US Air Force and Canadian Armed Forces fly missions to support Vancouver Olympics
More than 2,600 athletes from nearly 90 nations will kick-off the 2010 Winter Olympics during opening ceremonies Feb. 12, and Air Mobility CommandÂ Airmen willÂ play a supporting role by flying air refueling missions and posturing medics to support the 17-day competition.
KC-135 Stratotankers and KC-10 Extenders have already flown 14 air refueling sorties for the games and will continue to fly more Olympic-support missions, AMC officials said.
The tankers’ primary customers are E-3 Sentry command-and-control aircraft and Canadian CF-18 Hornets, which are flying patrols over the Vancouver-area.
AMC planning efforts are led by the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center officials at Scott Air Force Base. 618th TACC officials plan, task and provide command-and-control for all of AMC’s inter-theater airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation missions, employing a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft worldwide.
“The first AMC tanker mission supporting the Olympics was planned Jan. 5 and flew Jan. 29,” said Lt. Col. Christy Kayser-Cook, theÂ chief of the 618th TACC’s Air Refueling Operations Division. “While the planning is exactly the same as any of the other air refueling missions we support, it is a unique opportunity to be part of something involved with the Olympic Games and it adds a little extra meaning when you see the events on TV.”
In addition to the air refueling missions, AMC officials also worked with Canadian officials to establish aeromedical evacuation plans in the event a medical emergency requires Air Force assistance to move patients from Vancouver to another location via fixed-wing aircraft.
“We started laying out the aeromedical evacuation plans to support the 2010 Winter Olympics in July,” said Lt. Col. Duncan Smith, the chief of the 618th TACC’s Aeromedicial Evacuation Division. “We do not have any missions currently flying for the Olympics, but we’re poised to support any and all aeromedical evacuation needs if we get the call. At the same time, we have daily requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world, which keeps us busy, but also very proud of what our forces can accomplish worldwide.”