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Celebrating a century of game-changers: 100 Years of Aerial Refueling Alaska Flyover Event

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey
  • 168th Wing

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska —The 168th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, is scheduled to conduct KC-135 Stratotanker flyovers across Alaska starting at approximately 10:30 a.m., June 27 as a part of the United States Air Force’s commemoration of 100 years of aerial refueling excellence.

The North and South routes and times are listed in the chart below and on the 168th Wing social media.  @168thwing

The KC-135s are scheduled to fly over Central Village, Fort Yukon, Deadhorse, Utqiagvik (Barrow), Point Hope, Kotzebue, Noorvik, Selawik, Huslia, Delta Junction, Tok, Gulkana Valdez, Palmer, Wasilla, Kenai, Holy Cross, Anvik, Kaltag, Nulato, Koyukuk, Galena, Ruby, Tanana, and Nenana.

“It is an honor to serve and represent the legacy of those who served before us on an important mission of refueling,” said Capt. Steven Billa, 168th Wing KC-135 pilot. “It is an amazing heritage to be serving on aircraft that have been involved in many conflicts defending our way of life.”

The first successful aerial refueling took place on June 27, 1923, when a DH-4B carrying Lieutenants Virgil Hine and Frank W. Seifer passed gasoline through dangling a hose to another DH-4B flying beneath it carrying Lieutenants Lowell H. Smith and John P. Richter.

Today the 168th Wing continues to fuel the fight and enables unrivaled global reach and rapid global mobility all over the world to partners and allies.

“We are proud to represent our community,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Boesche, 168th Wing KC-135 pilot. “These flyovers are a tribute to those who have served our great state and nation, and a thank you to our communities who support from the North to the South of our state, from the rural communities to our larger cities. We are proud to support and serve with you.”

The 168th Wing continues to extend the range of aircraft conducting mid-air refueling. The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 60 years.

“Our refueling air crews and wing team provide air refueling and deliver gas worldwide, ensuring our partners and allies go the distance to protect and defend,” said Master Sgt. Keith Rowan, 168th Wing KC-135 Boom Operator. “Air Refueling from the beginning has deterred aggression around the world.”

Aerial refueling serves as a force multiplier, increasing the speed, range, lethality, flexibility and versatility of combat aircraft. Tankers also carry cargo and passengers, perform aeromedical evacuations, and enable strategic deterrence for the United States.

“Air refueling propels our Nation’s air power across the skies, unleashing its full potential,” said Gen. Mike Minihan, Air Mobility Command commander. “It connects our strategic vision with operational reality, ensuring we can reach any corner of the globe with unwavering speed and precision. Air refueling embodies our resolve to defend freedom and project power, leaving an indelible mark on aviation history.”

Innovation and tenacity, hallmark characteristics of Airmen throughout the service’s history, delivered the game-changing capability, once deemed impossible.

The flyovers performed by the 168th Wing during any special event serve as an additional training opportunity for the pilots and ground crews and are scheduled, if operational mission allows, as part of the regular and mandatory proficiency training required to keep aircrews current and qualified and zero additional cost to taxpayers. 

Members of the public are invited to tag the 168th Wing on social media in photos and videos of the flyover with hashtags #OperationCentennialContact #GlobalReach #168thWing #AlaskaNationalGuard

For more information, please contact the public affairs office at (907) 377-8734 if you have any questions.  



Route of Flight (North AK)

Window (EDT)

Central Village

10:30 – 10:45

Fort Yukon

10:45 – 11:00

Deadhorse Airport

11:30 – 11:45

Utgiagvik (Barrow)

12:00 – 12:15

Point Hope

12:55 – 13:10


1:30 – 1:45


1:40 – 1:55


1:50 – 2:05


2:10 – 2:25


Route of Flight (South AK)

Window (EDT)

Delta Junction

10:50 – 11:05


11:10 – 11:25


11:30 – 11:55


12:10 – 12:25


1:00 – 1:15


1:10 – 1:25


1:30 – 1:45

Holy Cross

2:20 – 2:35


2:30 – 2:45


3:55 – 15:10


3:05 – 3:15


3:10 – 3:25


3:20 – 3:35


3:25 – 3:40


3:45 – 4:00


4:05 – 4:20