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Combat Art Articles

The Backbone of America's Global Reach

  • Published

Maintenance painting

lithograph      in the press

2nd Lt. Kat Justen
Medium: Oil on panel
Date: 2018

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the KC‐135 Stratotanker in concert with active duty and Air National Guard Airmen provide a core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years.  Airmen maintain and operate this unique platform to enhance the Air Force's capability to accomplish the global reach mission. It provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft. The KC‐135 also provides litter and ambulatory patient transport using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations. Pilots assume responsibility of the aircraft by taking the aircrew to where fuel is needed while boom operators offload fuel to aircraft such as fighter jets so they can remain airborne longer to accomplish their mission.

Today, the AF Reserve operates the KC‐135 refueling mission from eight bases including the 434 Air Refueling Wing, Grissom ARB, IN; 452 Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, CA; 459 ARW, Joint Base Andrews, MD; 507 ARW, Tinker AFB, OK; 914 ARW, Niagara Air Reserve Station, NY; 916 ARW, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC; 927 ARW, MacDill AFB, FL, 931 ARW, McConnell AFB, KS and MacDill AFB, FL; 940 ARW, Beale AFB, FL.

In this nocturne painting, 2nd Lt. Kat Justen, 459 ARW officer in charge of public affairs, and artist for Air Force Reserve Office of History and Heritage, highlights Reserve Citizen Airmen maintainers from the 459 ARW performing routine engine maintenance on a KC‐135 at Joint Base Andrews, MD.