04/21/06 — City of Goldsboro now has its very own KC-135 Stratotanker

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City of Goldsboro now has its very own KC-135 Stratotanker

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 21, 2006 1:51 PM

The city of Goldsboro officially has its own KC-135 refueling plane.

Col. John P. Hall Jr., special assistant to the wing commander of the 916th Air Refueling Wing, christened the KC-135 "City of Goldsboro" during a ceremony held at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours event Thursday night at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

More than 300 people gathered to watch the ceremony, which Hall said was a chance for the Wing to mark its 20th anniversary in Wayne County and to say thank you to the community that has supported its personnel during those years.

Mayor Al King and Col. John Hall

News-Argus/Dennis Hill

Goldsboro Mayor Al King, left, and Col. John Hall of the 916th Air Refueling Wing, display the insignia designating a KC-135 Stratotanker as the "City of Goldsboro."

Hall handled the renaming ceremony for Wing Commander Col. Paul Sykes, who was out of town and unable to attend Thursday's ceremony.

The 916th was reactivated as an Air Force Reserve flying group at Seymour in October 1986. Hall said before the ceremony that the KC-135 has been in service since 1957.

"For an airplane, that is a really long time," he said.

Hall said the fact that these planes are still flying is a testament to the men and women in the maintenance groups who work so hard to keep them in top shape and ready for action.

He said the renaming ceremony is an Air Force tradition -- a chance to honor the communities that have supported the wings' missions and personnel.

He added that the 916th is proud to call Wayne County and the city of Goldsboro home.

"The relationship here between the community and the base is just outstanding," he said. "The appreciation and support of the base and its personnel are phenomenal."

Hall said nearly 800 people serve with the 916th in Wayne County -- either visiting during weekend training missions or relocating their families here.

He said that he and other 916th members have been welcomed into the community.

"Naming the airplane today is our way of saying thanks, " he said.

He added that residents can continue to support the wing's efforts simply by doing what they are already doing -- "being neighborly."

"A lot of our folks, when they do deploy, are gone for long periods of time," he said. "Look after the families that are left behind."

Hall also acknowledged the business owners who must give up employees for months at times as they head off to missions overseas, or who must adjust work schedules to allow for training requirements.

"Their support goes a long way," he said.