Don't Worry Mom
I should clarify something. Despite calling it combat, my sorties over Afghanistan are very safe. We fly in a very low threat environment. I'm not being cavalier about it. I know the terrorists would love to take down an American warplane, but we are careful, we have good defensive systems and their weaponary is limited. The U.S. patrolled the no-fly-zones over Iraq for over a decade without losing a single aircraft. Sadam's air defenses were considered one of the best in the U.S. had ever faced and he regularly took shots at us. The terrorists in Afghanistan have very little by comparison. Don't worry, I'll be safe. The people you should should worry about are our brothers and sisters on the ground. They get shot at almost everyday. Yet, they continue to courageously fight for stability in the region. When I spoke of gun fire on the radio, it was our ground forces being attacked, not me. We were flying well above the fray. Pray for our troops, especially the brave ones on the ground, and pray for peace.
P.S. Here are two more air refueling photos from Air Force PA (Public Affairs).