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Fairchild receives new tankers

Fairchild receives new tankers

SPOKANE, Wash. - There are new signs Fairchild Air Force Base will continue to thrive in Spokane and even create new jobs in the area.

On Thursday, the base announced it's getting more KC-135's, and about to spend $30 million on improvements.

In this ceremony, Fairchild assumed command of the 385th Air Refueling Squadron. The oufit, known as “The Square Patchers,” was shipped here from Kansas where McConnell Air Force Base is making room for its new KC-46's.

“These aircraft, and this squadron, brings increased capability and capacity to Fairchild Air Force Base,” said Lieutenant Colonel Sean R. McClune. “Our strategic location in terms of world events makes us vital to our national security.”

Nine KC-135's make up Fairchild's new squadron. They are someone else's gently used planes, but a lot of them are multi-point re-fuelers. 

“Mipers,” as they are called, can gas up other jets from a boom but also refuel Navy and NATO aircraft from the tanker's wing tips.

“They come up and refuel into a basket versus on a boom,” said McClune. “So the Mipers' tails we're acquiring let us refuel a larger variety of aircraft.”

And that versatility makes Fairchild Air Crews more valuable to our national defense.

Meanwhile, the Air Force is giving Fairchild $30 million to spend renovating the bases's aging infastructure.
The hanger where today's ceremony took place is almost 75-years-old.

Fairchild already has some of its new planes from Kansas flying refueling missions. By sending this base 9 additional tankers, the Pentagon is also sending Spokane a positive message about Fairchild's future.