Refueling the F-22 Raptor – A day w/ ESGR

F-22 Raptor

F-22 Raptor beneath a KC-135.


Spent an amazing day this past Wednesday with New Hampshire ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve), a Department of Defense office. ESGR promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. ESGR sponsors “Boss Lift.” Boss lift educates employers about the National Guard and Reserves and their mission by giving them a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the efforts their employees put forth each time they put on a uniform to serve. The particular training mission I participated in was a refueling exercise involving KC 135 and F-22 Raptor aircraft. Words can not describe the unsurpassed skill level, professionalism and courtesy of the crew members I spent time with. Thank you Michael Pacheco of ESGR and Holly Babin for arranging this once in a life time opportunity.

Mid air refueling is one of the most technically challenging military exercises executed today yet the flight crew members who perform this task make it look easy.  Imagine riding in a bouncing amusement park ride with a long yet slender straw attached to a large bottle of water.  Now imagine lowering the straw down 30 feet to another unattached bouncing amusement park ride and guiding it into a small bottle with an opening barely larger than the straws diameter.  Sounds challenging right?  Now imagine that its not water but highly flammable liquid you are trying to transfer and surrounding the opening of the smaller bottle are multiple high heat sources.  And just to make it exciting you are attempting this task at 300+ MPH at an altitude of over 20,000 feet – sometimes at night.  To watch this aerial ballet is a mind blowing experience.

Hats off to our military personnel for all that they do to keep our country safe.  And thank you for doing the impossible on a daily basis!

To view more images of this event please click here:


Thanks for reading – Chuck