MacDill AFB conducts Operation Violent Storm

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Foster
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 6th Air Refueling Wing, in collaboration with the 927th ARW and the 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, conducted Operation Violent Storm, April 26, 2023.

The operation consisted of an elephant walk with 18 KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft mobilizing through the efforts of more than 700 personnel from across the installation, all in under six hours.

This is the first time the 6th ARW has conducted a large-scale elephant walk since the wing transferred from a mobility wing to a refueling wing in 2016.

“What Operation Violent Storm showcases is our ability to, in rapid succession, provide airpower for America,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Adam Bingham, 6th ARW commander. “We are able to put booms in the air that fuel America’s strategic fighters and bombers who will ultimately be delivering hope and projecting violence at a time that America really needs it.”

Operation Violent Storm was designed to force operations, maintenance and support personnel from active duty, reserve and sister service units to work together to launch as many aircraft in as little time as possible.

Despite the aircraft being more than 60 years old, Airmen were able to perform around the clock maintenance to ensure the aircraft retained operational capability for the operation.

“It takes several weeks to prepare for an event of this scale,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Billy Keller, a maintenance officer with the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “The 6th Maintenance Group has really been focusing on training our Airmen for the last several weeks to make sure this exercise was conducted safely and smoothly.”

Violent Storm is the latest show of force as a part of a series of “elephant walks” across the Air Force, mimicking the actions of other installations like McConnell AFB, Kansas,  Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina and Sheppard AFB, Texas.

Exercises like Operation Violent Storm serve as a reminder to the global community that the 6th ARW and their mission partners are able and willing to deliver hope and project lethality anywhere in the world at any time.

“It takes an entire team to pull something like this off,” said Bingham. “This is the culminating event of their professionalism and readiness. I think the message everyone needs to take away from today is that we’re ready and we’re lethal.”