Air Force Jobs Include Aerial Boom Operator Specialist

The Air Force has a wide variety of aircraft and aviation equipment. Most of them have a method of refueling in flight, and the specialist that deals with operations of in flight refueling is called the Air Force refueling specialist. Another name for this Air Force Specialty is Air Force Boom Operator. This is a solid air force career! It is the person who is tasked to hook up the flying tanker with the aircraft being refueled. This equipment is in the form of a long metal arm, with different sections, called the “boom”. This is the specific reason that the job position has become nicknamed “boomer, or boom operator.”

This is a job position with a lot of flexibility; the person that serves in this position can be anyone from Airman Basic to a Chief master sergeant. The Air Force title for a KC-135 boom operator is only used for paperwork. The boomer is responsible for extending the long joined extendable metal boom that connects the KC-135 refueling tanker with the different types of aircraft. All boom operators are also cross-trained as aircraft loadmasters. As a KC-135 crewmember and boom operator, you will also be required to perform duties sometimes at other bases around the world. As a boomer, you will train and fly in missions that average four and a half hours long. In learning to become a loadmaster you will be responsible for the cargo that is carried in the tanker, and to make sure it is always tied down and secured for flight. You are tasked with the aircraft, and if your KC-135 tanker is suddenly needed at a different location, then off you go, sometimes literally with a few moments notice. You will also receive training in navigation to assist the navigation officer if maintaining and determining the geographical location of the aircraft at all times. You will have alert status periodically, that means you will be on the alert on the ground, and restricted from leaving the base. Most of the time you will serve at your home base, and have fairly routine duty.

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If you are called away, to travel to a different location, it normally is for a short duration, rarely is this type of duty more than 60 days away from your home base. Service as a refueling specialist, or “boomer” is a very specialized duty position, boomers are aviation crewmembers that undergo intense training to become experts at in flight refueling operations, under a variety of weather and flight conditions.




9 Responses to “Air Force Jobs Include Aerial Boom Operator Specialist”

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military dot image Frank Mullaney    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

My son has been at BMT in San Antonio since l/5/l0. He will go to Boom Operator training around the 7th or 8th of March. My first question is: how long is his Boom Operator traing?
I have found out that two of the overseas areas for the KC-l35 are Guam on the West Coast and Mildenhall AFB outside London.
Can you tell me the stateside areas he may be assigned to?

military dot image K.Johnson    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Boom training is about 9 months long total. McConnel is one of the biggest tanker bases state side, and there are a lot of ANG bases that fly tankers too.

military dot image Shaun    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Frank, check your sources, Guam is not a tanker base, although there are tankers constantly transiting the area. Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, and Mildenhall AB, England are the only overseas tanker bases. Stateside bases include Grand Forks AFB, ND, Fairchild AFB, WA, and McConnell AFB, KS, as well as the training base, Altus AFB, OK. These are all KC-135 bases, there are also McGuire AFB, NJ, and Travis AFB, CA, which are KC-10 bases. The entire process for a new guy to become a boom operator before being permanatly assigned to a base is only about six months, could be longer I fast tracked it, but that is a good estimate. He will probably be done around July, and on his way to one of the above bases. I have been a boom for about 8 years and have a lot of friends in the community. Good luck to him and I know he will love the job.

military dot image darrell    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I was stationed at Randolph Field, San Antonio, Tex with the 3516 Student training squadron…we trained the boom operators///they were using the KC97 air refuelers then…I didn’t go thru the boom opertor class, I kept their training records…quite a bunch of good guys…I was pround to wear the uniform back then….

military dot image darrell    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

the above post..correction…I was stationed at Randolph Field, in 1957-558& I am an old timer….

military dot image david    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Actually, it takes a bit longer than that right now, First, after he finishes BMT, he’ll stay at lackland at the 344th TRS for a couple months if he’s lucky, he has to go through aircrew fundamentals, then basic boom operator course, where he will find out where he’ll be stationed, then to survival school at Fairchild in washington, which will take him 3 weeks of training, maybe a week or 2 waiting for class/ then if he’s a -135 boom, he’ll come here to altus in oklahoma where he will most likely wait a few months for training, the way its going atm, I got here at the end of feb and start class mid-may, my class should end beginning of sept. then i’ll be off to my duty station-kadena

military dot image Raymond Seiler    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Do not forget Macdill AFB, Tampa, FL..

military dot image Dr. Lee Melby    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I have a step son by the name of Michael Trow, he is in a five year enlistment program he attempted to become a linguistics specialist but it did not work. He is a High School Grad. with great entry marks. They have him in casual status. I was a loadmaster/Boomer in the early days on KC-97 and I just encouraged him to seek a position in that realm. What does he need to do to apply?

military dot image larryf    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I’m not a recruiter nor active military, but my civilian suggestion would be to call his recruiter. They may have a recommendation. Other than that, you son may have to dictate his own future by talking to his superiors. Best, Larry

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