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Airmen provide refueling support from Bulgaria
Airmen from the 927th Air Refueling Squadron prepare KC-135 Stratotaker’s for flight at Burgas Airport, Bulgaria, on May 15, 2011. Four KC-135s and approximately 80 people are scheduled to operate from the airport through the end of May. The aircraft are temporarily deployed here from another base in the region that is currently closed for routine runway repairs. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Laura K. Deckman)
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Airmen provide refueling support from Bulgaria

Posted 5/23/2011   Updated 5/24/2011 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Laura K. Deckman
621st Contingency Response Wing

5/23/2011 - BURGAS AIRPORT, Bulgaria  --  With the closure of another base's runway in the region for routine maintenance, members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and the 927th Air Refueling Squadron from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., are working together to ensure critical air refueling support to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan.

Current plans call for the Airmen and KC-135 Stratotankers to operate from the airport through the end of May.

"Our mission here is to refuel cargo aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy going into, or coming out of, the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility," said Lt. Col. Andrew H. Stephan, 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander.

The contingency response team from the 621st CRW arrived here May 9 and prepared the airfield for the arrival of personnel and aircraft.

"When our team first arrived, we set up our communications and material handling equipment to get follow-on aircraft landed and cargo off-loaded," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert D. Johnson, 621st Contingency Response Team chief. "After our arrival and initial set up, our primary mission turned to providing the aircrews with en-route aircraft mission support and round-the-clock command and control capability."

Within three days of arrival the 927th ARS was fully operational, flying daily air refueling missions supporting operations in Afghanistan.

"The missions we fly out of Burgas Airport are critical to maintaining ISAF and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) operations," said Colonel Stephan. "The mission in Afghanistan depends on the air refueling capability provided by these aircraft."

Since their arrival, the team here has worked hand-in-hand with host nation officials and airport staff to ensure mission success.

"Through the hard work of our personnel and the tremendous support provided by the Burgas Airport supporting agencies, we have been able to complete 100 percent of our tasked missions," said Colonel Stephan. "Our visit to Bulgaria has been a wonderful experience."

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