Putting at 35,000 feet!

  • Published
  • By Capt. John P. Capra
  • 128th Air Refueling Wing
Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, Professional Golfers' Association of America golfers, joined the 128th Air Refueling Wing on an orientation flight in Milwaukee today.

The PGA golfers flew with Airmen of the 128th Air Refueling Wing as part of a program that allows civic leaders to observe the mission and better understand the role of the Air National Guard.

"This is one of those experiences where we get to see, you know, the true heroes". said Kelly

The golfers' experiences on base began with a unit mission briefing by the Wing's public affairs officer, Capt. John Capra; he explained the role of the Wisconsin National Guard and the Guard's dual mission that serves both the state and the nation.

"The most important part of our organization is the six-hundred and forty plus Guardsmen--Airmen who work a full-time job in our community, and then spend at least one weekend a month training with the Air National Guard," said Capra.

The two-and-a-half-hour sortie departed Mitchell Field early Wednesday morning and flew to a Military Operating Area in Northwestern Iowa where the KC-135R Stratotanker hooked up with two F-16C Falcons and engaged in aerial refueling.

"We'll offload about two-thousand pounds of fuel in just a few minutes," said Air Force Master Sgt. Peter Gauerke, a KC-135R boom operator.

The flight provided valuable training that is necessary to safely carry out aerial refueling missions to crewmembers from both the Stratotanker and the Falcons.

"It's a force multiplier," said Gauerke. "It allows the fighters to double, even triple, the amount of time they can stay in the air and train, making for a very valuable training experience."

After landing, Kelly and Stricker spent time with the Airmen, who discussed their careers and deployments, before the professional golfers thanked the Airmen of the 128th Air Refueling Wing for the sacrifices they make while serving our country.

Airmen anxious to meet the professional golfers were equipped with cameras to capture the golfers' special visit with the Wing.

"It was great to meet the Airmen today," said Stricker. "We thank everybody here and across the country for what they do for us, like I say, to live freely on a daily basis. And it doesn't come free, and we know that."

The 128th Air Refueling Wing is a 913-member Air National Guard base located at Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee.