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Tanker 0329 Now at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

May 4, 2022

Off the Hawaii Air National Guard Facebook page

Hawaii Air National Guard photograph

‘Tanker 0329, you’re cleared for takeoff for the last time.’

203rd Air Refueling Squadron pilots Lt. Col. Kelly Church and Maj. Koani Lau, experienced a wave of emotions this weekend as they flew one of the Hawaii Air National Guard’s most cherished aircraft to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The historic aircraft, numbered 60-0329, is now the first KC-135R Stratotanker to be inducted into the museum, where millions of visitors will be able to learn about the airframe’s rich history and abundant contributions to the world of aviation.

Upon arrival at the Air Force, ‘Tanker 0329’ was reunited with a legendary aircrew who performed the world’s first tri-level air refueling procedure during the Vietnam Conflict.

Original and retired crew members, Lt. Col. Richard Trail, Lt. Col. John Casteel and Senior Master Sgt. Jack Barnes responded to the unprompted distress call from two U.S. Navy aircraft in 1967 over the Gulf of Tonkin and likely saved the lives through their bold and innovative fuel delivery.

While crew members from past and present flew the aircraft more than 50 years apart, they all shared an unmistakable and deep familiarity with the inner workings and timeless characteristics of Tanker 0329, which came to be known as Kapea throughout it’s time in the Hawaii ANG.

During Kapea’s final flight, former Hawaii ANG Airman and current Deputy Director, Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Duke A. Pirak attended in support for his wingmen and recognized the significant induction into the museum.

Additional crew members included:

Brig. Gen. Dann S. Carlson and Command Chief Master Sgt. Carol Orr – 154th Wing Command Team

Senior Master Sgt. Derek Wheeler – 203rd ARS Boom Operator

Tech. Sgt. Anthony Victorino – 203rd ARS Boom Operator

Senior Master Sgt. Paul Foster – 154th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Crew Chief

Staff Sgt. Kyler Sato -154th AMXS Crew Chief

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