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Alaska Air National Guard 168th Wing dedicates KC-135 flagship in honor of Fairbanks community

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Barker and Airman 1st Class Caleb Sawyer of the 168th Maintenance Group adds Fairbanks, Alaska to the wing's flagship KC-135 Stratotanker and installs the new Polar Bear design on the tail flash dedicated to Fairbanks, Alaska, Dec. 18, 2020. The Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Wing honors Fairbanks, Alaska, the city it calls home, with the dedication of the wing's flagship aircraft. A flagship aircraft is a dedicated aircraft with the wing commander and the dedicated crew chiefs' names on it and is maintained to the highest standards. It is the jet that represents the wing. The dedicated crew chiefs for the flagship are Tech. Sgt. Robert Albaugh and Staff Sgt. Elliot St. Laurent. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Barker and Airman 1st Class Caleb Sawyer of the 168th Maintenance Group adds Fairbanks, Alaska to the wing's flagship KC-135 Stratotanker and installs the new Polar Bear design on the tail flash dedicated to Fairbanks, Alaska, Dec. 18, 2020. The Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Wing honors Fairbanks, Alaska, the city it calls home, with the dedication of the wing's flagship aircraft. A flagship aircraft is a dedicated aircraft with the wing commander and the dedicated crew chiefs' names on it and is maintained to the highest standards. It is the jet that represents the wing. The dedicated crew chiefs for the flagship are Tech. Sgt. Robert Albaugh and Staff Sgt. Elliot St. Laurent. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

The Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Wing honors Fairbanks, Alaska, the city it calls home, with the dedication of the wing's flagship aircraft, Dec. 18, 2020. 
 
"We have strong ties with our local communities and Fairbanks is where many of our Airmen live, work and raise their children," said Col. Richard Adams, commander of the 168th Wing. "We want to thank our community for their support of our hometown Airmen by proudly flying our KC-135 flagship."

A flagship aircraft is a dedicated aircraft with the wing commander and the dedicated crew chiefs’ names on it and is maintained to the highest standards. It is the jet that represents the Wing.  The dedicated crew chiefs for the flagship are Tech. Sgt. Robert Albaugh and Staff Sgt. Elliot St. Laurent.

"The KC-135 flagship is an important symbol to our Air Guard," said Adams. "I appreciate the support we receive from our community and want to pay tribute to Interior Alaska, showcasing our hometown Airmen and our neighbors as we fly and serve worldwide." 

The aircraft's tail will also have a polar bear standing strong on the wing's tail flash, representing Alaska's arctic region and spirit. The geometric design of the polar bear highlights the wing's culture of innovation.

“The 168th is the fueling backbone of the arctic and we are proud to be home to the men and women who fly the skies as part of the team protecting our nation," said Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce J. Ward. "I am honored that the 168th would dedicate the wings flagship to our community as a memorial of our strong bond.”

"Alaskans serve together, and the Fairbanks flagship—along with all of the other interior communities represented on our aircraft—represents our arctic community spirit," said Adams.