Editor’s Note: As well all know, the French wasted absolutely no time getting into the fight with Daesh after recent attacks on their soil. The Armée de l’air’s goal has been quite simple: to bring the rain and bring the pain to the so-called Islamic State. What many have forgotten is the French have been taking the fight to the bad guys in North Africa for three years in Operation Serval.
Since Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) began an uprising in central Mali, the Malian government asked for French assistance, and the French have certainly delivered on their promise. The United States offered refueling and airlift support for French operations in the form of Operation Juniper Micron, and the airmen from RAF Mildenhall have been faithfully executing that mission ever since they received the call.
Three KC-135 Stratotankers, along with 50 Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, temporarily deployed to Istres-Le Tubé Air Base, France, in support of Operation Juniper Micron.
The U.S. has been supporting the French government in Operation Juniper Micron at their request since 2013, providing air refueling and airlift support of French operations in Mali and North Africa.
Since December 2015 alone, the 100th ARW has flown more than 750 sorties, refueled more than 2,900 French aircraft, and off-loaded nearly 28 million pounds of fuel while supporting French operations.
The strategic decision to temporarily deploy the KC-135s to Istres is the result of the continual evaluation of how to best support French ally forces in the air and on the ground.
The long-standing relationship between the U.S. and France enables operational success by allowing a forward-based presence of U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa assets and the ability to move forward quickly in support of French operations.
The original article can be viewed here.
(Featured photo: Airmen arrive at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base, France, in support of Operation Juniper Micron Feb. 21, 2016. Since 2013, the U.S has been supporting the French government in Operation Juniper Micron by providing air refueling and airlift support of French operations in Mali and North Africa. U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Erin Trower)