MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida is home to the 6th Air Mobility Wing of the USAF. The wing comprises the 6th Operations Group, 6th Maintenance Group, 6th Mission Support Group and the 6th Medical Group. The base is also home to other units including the United States Central Command, United States Special Operations Command and teams from the US Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Each USAF group is composed of squadrons. The main type of aircraft flown out of the base by the 6th Operations Group is the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker air to air refueling tanker operated by the 91st Air Refueling Squadron (91 ARS) and the Gulfstream C-37A (the military version of the Gulfstream V business jet) operated by the 310th Airlift Squadron. The C-37 is used provide global airlift for special assignment missions directly supporting USAF Combatant Commanders.
The mission of the 6th Operations Group:
“Planning and executing global aerial refueling, combatant commander airlift, and specialized missions for US and allied combat and support aircraft. We extend US global power and global reach through employment of a mix of KC-135R and C-37 aircraft.”
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker has been in USAF service for over 50 years and remains a major asset in mobility operations. it was developed from the commercial Boeing 707 passenger jet and first deployed in August 1956.
The KC-135R model has been re-engined with new CFM-International CFM-56 engines to extend the life of the aircraft. They are now 96% quieter and 25% more fuel-efficient than earlier KC-135A models (the aircraft can also now offload 50 percent more fuel – up to 90,719 kilograms / 200,000 pounds and costs 25% less to operate). Despite this I can tell you they are still very loud when they fly directly over you!