New Jersey National Guard 108th Wing Bid Farewell to the KC-135R

KC-135 Salute


KC-135 Salute
KC-135R, 60-0366 making the preliminary flip from the ramp to obtain the salute and wave from the road of members and friends of the 108th Wing. (All pictures, credit score: Creator/TheAviationist)

JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst’s KC-135R Closing Salute.

We knew at the present time would lastly come however that didn’t make it any simpler to fathom the importance and historical past of the occasion going down this vivid, sunny morning in late September at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. On Sept. 20, 2023, the New Jersey Nationwide Guard’s 108th Wing, 141st Air Refueling Squadron stated farewell to a real workhorse within the jet age.

KC-135R, serial quantity 60-0366, McGuire’s final Boeing Stratotanker, departed the fields runway for the ultimate time in entrance of an extended line of retired and lively wing personnel, their friends and members of the family, to render a remaining salute and wave, for a job performed with excellence.

The distinctive tiger tail markings and “New Jersey” fin flash had been sure for Maine to renew duties with a hundred and first Air Refueling Wing in Bangor. Sadly, the markings will probably be eliminated and it’ll put on a hundred and first ARW paint shortly.

Airframe 60-0366 began its flying service as a KC-135A. It was delivered to the Air Power on August 3, 1961 and was reengined on Might 8, 1989. It was the primary KC-135R to reach on the 108th Wing in October of 2007, and it was the final to depart. For its departure the plane was given the callsign Hobey 11 in honor of Captain Hobey Baker.

Shut-up picture of 60-0366. Word: the massive orange striped Princeton College ‘P’ on the nostril of the plane.

Hobey was a outstanding Princeton College collegiate athlete in each soccer and ice hockey, class of 1914. Shortly after his commencement he joined the civilian aviation corps. In 1917 he left the USA for Europe to take part in World Warfare I. Captain Hobey commanded the 141st Aero Squadron in France, capturing down its first enemy plane. Shortly after the struggle Captain Hobey Baker tragically died in a flying accident of his SPAD XIII. In his honor the Princeton College Tiger was adopted and integrated because the 141st’s squadron insignia on their SPAD XIII plane.

These exact same Princeton Tiger markings had been prominently displayed on KC-135s of the 141st ARS, whereas they served at Joint Base McGuire.

Because of the ultimate KC-135R withdrawal from the 108th Wing at Joint Base McGuire there will probably be restructuring of the squadrons and airframe property reporting into the 108th Wing. Firstly, is the truth that with this departure of the KC-135, together with the retirement of the final KC-10 Extender again in June of this 12 months, it now leaves McGuire working a single kind airframe Air Power Tanker, the brand new Boeing KC-46A Pegasus.

Presently JB McGuire has eighteen KC-46 tankers on base. The 141st Air Refueling Squadron which studies into the 108th Wing is not going to personal the KC-46 plane. The plane are owned by the 305th Air Mobility Wing at JB McGuire. As an alternative, the 141st ARS will function as a traditional affiliate unit. As well as, the 108th Wing will rise up a brand new refueling squadron, that being the a hundred and seventieth Air Refueling Squadron. The a hundred and seventieth ARS was created with reference and recognition to the previous a hundred and seventieth Air Refueling Group which was transferred to McGuire Air Power Base in July 1965 and was consolidated in 1993 into the 108th Air Refueling Wing.

Take-off of Hobey 11 from Runway 36, McGuire AFB.

The excellent news with all the reshuffling of airframes and squadrons is that crucial asset, the folks, look to be accounted for. Some 90% of the KC-135 pilots are transitioning to the KC-46. The primary crew coaching for the KC-46 started in March of this 12 months and the coaching continues thus far. As well as, the 514th Air Mobility Wing (Reserve) is offering aircrew to allow the stand-up of the brand new a hundred and seventieth Air Refueling Squadron. In dialog with aircrew on the “Closing Salute” ceremony, the general consensus is that they actually just like the KC-46 and that it brings many new capabilities that the 135 didn’t have.

The KC-135’s from the 108th Wing at McGuire have served for 32 years. Throughout that point their file of accomplishments whereas conducting navy operations is extraordinary. The listing of missions consists of Desert Defend/Desert Storm within the Gulf Warfare, Operation Allied Power in Kosovo, greater than 2300 hours supporting Operation Noble Eagle, securing the US homeland after the assaults on Sept. eleventh, and greater than 4600 hours in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, (preventing terrorism throughout the globe). As well as, the KC-135 has offered humanitarian airlift help for folks in want throughout disasters akin to Hurricane Katrina.

Since 2014 the 108th Wing together with their Boeing KC-135’s have flown 7171 sorties, achieved greater than 30,500 flying hours and have off-loaded 38 billion kilos of gasoline. The “Closing Salute” ceremony carried out in late September at Joint Base McGuire sincerely was celebrating the start and ending of a legacy.

Farewell Hobey 11!

Gear up remaining cross over area of 60-0366, destined for Bangor, Maine Worldwide Airport.

Howard German is a contract aviation researcher and photographer based mostly in the USA. His predominant areas of specialty are protection, intelligence, weapons programs and surveillance. He has been writing, archiving and photographing the historical past and operations of aerospace for over thirty-five years.


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