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20 refuel jets took off Wednesday from Spokane Fairchild Air Force Base

The 20 KC-135 jets were launched as a part of a proficiency and readiness exercise.
Credit: 92nd ARW Public Affairs Office
The 92nd Air Refueling Wing successfully launched a 20-ship Minimum Interval Take-Off (MITO) Wednesday Sept.29.

SPOKANE, Wash — Fairchild Air Force Base in northeastern Washington successfully launched a massive string of 20 KC-135s on Wednesday.

United States Air Force Capt. Kaitlin D. Holmes said on a press release that the 20-ship aerial refuelers using Minimum Interval Take-Off (MITO) tactics were launched as part of a readiness exercise.

"The MITO was part of a proficiency and readiness exercise, sought to validate Fairchild’s maintenance generation and operational capabilities to launch multiple aircraft using minimum interval take-off procedures," Holmes said. "This capability showcases the readiness of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing aircrew and our 60+ year old aircraft fleet."

The jets lined up in a long “elephant walk” before quickly taking off. "This was an impressive feat boasting the largest take-off of a KC-135 fleet at Fairchild Air Force Base," Holmes said. "Today we launched more Refuelers than are owned by whole countries."

"Elephant Walk is a historic, uniquely-Air Force term that describes the nose-to-tail, single-file taxi movements of the aircraft synonymous with the nose-to-tail trail of lumbering elephants," according to the Fairchild Air Force Base website. 

In 2012, Fairchild held a similar drill, but it launched fewer aircraft.

For additional information, contact the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office at 509-247- 5705 or by email to 92arw.pa@us.af.mil.