"Bloody Hundredth" flies back into action

A French Mirage fighter refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, over Africa Jan. 30, 2013. Tankers from RAF Mildenhall, operating from a forward-deployed location, began flying refueling missions in support of French operations in Mali Jan. 27, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jason Smith) French Mirage fighter and U.S. Air Force KC-135 A French Mirage fighter refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, over Africa Jan. 30, 2013. Tankers from RAF Mildenhall, operating from a forward-deployed location, began flying refueling missions in support of French operations in Mali Jan. 27, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jason Smith)

More than 100 Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England deployed Jan. 26 to a location in Western Europe in support of international military operations in Mali.

The deployment makes highly valued air-to-air refueling assets available to U.S. Africa Command.

The “Bloody Hundredth” was called to action to conduct refueling missions in support of the French and their partners taking part in operations in Mali, a country in North-Western Africa.

Shortly after receiving the deployment order, the men and women of the 100th ARW quickly moved through numerous deployment processing stations with the assistance of personnel from the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 100th Force Support Squadron.

Then, prior to boarding their aircraft, deploying Airmen were met by Colonel Christopher Kulas, 100th ARW commander, Chief Master Sergeant Christopher Powell, 100th ARW command chief and a number of 100th ARW group commanders.

Also on the flightline here were pilots and maintainers, loading the deploying Airmen’s equipment and ensuring the deployment process was as expeditious as possible.

“We’re all in this together,” said Colonel Kyle Voigt, 100th ARW vice commander. “Whether our Airmen from the “Square D” are deployed directly in support of operations or are here at home, everyone is working together as a team to achieve mission success.”

As events in Mali unfolded, France requested aerial refueling support from the United States. The 100th ARW stood ready to respond even though the wing was participating in an operational readiness exercise. An ORE tests an installation’s ability to effectively deploy in support of contingency operations.

“We have been constantly practicing and refining our deployment process with OREs” said Captain Amanda Tamosuinas, 100th LRS, installation deployment officer.

“Our wing really pulled together for this deployment, and our practice paid off as we effectively transitioned from an exercise to a real-world engagement. Everyone involved in the deployment process did an incredible job to show our wing is capable of deploying quickly in support of contingency operations.”

The “Bloody Hundredth” has a recent history supporting operations in AFRICOM’s area of operation. In 2012, members from the 100th ARW supported operations in Libya following terrorist attacks against a U.S. Embassy. In 2011, the wing supported Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector.

U.S. Air Force exercise West Africa Mali Mildenhall