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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2022

2nd ARS and 605th AMXS officially employ KC-46 for combat commander taskings

By Senior Airman Joseph Morales Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The 2nd Air Refueling Squadron officially began employing the KC-46A Pegasus for combat commander taskings at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Dec. 1, 2022.

Converting from a KC-10 extender squadron to the KC-46 was an 18-month project for the 2nd ARS. The 2nd ARS and 605th Air Maintenance Squadron provided two crews and three KC-46s to support the initial taskings.

“These numbers will gradually increase over the coming months as more KC-46s arrive at Joint Base MDL, and as more aircrew and maintainers complete training on the KC-46,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jordan Norman, 305th Operations Group commander. “As the first KC-10 unit to convert [to the KC-46], the DUCE and 305th Air Mobility Wing are setting the standard for the enterprise with respect to employment of the KC-46.”

As one of the oldest flying squadrons in the Air Force dating back to Dec. 1, 1915, the 2nd ARS pioneered aerial refueling operations using the ‘probe and drogue’ method still in use to this day. The KC-46 continues this lineage of air refueling and aviation innovation.

“The DUCE will continue to test and solidify KC-46 capabilities in its traditional air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and cargo capabilities, [and] also provide new capabilities to the Joint Force through advanced communications and tactical relevance not previously offered by tanker assets,” Norman said. ”The DUCE will continue to build proficiency in their craft, innovate, and produce best practice recommendations to improve the operational employment of the KC-46 across the USAF.”

Crews assigned to the 2nd ARS are improving aviation and mission system proficiency through programs like the Mission Systems Employment training course, designed to advance understanding and expertise of specialized systems on the KC-46. In addition, the 605th AMXS supports the employment of the KC-46 through continuous training to ensure the platform’s effectiveness.

“Training is always evolving.  There is always more to learn and better ways to do it,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Vogeler, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “We have some amazing talent in the 605th, but even our best technician is always seeking to learn more about this incredible weapons system.  We must continue to hone our skills because every day we rest on our laurels is a day the enemy moves closer to an advantage.”

With the new capabilities added to the fleet at Joint Base MDL, the operations tempo is expected to increase, and with it, the capabilities of the airmen involved.

“We’re ready,” Vogeler said. “There is a tangible energy in the air as I walk through the Squadron.  We’re excited to put this platform into combat.  We want to test the limits, stretch our capability, and showcase our greatest strength – our airmen.”