Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see first hand the aerial refueling capabilities of the mighty KC-135R Stratotanker with an aircrew from the 912th Air Refueling Squadron attached to the 452nd Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base. Before we took off to refuel the 8 F-16s from Luke AFB, I took a moment to try and capture the amazing view from the cargo door of our KC-135R.
On the ramp at March ARB, you can see 8 KC-135’s that are used to provide aerial refueling anytime, anyplace…in combat and for training. I’ve been playing around with panoramic photography for only a short period of time, but stitched together this image composed of 24 individual images.
Click on the image below to see a larger picture.
What do you guys think for a first effort? Does it do the scene justice?
I am very happy to share with all of you my latest accomplishment, a 9 page photo essay in this months Air Force Magazine. It highlights a week long photo shoot at Beale AFB capturing images of the magnificent U-2 Dragon Lady and the men and women who keep her flying. Please click on the image below to view the photo essay:
Air Force Association Photo Essay
I wanted to give a very special thanks to Zaur Eylanbekov, Brig. Gen. Paul McGillicuddy, Brig. Gen. Robert Otto, LtCol Jon “Huggy” Huggins, Maj John “Cabi” Cabigas, Capt Natasha Waggoner, Lt Richard Ricciardi, Lt Nicole White, SMSgt Ellen Hatfield, LtCol Tim Decker and Walter Colby for all of their help during this two year process. Without you guys, this project would have never succeeded.
A little over a week ago approximately 65 Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing boarded 3 C-17‘s from the 446th Airlift Wing and began a 4 month journey to provide combat search and rescue support for Operation Enduring Freedom. The McChord based C-17’s were fully loaded with pilots, aircrew, maintainers, support personnel, three 129th RQS HH-60G‘s, and all of their support equipment. While this deployment is part of regular Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) cycle, it is still hard on the families to see their loved ones leave. The last AEF deployment occurred in 2007. Their sacrifices are deeply appreciated.
Continue reading “129th RQW – 2009 Afghanistan Deployment – Sun, Sand, and OEF”
Yesterday approximately 30 Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing based at Moffett Field, CA boarded two MC-130Ps and left behind their friends, family and coworkers and headed off to Djibouti, Africa. While heartbreaking for their families, these brave Guardsmen deployed to provide combat search and rescue support for Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. To these and all Armed Forces personnel everywhere, thank you for everything you do. And to their family and friends, and even bigger thank you for your sacrifices.
Continue reading “129th RQW – 2009 Afghanistan Deployment – Djibouti? Is that near Albuquerque?”
With the scream of jets and the skies over Vegas filled with aircraft, it can only mean one thing! It’s Red Flag time again!
Continue reading “Red Flag 09-2”
At 1440 PST VDA4571 checked in with Moffett Tower and was cleared to land on Runway 32R. 10 years ago, this would have never happened and if it did, it surely would have been the end of our way of life here in the Bay Area.
Continue reading “From Russia, With Love!”
As with many missions where lives are at stake, teams often work in pairs. Last week I was allowed a rare opportunity to fly aboard one of the 129th Rescue Squadrons’ HH-60G Pave Hawks and witness some of the skills and maneuvers that they constantly practice when they are called upon to save lives.
Continue reading “That Others May Live – Part 2”
“JOLLY92, cleared for take off.” With those words, the aircrew of a lone helicopter sets off on another ‘routine’ mission where lives could be hanging in the balance. Mission planning, equipment, and training all become second nature and a tool to accomplish the mission: Saving Lives.
Continue reading “That Others May Live – Part 1”
You’re a 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 coming home from an overseas tactical mission, bringing back essential supplies and wounded victims from Afghanistan. Your callsign is COVERT 33. It’s pitch black outside, and you are running low on fuel, AND thousands of miles from the nearest land. There is only one option: Aerial Refueling. Off in the distance ahead of you, you see an angel in the darkness…the beautiful red and green formation lights of XTNDER 14, a 6th Air Refueling Squadron KC-10 from Travis AFB. A flying gas station just when you need fuel and your only link between flying or crashing into the dark ocean.
Continue reading “N.K.A.W.T.G. – The Gucci Boys of Travis – Part 2”
N.K.A.W.T.G. – Nobody Kicks Ass Without Tanker Gas! The elixir of life, and the stuff thirsty planes need to fight and fly. And just an hour drive away is one of the finest US Air Force refueling squadrons, the 6th Air Refueling Squadron from the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, CA.
