927th Air Refueling Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen flying despite COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Lt Col Lisa Ray

While many Americans are encouraged to work from home so they can mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19, some jobs can’t be done via telework.  Reserve Airmen from the 927th Air Refueling Wing are still flying, still refueling and still maintaining KC-135 aircraft, proving they are ready and staying ready despite the COVID-19 crisis. 


Reserve Airmen from the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron took off from here at MacDill Air Force Base April 2, 2020 to meet up with F-15s to conduct mid-air refueling operations.  The flight is part of flying operations that have continued so Reserve Airmen can maintain their readiness to accomplish their wartime mission that is vital for the nation.


Flying missions like these allow aircrew, like 1st Lt. Clayton Gledhill, a new pilot who joined the 63rd ARS in February, to practice critical skills.  He can identify with families struggling to balance work, remote school work and family time at home. “When I head to the base to fly, I say goodbye to my wife who will spend the day helping our three kids with school work while also teleworking for her job,” said Gledhill. “On top of that stress, we are very careful about germs I may bring back with me and do our best to protect our family.” 


Extra precautions have been put in place to minimize the health risk to those still working on and around the flightline including splitting shifts and ensuring crews work with the same people when they come in to fly and work on the flightline.


“Our Airmen are the best in the world at what they do and it’s important we do everything we can to keep them healthy while they work,” said Lt. Col. Ginger Ormond, the 927th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander.


Members of the 927th work closely with their active duty counterparts in the 6th Air Refueling Wing to fly and maintain the KC-135s here at MacDill.


The 927th Air Refueling Wing is made up of about 1,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen who serve part-time in the military, but are fulltime members of the local community who work and raise families in the greater Tampa Bay region of Florida.