157TH ARW Supports F-22 Fighter Jets on First Coronet East Flight
By Technical Sergeant Jim Dolph, 157 ARW PA
/ Published November 07, 2009
Pease ANGB -- While most members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing were waking up on the morning of November 7 and preparing for the day ahead, a 157 ARW tanker was just returning to Pease ANGB from refueling six F-22 Raptor aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean.
The mission officially began the evening before. The 157th aircrew began their work day at 11 p.m. by receiving a Coronet East mission briefing from Lt. Col. Randy Dyer, Pease Tanker Task Force Commander.
Coronet is the name given to a mission in which a tanker refuels and escorts fighter aircraft as they deploy between bases. The tanker provides air refueling support en-route, eliminating the need for the fighter to land at various locations to receive fuel. The origin and destination of the flight determines if it will be a Coronet East or West.
The objective of this mission was to provide refueling support to six F-22s that were deploying from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia en-route to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates to participate in an exercise. To accomplish the Coronet mission, four tankers, two Air National Guard KC-135s, one from Pease ANGB, New Hampshire, (157th ARW), one from Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio (121st ARW) and two Air Force Reserve KC-10 tankers from McGuire AFB, New Jersey (305th ARW) were launched to provide the air refueling support.
The Coronet East mission was divided into two phases, the first phase being refueling support for the F-22s to fly from their home base to Moran, Spain. The second phase has the aircrews scheduled to rest in Moron, Spain, and then for the fighters to deploy to their final destination receiving refueling support from the 121st and the 305th ARWs.
At 2:20 a.m. on November 7, the 157th tanker, the first of the tankers to launch in support of the mission, departed Pease ANGB en-route to air space off New Jersey to rendezvous with the F-22s. The KC-135 tanker from Ohio, which had deployed to Pease ANGB a few days earlier to prepare for the mission, departed shortly after 2:20 a.m. The KC-10s were launched from McGuire AFB around the same time. The fighter jets were refueled twice by the 157th, once off New Jersey and again a few hundred miles out to sea. After the second refueling operation, the 157th tanker headed for home and the refueling to Moron, Spain was continued by the other two ARWs.
The aerial refueling provided on this mission was provided totally by Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve forces, and marked the first time that F-22s have been deployed East Bound.