By Lt. j. g. Kaitlyn Morales, Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 Public Affairs Officer
Thirty-eight service members, assigned to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, arrived at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, to participate in aerial refueling training flights with the Air Force 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Jan. 21-31, 2019.
“The training opportunities garnered on this detachment have allowed the squadron to turn an eye to the next generation of aerial refueling pilots and provide them with training as they prepare to be next deployment’s aircraft commanders,” said Cmdr. Eric Andrews, executive officer of VP-26. “VP-26 continues to impress by bringing this capability to U.S. 6th Fleet.”
VP-26 completed the first operational aerial refueling mission for the P-8A Poseidon in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility with the 100th ARW Oct. 12, 2018.
“This detachment was an amazing opportunity for VP-26 and the 100th ARW to continue to develop our great relationship,” said Andrews. “We were able to facilitate multiple professional developmental exchanges allowing both communities to have a better understanding of each other.”
The week culminated in a tour of a KC-135 Stratotanker. The tour was led by 100th ARW boom operators Air Force Tech Sgt. Steven Mertens and Air Force Staff Sgt. Casey McConnell.
“To see the tanker on the ground, the equipment the boom operators have available, and the opportunity to ask questions was invaluable for our pilots,” said Lt. Cmdr. Derrick Bruce, an instructor pilot and officer in charge of the VP-26 detachment.
The Tridents will continue aerial refueling operations with the 100th ARW throughout the rest of their U.S. 6th Fleet deployment.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.