Boom Operator: The Back-Story

The back-story to the Boom Operator article is pretty funny. The day prior to the interview with Sgt. Edwards, I drove from Bend, Oregon to Vacaville, California. I had orders to be at Travis Air Force base early the following morning. It was still dark when I left the hotel and started driving to the base. I was excited to get a chance to ride along in a military version of the DC-10, and wanted to get to my destination quickly. The Air Base Parkway leading up to Travis AFB was deserted and I decided to step on the gas and … Continue reading Boom Operator: The Back-Story

Why stop for gas? Air Force jets refuel on the fly

Originally published in Boys’ Life – November 2002 SGT. Bill Edwards is one of the Air Force’s friendly gas station attendants. But he won’t be checking oil or replacing wiper blades on this job. It’s hard enough just getting the fuel where it needs to go – 22,000 feet in the air. Sgt. Edwards is a boom operator who refuels jets all across the world while they’re still in flight. The Air Force depends on experienced aircrews and a fleet of KC-10 Extender and KC-135 Stratotanker planes to fill tanks when they run low. There isn’t room for error. Bad … Continue reading Why stop for gas? Air Force jets refuel on the fly