly missions over northern and southern Iraq and over Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1999, wing aircraft and crews deployed to the Mediterranean to refuel Allied aircraft over Serbia.

After the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. in September 2001, wing-supplied tanker crews and aircraft refueled combat aircraft on missions to the Afghanistan area.

Airmen assigned to the 22 ARW have also supported the Korean Conflict, Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Deliberate Force, Operation Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Odyssey Dawn, Operation Allies Refuge and a number of tanker task forces.

Team McConnell’s impact extend beyond the boundaries of mission and well into the economic health of the greater-Wichita area economy.

The total impact on the local economy of McConnell AFB and its tenants for FY18 was $617.2 million, within a 50-mile radius of the base.

(Current as of October 2021)