WASHINGTON — A number of KC-135 tankers deployed to Andersen Air Force Base were damaged this week as Typhoon Maria swept through Guam, Pacific Air Forces confirmed on Friday.
“A small number of aircraft were damaged during Typhoon Maria. Operations continued after recovering from the immediate impacts of the storm. Damage assessments are ongoing,” said Lt. Col. Megan Schafer, a spokeswoman for Pacific Air Forces.
Schafer declined to comment on how many tankers were damaged by the storm or how many were currently deployed to Andersen, citing operational sensitivities. The PACAF spokeswoman also declined to comment on the extent of the damage sustained by the aircraft.
“Maintenance is underway for the AMC aircraft impacted,” Maj. Bryon McGarry, a spokesman for Air Mobility Command, told Military.com.
“Parts are available, and it is anticipated the impacted jets will return to the fleet in the near future,” he said. “While we won’t go into operational details, existing aircraft continue to ensure mission needs are met.”
Typhoon Maria started off as a Tropical Storm with maximum winds of about 70 miles per hour as it hit Guam on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, it was upgraded to a “super typhoon,” and windspeeds of 160 have been reported by Weather.com.
Air Force Magazine in June reported that six KC-135s were currently based at Andersen, including one each from the New Hampshire and Nebraska Air National Guards, two from the Alabama Air National Guard, one aircraft from MacDill AFB, Fla., and one from Tinker AFB, Okla.
However, tankers regularly rotate in and out of the theater to support the continuous bomber presence in Guam.