End of the 10

  • Published
  • By Rossi D. Pedroza
  • 349 Air Mobility Wing

Time has a way of flying by when Airmen are flying high. Logging 30 years’ worth of flight hours in the blue, the smooth glide of the KC-10A Extender will forever cease on September 30, 2024.  Travis Air Force Base will make way for a new era as the KC-46A Pegasus aircraft begin to arrive this year.

The 70th Air Refueling Squadron took delivery of the KC-10A Extender on September 1, 1994. The Air Mobility Command tanker and cargo aircraft, adorningly known as, “Big Sexy” by aircrews due to the sleek and graceful wing design, compared to other aircraft, performed outstandingly as an aerial refueler which is its primary mission. Cargo, troop movement, and aerial medical evacuation were also part of mission requirements this aircraft performed through its service.

Staff Sgt. Scott E. Speck, AFRC 70th ARS flight engineer, was on board the KC-10A when he shared his thoughts about his military journey. “As a flight engineer on the KC-10, I run the systems and go through the checklists,” said Speck. “I get the jet ready and then put it to bed. We have an old girl to fly, and to look after her is what we must do.”

Speck said he found his way into this job while he was awaiting to join active duty. He said an Air Force Reserve recruiter gave a good pitch, and after a few months had passed and signatures signed, Speck was on his way.

“I look back now, and I have enjoyed every day of it. Any flying position I would say is a great experience,” said Speck. “I have done some traveling and have met some good people.  I have a good level of responsibility which gives me a great reward at the end of the day.”

According to Chief Master Sgt. Donald P. Davis, AFRC 70th ARS, chief boom operator, he has put 26 years of service in the career. He has seen jets come and go. Davis said, “A more capable aircraft may never be built compared to the KC-10A Extender. The range, fuel delivery and cargo capability are second to none.”


Another aircrew member who spends a lot of time on board the KC-10A  Extender, describes how his career as a Reserve Citizen Airmen started.

“I picked this career because I viewed it on YouTube, and I thought it would be cool,” said Staff Sgt. Jared M. Breaux, AFRC 70 ARS, boom operator. Breaux was also wanting to talk with an active-duty Air Force recruiter. “I had been talking with active-duty recruiter, and one day he wasn’t there. But there was an Air Force Reserve recruiter that day, and so we started talking,” said Breaux.

He showed the reserve recruiter the video, and the recruiter was encouraged to help him find a billet as an aircrew Airmen. Breaux worked the process with the recruiter, and he said is continuing his education in airway science disciplines.


Chief Davis explained both career minded reservists will be crossed trained over to the KC-46A Pegasus within the next two years after the last KC-10A Extender does a “Check wheels down,” at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Arizona.  The final resting place for U.S. Air Force retired aircraft is located here.

Speck reflected on what he is going to miss about the KC-10A, he responded, “I’m a little afraid of the community I am going to give up. I am in going to miss it.”  Reflecting on his time spent in the air, Speck said,” She’s a good plane. She is temperamental at times, but always in good ways. And she takes care of you.”

Breaux commented he is going to miss everything about it. “The mission is awesome. Probably the one thing I am going to miss the most is the view in the back,” he said. “Not having that window back there to just look out of and to have that contact.”

The 70th and 79th Air Refueling Squadron support the KC-10A Extender and its mission.

 The KC-10A Extender is operated by the 60th Air Mobility, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and is host to the Air Force Reserve Command, 349th Air Mobility Wing.