Continue reading “N.K.A.W.T.G. – The Gucci Boys of Travis – Part 1”
VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” was in town after their flyover for the SF 49ers game on Sunday. After the two ship of F/A-18F Super Hornets buzzed the football fans at Candlestick, EXPRT 99, flight of two, landed at Moffett. They brought their CAG (Commander of the Air Group) Bird, NJ 100 for the festivities and it was my pleasure to photograph the beautiful birds in the early morning light.
Continue reading “Just Another Monday…”
When I heard that the C-32, a specially modified Boeing 757-200, was at Moffett recently, I ran down to capture a couple of images of this rare bird. With only 4 in existence, these C-32’s operated by the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Md, fly the vice president, using the distinctive call sign “Air Force Two,” the first lady, and members of the Cabinet and Congress. What a beautiful airplane!
Continue reading “SAM at Moffett!”
In honor of the Beach Volleyball success of my girl Kerri Walsh, I thought I’d repost this from last August! Way to go Kerri!!!
What more could you ask for? The thirteenth stop of the AVP Professional Volleyball tour brought some of the worlds finest players to Manhattan Beach, CA. A few friends invited me to come along with them and watch the matches on Saturday. Having been an avid player years ago, I jumped at the offer. And, well, it’s the beach. How could I resist? 🙂
Continue reading “AVP Manhattan Beach Open…Beach, Bikinis, and Balls”
My week at Mountain Home AFB concluded with a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly in the back seat of an F-15E Strike Eagle. With the cooperation of the Indian Air Force and United States Air Force at the highest levels, I was authorized to capture some air to air images of the two countries flying together for the first time in the United States.
Continue reading “Gunfighters and Indians – Workups for Red Flag – Day 4”
Wednesday brought about a day to give the planes a brief break from flying and let the maintainers have a go at them. A common saying in any air force across the world is that it’s the maintainers jets and the pilots just “borrow” them. So it was time to fix the wire ups and get them ready for the night time mission. So today’s post is dedicated to the 156 maintenance personnel that keep those beautiful SU-30 MK-I flying.
Continue reading “Gunfighters and Indians – Workups for Red Flag – Day 3”
Hello again from my adventure at Mountain Home. Tuesday has come and gone, and another solid day of practice for Red Flag is under the Indian Air Force’s belts. With 91 officers and 156 personnel, the IAF brought eight SU-30 MK-I aircraft, two IL-78 air-to-air refuellers and one IL-76 transport aircraft to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho for training. With two missions each day; a day and night sortie, the IAF is maximizing the availible ranges and guidance from the Gunfighters of the 366th Fighter Wing.
Continue reading “Gunfighters and Indians – Workups for Red Flag – Day 2”
Hello everyone for another exciting adventure. This week I’m out here at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho covering the Indian Air Force’s workups for the Red Flag Exercise. For the first time every, the Indian Air Force is participating in the worlds elite aerial combat training exercise held annually at Nellis AFB, Nevada. 247 Indian men and women arrived at Mountain Home AFB with eight SU-30 MK-I aircraft, two IL-78 air refuellers and one IL-76 transport aircraft. By working closely with the 366th Fighter Wing, the “Gunfighters,” the IAF will help streamline the procedures and understand the new flying environment. They will also be taking advantage of Mountain Home’s vast air space and multiple ranges to better prepare their aircrews for future flying missions.
Continue reading “Gunfighters and Indians – Workups for Red Flag”
Oddly enough, the one shot that was escaping me all week was a simple B-2 taking off. Public Affairs had done an outstanding job lining up so many cool and interesting tours and interviews, that it was hard to align the take off and departure times of the B-2 to the gaps in my schedule. And for some reason, Ops didn’t alter the take offs to my schedule. 🙂 But since PA knew it was an important shot to me, they went above and beyond and came in on Saturday to help me nail it.
Continue reading “A Date with Mr. REAPER and DEATH – Day 5”
8am came very early on Day 4. As you may have noticed, I didn’t post a blog on my last night at Whiteman AFB. I gave myself the night off and decided to have a little fun. But more on that later on. This Friday was a special day for a lot of non military personnel and families. One Friday a month, the Base opens it’s gates to 40 lucky individuals and gives them the rare opportunity to get a first hand glimpse of the mighty B-2 bomber. The tour group starts their morning off with a mission brief of the 509th BW, and then boards the bus to the OSCAR-01 missile launch control facility tour.
Continue reading “A Date with Mr. REAPER and DEATH – Day 4”
“FAST 31, Whiteman Tower, Cleared for take off Runway 19. REAPR 21 is 10 miles initial for Runway 19.” And so the adventure of a lifetime began.
Continue reading “A Date with Mr. REAPER and DEATH – Day 3”