Chancellor Green, university leaders join National Guard flight

Chancellor Green, university leaders join National Guard flight

An South Dakota National Guard F-16 refuels at 35,000 feet over the Cornhusker State during the May 24 civic leader flight led by Nebraska's 155th Air Refueling Wing.
Ronnie Green | Chancellor
An South Dakota National Guard F-16 refuels at 35,000 feet over the Cornhusker State during the May 24 civic leader flight led by Nebraska's 155th Air Refueling Wing.

Chancellor Ronnie Green and other university officials were among civic leaders who participated in a Nebraska National Guard refueling flight on May 24.

The flight allowed participants to see firsthand how members of the Nebraska National Guard's 155th Air Refueling Wing accomplish the task of adding fuel to fighter jets soaring at 35,000 feet. Aircraft serviced during the flight were F-16s from the South Dakota National Guard's 114th Fighter Wing.

About 20 civic leaders joined the flight. Other university officials who participated were Hank Bounds, president of the University of Nebraska system, and Matt Davison, the Huskers' associate athletic director for football.

Chancellor Ronnie Green (front) and NU President Hank Bounds (back) observe refueling operations from the Stratotanker cockpit during the civic leader flight.

In Twitter posts during the experience, Green praised members of the National Guard for their service.


The Nebraska National Guard offers the flights to civilians regularly as a way to showcase the work being done by members of the 155th Air Refueling Wing.

The unit, which is stationed at the Air National Guard Base in Lincoln, is responsible for conducting air refueling operations around the world. The 155th is also tasked with supporting state government, including assisting Nebraskans when called to do so by the governor. State-based operations have included helping in the aftermath of snowstorms in 1949 and 1997, as well as securing tornado ravaged areas in Omaha in 1975.


Participants in the May 24 civic leader flight line up in front of a Nebraska National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker prior to the flight. The flights are offered regularly to allow civilians to experience what a midair refueling operation.

During the refueling, South Dakota National Guard pilot Quenten Esser showcased a No. 3 Matt Davison jersey. Esser is a graduate of Conestoga High School in Nebraska. Davison captured the moment that Esser's F-16 linked up with the Stratotanker.


On May 25, members of the Nebraska National Guard were treated to a tour of Nebraska athletics facilities, including Memorial Stadium. The tour was led by Davison.


Hank Bounds (right), president of the NU system, talks with a member of Nebraska National Guard's 155th Air Refueling Wing during the May 24 flight.

After the refueling experience and as Memorial Day weekend approached, Green sent a message to Major Gen. Daryl Bohac and Capt. Doug Carlson. In the note, Green thanked the National Guard leaders for the opportunity to fly with and learn from members of the 155th.

"...how is it possible that such a behemoth piece of equipment like the KC-135 weighed down with 195,000 pounds of fuel could ascend to 35,000 feet to meet up with other amazing planes that fly at unbelievable speeds to provide them sustenance to work? There is no other way to describe it than awe-inspiring," Green said. "As we go in to this Memorial Day weekend, please accept this one small thanks for the service of all of your team and all of the committed servants of our military forces."

Chancellor Ronnie Green sits in the cockpit of a Nebraska National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker during refueling operations over Nebraska on May 24.

[See more photos of the Nebraska National Guard refueling flight](https://www.flickr.com/photos/nenationalguard/sets/72157696650212544).