Gateway To Afghanistan

SATURDAY, OCT. 16, 2010

A delicate maneuver

In a delicate dance between man and machine high above Afghanistan, an F-15E Eagle tops off its tanks with jet fuel provided by a Fairchild Air Force Base 92nd Air Refuling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker on deployment at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

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FRIDAY, OCT. 15, 2010

Welcome to Manas

The Manas Transit Center's latest tanker landed Friday at the Kyrgyzstan base, unloading two pallets of coats, blankets and other humanitarian supplies collected from across the Inland Northwest.The supplies will be distributed in villages and schools within the impoverished Central Asian nation by Air Force...

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Liftoff!

Experience what it is like to be inside a KC-135R Stratotanker as it takes off from Fairchild Air Force Base en-route to a deployment at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

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As morning light breaks over the Atlantic Ocean, Airman 1St Class James White with 92nd Air Refueling Wing from Fairchild Air Force Base, sleeps during his 9-hour flight to England in a KC-135R air refueling tanker. White was on his way to a four-month deployment in Kyrgyzstan that will involve deicing aircraft at the Manas Transit Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Sleep when you can...

As morning light breaks over the Atlantic Ocean, Airman 1St Class James White with 92nd Air Refueling Wing from Fairchild Air Force Base, sleeps during his nine-hour flight to England in a KC-135R air refueling tanker Oct. 14, 2010. White is on his way to...

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From left to right, Daniel Goodman, senior airman, and Josh Myers and Antonio Rapp, both airmen 1st class, sit aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker flight form Fairchild Air Force Base to Kyrgyzstan, where they're deploying to Manas Transit Center and will help deice aircraft this winter. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Preparing for winter

The temperature in Bishkek when the KC-135 landed at Manas was in the low 70s, a bit of an October oddity for this part of Central Asia, but five of the Fairchild-based airmen aboard are a reminder that winter is on the way.They are the...

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After an overnight in England, Capt. Chris Dieter and his co-pilot Lincoln Olsen prepare to land their KC-135R Stratotanker at Manas Transit Center Oct. 15, 2010. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Prepare for landing

After an overnight in England, Capt. Chris Dieter and his co-pilot Lincoln Olsen prepare to land their KC-135R Stratotanker at Manas Transit Center Oct. 15, 2010. The night before, over the Atlantic Ocean, the crew was given a front row seat to a massive Northern...

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THURSDAY, OCT. 14, 2010

Airmen with the 92nd  Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base strap in for a seventeen hour flight to the Manas Transit Center in  Kyrgyzstan. The aircrew and five maintainers flew to Kyrgyzstan aboard a Fairchild KC-135R Stratotanker refueling aircraft for a five-month deployment. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Not business class

Airmen with the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base strap in for a seventeen hour flight to the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. The aircrew and five maintainers are in route to Kyrgyzstan aboard a Fairchild KC-135R Stratotanker refueling aircraft for a...

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Halfway there

For all the discomfort of long-distance military flying, there is this distinct advantage: A flight crew with a keen sense for keeping a plane steady and an enviable ability to smoothly put a gigantic jet onto just about any runway.RAF Mildenhall, north of London near...

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 13, 2010

Kyrgyzstan bound

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TUESDAY, OCT. 12, 2010

Departure delayed

Mechanics plan to work through the night to figure out what's wrong with the jet's steering.Given the delay, the pilot and crew scrubbed the possibility of a Tuesday takeoff, opting instead for a Wednesday afternoon departure.

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During taxiing to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, our pilot noticed that he had trouble steering the nose gear of aircraft.  We have deplaned and await word whether we can continue on with the trip tonight, or come back tomorrow and try again. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Sputter....

During taxiing to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, our pilot noticed that he had trouble steering the nose gear of aircraft. We have deplaned and await word whether we can continue on with the trip tonight, or come back tomorrow and try again.

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Our KC-135R Stratotanker is prepped for takeoff from Fairchild Air Force Base Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010. We are headed to RAF Mildenhall, England, then on to Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

Don't forget your earplugs

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MONDAY, OCT. 11, 2010

No clear mandate from Kyrgz voters

Attitudes about the U.S. supply base at Manas vary among the five political parties that apparently will have to share control of Kyrgyzstan following Sunday's historic vote. Although the Manas Transit Center was a factor in the campaigns, with some calling for its eviction but...

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THURSDAY, OCT. 7, 2010


Spokane's growing links to Kyrgyzstan

The connections between Spokane, Wash. and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan became abundantly clear in The Spokesman-Review newsroom back in April of this year.The City Desk, no stranger to unusual questions and requests from across the Inland Northwest, began fielding phone calls from readers asking various renditions of...

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Fairchild Air Force Base supplies 80 percent of the military aircraft and flight crews operating out of Manas Transit Center, a key hub along one of the primary NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The small base, located outside the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek, is barely 400 miles from the Afghan border.






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