U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker visits 186th Air Refueling Wing at Key Field

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 4:41 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Sen. Roger Wicker stopped in Meridian to visit Key Field to look at an aircraft called the KC-46.

“We’ve got some great opportunities in Mississippi, and particularly here at Meridian. There’s a new tanker that we’ll be competing for; this facility here is a great plus, but also, we we will be talking to community leaders. About the things we offer to our service people in terms of quality of life,” said Wicker.

This new aircraft is very important because it is the future of refueling tankers. The aircraft is much larger than the KC-135s that the base already owns, but with some minor modifications to the hangar that is on the base, there should be no issue housing this beast of an aircraft.

“Well, and the Senator said it’s the next generation of refueling that will be for the next 50, 75, 100 years, and we want to be a part of that program for the future, and Meridian’s got a history of refueling at this location. We’ve got talented refuelers and maintainers here at this location, and so we should be part of that future,” said Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard Jansen Boyles.

The KC-46 that the Senator looked at is very important for the future operations of the 186 Air Refueling Wing, and to be in consideration for the purchase of the next one is thrilling.

“We’re excited to be considered for the next main operating base that as the Air Force continues to fill its next-generation tanker, we’d love to continue in this operation for generations to come,” said Col. Cynthia Smith, commander of the 186th Air Refueling Wing.

Currently, 1,100 personnel oversee the eight KC-135s that are at the base fulfilling missions for the Air National Guard.