Klamath Falls, Ore. – One of the nation’s largest air-to-air combat training is now operating out of Klamath Falls, as ‘Sentry Eagle’ is ready for take-off.
“It’s a large force exercise,” explained Master Sergeant Jennifer Shirar of the Oregon Air National Guard. “Where we bring different aircraft from around the country from different units, and different branches of service, to fly and fight together.”
A handful of reporters got a chance Friday morning to fly on a KC-135 tanker refueling mission.
The aerial refueling is a delicate ballet taking place at nearly 400 miles an hour, 22,000 feet in the air.
173rd Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Jeff Smith says the open house element of Sentry Eagle is a way of saying ‘Thanks’ to the community. “We’ve got a phenomenal community support. We get phone calls that thank us for being here, we get thanked for our service every day when we’re walking out and around in the town. And all of our visitors that come here say that’s not always the case where they come from.”
The tanker flight provides a unique view of fighters jets as they line up for fuel – as well as a different view of Crater Lake.
Colonel Smith says he’s aware that he’s got a cool job. “As we look up and watch the airplanes fly, I still can’t believe I do it – it’s amazing.”
The Sentry Eagle open house will take place at Kingsley Field Saturday the 22nd from 9 to 3.
There is no charge for entry.