The mission and scope of the Maine Air National Guard base in Bangor — the state’s only active military base and home to the 101st Air Refueling Wing — developed into something new in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“We’re a lot more active,” MAINEics pilot Lt. Col. Adam Jenkins, who is the 132nd Air Refueling Squadron commander, said recently.
After 9/11, the Bangor-based air refueling wing added approximately 150 full-time active-duty personnel to its roster and now handles or manages nearly 15 percent of the air refueling missions worldwide, according to Lt. Col. Debbie Kelley, a spokeswoman for 101st.
The MAINEiacs have 10 KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, which essentially are flying gas stations that can refuel other airplanes — a crucial function during wartime — and now plays a key role in most military missions the U.S. undertakes, Maj. Gen. John W. Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, said last week.
“When America goes, we go,” Libby said. “That’s a big change for the air guard.”
Click for the rest of the story by Nok-Noi Ricker in The Bangor Daily News, along with video.