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August 7, 2011 / Jasmine Lee

U.S. Air Force Media Flight – Travis Air Force Base … PART I

The photos below will tell the story of my day and I hope you take the time to read the blog to maximize this awesome opportunity.

This blog post is incredibly special to me because it documents one of the most exciting and extreme once in a lifetime opportunities of my life!! On July 28th, I along with other photographers got to fly on a KC-10 Extender to photograph aerial refueling of the US Air Force Thunderbirds! This flight’s purpose was to promote the Travis Air Force Base Air Expo that was on July 30-31, 2011, as well as to inform the American Public about Travis Air Force Base’s contribution to national defense. The photographers that got to participate on this flight were mainstream television and print media photographers, aviation specialty photographers, as well as non-media photographers. Six other non-media photographers and myself were selected by LtCol Robert Couse-Baker to participate in this special event.

Our day began by meeting at 7AM at Travis Air Force Base. Since I was traveling from San Francisco, I left my house at 5:45AM to the base.

Once we were all together, we made our way to the Travis Passenger Terminal.

Here is a photo of my special media pass for the air expo. This special pass gave access to the media platform that was center stage of the air expo!

While waiting for our 10AM flight on the KC-10, we hung out in the waiting room and took some photographs. Here’s a picture of me! :p (Don’t mind the bed head, I had to wake up early ;)).

When it was time to head out to the airplane, we took a bus to our destination!

Everyone was in “awe” just seeing how big the planes were. Knowing all us photographers, we just have to shoot all the time! Even if it’s out the window πŸ™‚

Below is the KC-10 Extender that we got to fly in. Before boarding, we got to take photographs of the exterior.

The photo below is the window of where the aerial fueling station is. This window gave all us photographers the opportunity to witness aerial refueling in front of our very own eyes! You’ll soon see in the upcoming photos :).

Our refueling track was a 3 hour flight over Neveda and Utah.

This is inside the KC-10 passenger area. There’s definitely nothing glamorous about this plane but all the ruggedness just added to the experience.

When the plane took off, we were backing up. I typically get motion sickness from simulator rides and since this plane didn’t have any windows (where we sat), I felt like I was sitting in a HUGE simulator box just shaking me around. I was scared that I would be sick for the next 3 hours but thank goodness the flight was pleasant enough to where I didn’t get sick :).

In the photo below, Dave (on the left side) is the boom operator (he controls the boom “a long extendable metal arm that connects two aircraft for fuel transfer”).

The flight was pretty loud so I wore ear plugs the entire flight.

When it was time to head down to the refueling station, we had to walk across the empty cargo area which looks like this:

During our flight, we go to refuel Thunderbirds and C-17‘s. By the time it was my turn to go take photographs of the C-17, the refueling was already done :(… But I did get a sneak peak of what it looks like to sit in the belly of the plane and look out the window! We had to climb down these steep stairs that felt like basement stairs.

And once you made down the stairs, you get to see Dave. Hi Dave! Dave seriously has the coolest job ever. Well, maybe second. Photography is definitely the best job! πŸ˜‰

Seeing this made me speechless… Actually, I wasn’t really speechless. It made me want to scream in joy that I was on a KC-10, in the belly of the plane, looking out the most incredible window, ever!!!! Ahh!!!

Once I got back to my seat, one of the Air Force soldier’s gave all of us a big box of food! Whoa, hello?! FREE lunch??? Holler!!! πŸ˜€

We got a TON of food… Way more than I can expect. Water, soda, chips, fruit, sandwich, fruit bar, and a bag of M&M’s… I think I love the Air Force ;D.

Once lunch time was over, we all got to go into the cockpit!!!! Where on earth can you go into a cockpit during mid-flight?!?! The doors were ALWAYS open to the cockpit. So essentially you can go in whenever there wasn’t another photographer in there.. But wow… the cockpit……….

There were so many buttons in the cockpit that I probably wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I was a pilot :x.

Finally, it was time to refuel the Thunderbirds!! We refueled a total of 8 Thunderbirds and the refueling went pretty fast… So getting about 20 photographers down into the refueling station was a bit chaotic. We had to snap FAST and you only get about 2 minutes to shoot this. So during this time, I shot as much as I could and filmed a video (see at the bottom of blog).

Looking out the window in the cargo area, you got to see the Thunderbird’s fly right next to us!! WOW!!

As you can see, all of us photographers were trying to shoot at every window!

By the time we landed and got off the plane, the Thunderbirds were doing a few practice runs for the upcoming air expo.

