Travis, JB MDL KC-10s support POTUS movements in Panama

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Sarah Johnson
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Mobility Airmen from Travis Air Force Base, California, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, provided tanker support Nov. 15-22 from Tocumen International Airport in Panama for President Barack Obama’s visit to Peru to attend the 2016 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leader’s Summit.

KC-10 Extender aircrews, maintainers and support personnel, to include security personnel, provided refueling support for multiple E-3G Sentry aircraft staged near Peru for the summit.

During the planning and set up process, the Mobility Airmen worked with local authorities to create contingency plans.

“Our relationship [with JB MDL] when we were in Panama was seamless,” said Master Sgt. Frank Monsegue, 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief. “You would have thought we were all from the same place.”

Together, the team completed air refueling missions that delivered 1 million pounds of fuel to E-3G Sentry crews. Air refueling is an essential part of mission effectiveness because it allows the E-3Gs to stay in the air for longer periods of time, reducing the risk of damage to the aircraft caused by landing.

Despite working long hours throughout the week in unfamiliar surroundings, the Mobility Airmen had to execute the mission as efficiently as if they were at their home stations, Monseque said.

The maintenance crew set up shop in the cargo section of the airport and worked to coordinate logistics with local authorities regarding the delivery of fuel.

“No matter what happened, whether the flying schedule changed or a jet was broken or needed maintenance or needed more gas, we made sure we got it done,” said Monsegue.

Even with several changes to the flying schedule, adverse weather and a shortage of fuel, all KC-10s were able to take off as scheduled.

“What defines success for us is how a collective team can work together and make something like this happen,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Vega, 660th AMXS and the officer in charge of maintenance in during the mission. “We were there to project American power. Everybody sacrificed as much as they could to make this work. Their hard work and expertise made the mission happen.”