Pease receives fifth new jet

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy Hayden
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

On a blustery evening at Pease Air National Guard Base, Maj. Gen. Roger Williams, National Guard Bureau assistant to U.S. Transportation Command-, piloted a KC-46A Pegasus to a smooth landing and a warm reception from those on the ground.

The New Hampshire Air National Guard welcomed the newly minted refueling tanker, Feb. 7. The arrival of the plane bolstered the fleet’s count to five state-of-the-art KC-46A Pegasus aircraft for the 157th Air Refueling Wing. The wing expects its fleet to grow to a total of 12 by the end of 2020.   

As the week’s winter storms cleared, winds Friday gusted at over 25 mph.

“The weather on Friday night was challenging, but the crew performed with excellence,” said Col. Mark Ustaszewski, the 157th Operations Group commander.

The Pegasus breathes new life into the U.S. Air Force’s critical air refueling mission at Pease, a mission long-held by its predecessor, the KC-135 Stratotanker. In addition to air refueling, the new planes can also be used for troop and cargo transport, and air ambulance services.

The KC-46A is the first step in recapitalizing the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet comprised of approximately 450 KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft.

Aircrews from Pease have been routinely flying the new refueling platform. Often flying in two-ship rotations, they have been practicing refueling and familiarizing themselves with the airplane.    

Pease was the first Air National Guard unit in the country to receive the Pegasus.     

Maj. Gen. Laurie Farris, Commander NH Air National Guard, spoke about the arrival of the first Pegasus in August 2019.

“She’s home, and the Airman of this wing are going to take great care of her”.