By Joachim Jacob, Warthog News Editor
As already reported on Warthog News's official Facebook page, KC-135 Stratotankers from the 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, 100th Air Refueling Wing (USAFE), RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, refueled A-10Cs from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, during exercise REAL THAW 2013 at Monte Real Air Base, Portugal. The 351st EARS is currently deployed to southwest Europe in support of French operations in Mali. KC-135 aircrews from the 100th ARW have been flying aerial refueling sorties from the deployed location since January 2013. In a photo news titled "RAF Mildenhall Airmen support REAL THAW", 100th ARW Public Affairs released three related official pictures.
2/22/2013 - An A-10 Thunderbolt II refuels from a KC-135 Stratotanker during exercise REAL THAW, Feb. 19, 2013. The Stratotanker is operated by the 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron operating from southwest Europe. The 351st EARS is comprised of Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, who deployed Jan. 26, 2013. The 351st EARS offered to participate in REAL THAW from their deployed location. Picking up the exercise refueling mission gave the 351st EARS aircrew additional training and was an efficient way to use a pre-located refueling capability. REAL THAW, the Portuguese military's premiere annual exercise, integrates the Portuguese Army, Navy and Air Force for joint operations and scenarios. The exercise also includes forces from partner nations. The 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, is one of the U.S. representatives in Portugal. Their airframe, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, is the only close air support aircraft participating this year, and the Portuguese military is taking full advantage of its capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. LeeAnn Sunn) Hi-res
Note: Looks like both aircraft have just passed the coast line.
2/22/2013 - An A-10 Thunderbolt II refuels from a KC-135 Stratotanker during exercise REAL THAW, Feb. 19, 2013. The Stratotanker is operated by the 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron operating from southwest Europe. [...] (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. LeeAnn Sunn) Hi-res
Source (including 3 photos)
BTW: For the A-10 history books I would like to knew the Stratotanker's still "undisclosed" deployed location. Feel free to drop me a line. And be sure, you will remain 100 percent anonymous.