Running an airborne gas station is a lot of work

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. _ Imagine trying to refill the gas tank of your car while cruising down the highway at 65 mph. Now, envision lying on your belly, looking down at the earth from about 21,000 feet through a glass window in the rear of a huge, noisy plane at about 380 mph.

Pump about 400 gallons of fuel into each of four F-16s. Do it in about four minutes per aircraft by controlling a giant metal boom with a few buttons and a joystick.

"It's kind of like a really cool video game," said Staff Sgt. Jameson Liggett, a boom operator aboard the KC-135 Stratotanker operated from the 108th Air Refueling Squadron at the Illinois Air National Guard unit based at Scott Air Force Base.

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