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NEWS | June 22, 2023

The End of an Era

By Senior Airman Sergio Avalos Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings bid farewell to KC-10 tail number 84-0188 on June 21 and 22, 2023, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

The farewell ceremonies commemorated the 33-year legacy of the KC-10 and marked the ending of the KC-10 fleet for the joint base.

“It’s been the best 10 years of my life,” said Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Irby, 305th AMW boom operator. “Being able to fly on the KC-10, give out gas, cargo and getting people wherever they need to go has been an incredible experience.”

Altogether, KC-10 tail number 84-0188 flew 33,475.5 flight hours supporting missions in six different continents and refueled more than 125,000 aircraft from 25 different countries. It was flown by 11,000 aircrew members, while another 12,000 maintainers worked to keep it airborne.

“While we are sadden to see the KC-10 depart JB MDL for the last time, it’s the Airmen among us who made this aircraft great, and it’s your stories of perseverance, courage, excellence, and camaraderie that will continue to shine upon the legacy of the KC-10,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Elizabeth Hanson, 305th AMW commander, during her ceremonial remarks.

The retirement of the final KC-10 Extender represents a transition towards a more modern and advanced Total Force tanker enterprise within the United States Air Force. Select portions of the legacy tanker fleet were gradually divested, which allowed for the recapitalization of the aging tanker fleet, while also maintaining its aerial refueling capability and capacity for the warfighter.

“It’s a bitter-sweet moment for me and everyone who’s been a part of this aircraft watching this aircraft take off.” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Josh Gorring, 305th AMW pilot. “We’re ushering in the new era of tankers and I'm excited to see what that opportunity brings.”

Following the ceremony, the aircraft was flown to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where it will continue to support the remaining Extenders with spare parts as they are flown for several years while the KC-46A is integrated into Air Mobility Command’s Total Force tanker enterprise.