Grissom participates in Oshkosh airshow with Blue Angels

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Katrina Heikkinen
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
For aviation enthusiasts, it doesn’t get much better than the Airventure Oshkosh Air Show with aircraft ranging from homebuilts to warbirds to the latest technology – and this year a little mixture of KC-135s from the Hoosier Wing.

Pilots from Grissom gave spectators a glimpse of aerial refueling with two fly-bys over the airshow while bringing one of the show’s headlining acts front and center July 25.

Grissom’s KC-135R Stratotanker met up with the Navy’s flight demonstration team the Blue Angels near Nashville and fueled the famous blue and yellow F/A 18 Hornets en route to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Piloting the KC-135R was Lt. Col. William Werth, 434th Air Refueling Wing chief of flying safety, with co-pilot Maj. Brandon German, 434th Operations Support Squadron chief of tactics. Refueling the Blue Angels were boom operators Master Sgt. Paul Serafini, 328th Air Refueling Squadron, Niagara Falls, New York, boom operator in mission qualification training, and Master Sgt. Timothy Stibbe, 74th Air Refueling Squadron inflight refueling technician instructor.

“Normally most of what we do is out of the public eye – refueling aircraft,” German said. “But not only did we support the Blue Angels, we interacted with the public by participating in the air show – demonstrating our capabilities.”

The refueling mission ranged as far south as Nashville, where the Blue Angels received their first refueling. The KC-135R conducted two fly-overs at the airshow, then assisted the Angels as they proceeded to Fargo, North Dakota.

“We were proud to be part of that show and help the EAA [Experimental Aircraft Association] appreciate military aviation,” Stibbe said. “Also – we got to see the Blue Angels in tight formation popping smoke.”

The annual week-long Oshkosh Air Show brings more than half a million spectators from nearly 100 countries.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.