MacDill becomes nest for U.S. Navy Super Hornets

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Fighter aircraft rip through the skies around MacDill as the community marvels at the sound they have dubbed “the sound of freedom.”

It’s a comforting sound for the U.S. Air Force who specializes in fighter aircraft.

For the month of October, 18 U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft with the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia have made MacDill their new home for training.

“Our Airmen get to learn about other aircraft and the mission that they perform,” said Maj. Christopher Dupuis, the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “Furthermore, the U.S Navy’s VFA-106 brought in three fuels troops, and our Airmen will get the opportunity to train these Seamen in Air Force petroleum, oils and lubricants (POL) operations so they can help execute their mission while at MacDill.”

The Navy F/A-18F is unlike the KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft stationed at MacDill. It is a multidimensional fighter aircraft that has been a cornerstone of naval aviation combat for the past 18 years.

It is comparable to the “Blue Angels” that will be visiting MacDill for the March 2020 air show.

“My POL Airmen are excited,” said Dupuis. “POL is an all-in team and they are a highly tasked career field, but enjoy opportunities that are outside the norm.”

Along with F-18’s, 18 pilots, 30 instructors and many more aviation mechanics and electricians have made MacDill their new home for the next few weeks they train at Avon Park Air Force range, Florida.

The 6th LRS POL Airmen support the training exercise by giving 60,000 gallons of fuel each day.

“Everyone here at MacDill has been extremely welcoming,” said U.S Navy Cmdr. Wrenn Landers, a VFA-106 instructor pilot. “Flying in different locations, especially at MacDill, which has a denser air space, is useful and beneficial for when training the next generation of fleet aviators.”

For the pilots and aircrew members visiting MacDill, the change has been welcoming.

“I really enjoy the people I work with, the job I get to perform each day and the many amazing places I get to visit, such as MacDill,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Sylvia Gonzalez, a VFA-106 aviation electrician. “I’m always training to become a better aviation electrician and I get to do that with our mission here by supporting the qualification of category 1 pilots to conduct aircraft carrier missions now and in the future.”

While having F-18s at MacDill AFB is different, the mission stays the same.

“If it flies and can take JP-8 fuel,” emphasized Dupuis. “We can fuel it.”