01/02/07 — 916th will fuel Ford flyover in Michigan

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916th will fuel Ford flyover in Michigan

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 2, 2007 1:57 PM

Members of the 4th Fighter Wing will not be the only airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in the skies above former President Gerald Ford's funeral Wednesday.

Base officials confirmed that in addition to the F-15E Strike Eagles already slated to perform a 21-ship flyover and missing-man formation over the service, three KC-135 Stratotankers from the 916th Air Refueling Wing also will be near Grand Rapids, Mich., providing air support for the 4th's fleet.

Ford, who died Dec. 26 at age 93, was the 38th president and served as an officer in the Navy before entering the political arena.

This is not the first time aircraft from Seymour Johnson has participated in a state funeral.

In the late 1960s, fighter jets from the 4th honored former President Dwight Eisenhower with a pass similar to the one that will take place Wednesday. Then, in June 2004, Seymour F-15s performed a flyby over former President Ronald Reagan's funeral procession.

Final preparations are being made today and will continue until the aircraft take off sometime around noon Wednesday. The nose of each of the 21 F-15s is being handpainted with a tribute to Ford, maintainers are ensuring the fleet is ready to fly and flight crews are putting the finishing touches on the formation itself.