Below is a C-17 about to make its landing.

Canon’s RULE?!?! πŸ™‚

After our flight, we had the opportunity to go up close and personal to the Thunderbirds. We even got to talk to a few pilots!

So, I just have to point out that Pilot #5 of the Thunderbirds, Maj. Aaron Jelinek, Lead Solo (photo on the left, below), is totally cute! Haha. He has a great smile and he even came up to talk to me… I felt like I met a celebrity!! LOL.

Notice that Maj. Aaron Jelinek’s number 5 is upside down. The reason for this is that he flies upside down in the Thunderbird majority of the time. So when he flies upside down, the numbers align perfectly with the other Thunderbird’s by his side.

This is the Pitot tube on the front of the Thunderbird. It’s used to measure the air speed of the plane.

About to touch down is a Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane. This plane was designed to fly 15,000 feet higher than any other airplane. It is one of the most difficult planes to land in the entire U.S. Military.

It has one main landing gear, in the middle of the plane. It has to land exactly straight, like landing a bicycle. The chase cars help the pilot know how far off the runway the U-2 is. Notice the white chase car in the photo below helping the U2 plane to land. (Source: James Huggin’s).

The plane landed safely :).

This experience is one to remember for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoyed my experience on this special media flight! Stay tuned for PART II of the Travis Air Expo photos!! πŸ™‚

Here is a sneak peak:

See the video of the aerial refueling I shot, here!

If the video above does not work, head over to YouTube to see the video.

I’d like to express my deepest appreciation to LtCol Robert Couse-Baker for inviting me to this event. You gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and I am truly thankful for it! πŸ™‚ THANK YOU!!!

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Leave a Comment
  1. jR / Aug 7 2011 9:37 PM

    What an incredible experience to fly with the US Air Force. The view is amazing. The US Air Force refueling is something you only see in the movies.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 2:58 PM

      Totally something you only see in movies! πŸ™‚

  2. nakean / Aug 7 2011 10:28 PM

    Great Shots! So jealous! I would have been giggling like a little boy watching those planes refuel. Thanks for recording a bit!

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 2:59 PM

      Oh I was totally giggling like a little girl ;).

  3. Stephanie / Aug 7 2011 11:44 PM

    Fantastic photos! I My fave would have to be the refueling of the Thunderbird jet with the clouds and fields in the background. πŸ™‚ Awesome! Yes, Canon’s do RULE! πŸ˜€ ahhaha This is just another wonderful photographic opportunity to add to your OMG list!

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 2:59 PM

      I love you for introducing me to photography!!! Thank you!!!

  4. Adriana Morett / Aug 8 2011 12:04 AM

    WOW! These was an incredibly cool experience!! The photos are amazing and the ppilot was really cute πŸ˜‰

  5. Jonathan / Aug 8 2011 12:23 AM

    This entire post is blowing my mind. I can’t even imagine how thrilled you must have been to be involved in this. Big congrats! The pictures seem to do the experience justice, too =)

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 3:02 PM

      It blows my mind that I was here! Thanks Jonathan!

  6. Diana / Aug 8 2011 12:24 AM

    This is awesome, Jas! Truly once in a life time. I want to scream for you too, Whoohoooo!! Some awesome shots there! Did you use a super wide angle? Look really nice.

  7. Kelven / Aug 8 2011 2:32 AM

    Amazing set of photos Jas! This must have been such an exhilarating experience especially considering you were so close to these uber expenses and top of the line air planes and fighter jets. I mean how many people in the world get a front row seat like this? haha. Thanks for sharing!

  8. joe chan / Aug 9 2011 12:55 PM

    I’m so glad you told me that you posted this. I was looking for them earlier, but then forgot. You made some really nice captures of the day. Very well documented! There was so much to shoot that day and you and I both shot a bunch! It is really hard to show just the right amount of images and you did this really well.

    It was a super day all around!!!

  9. Glen / Aug 9 2011 9:17 PM

    Just wonderful Jas!! What can I say? Well, I’m jealous, but seriously happy for you that you got to do this. Really, you should have pushed those guys from NBC out of the way, the bums! Superb series!!! Cheers!!

  10. Mikalee Byerman / Aug 12 2011 11:19 AM

    Wow. I mean, really: WOW!

    This must have been an incredible experience — I’m so glad you’ve been Freshly Pressed so that we can all share in the moments.

    Thank you!


  11. John Fanai / Aug 12 2011 11:20 AM

    Wow wow!! Incredible!

  12. abichica / Aug 12 2011 11:27 AM

    wooowwww!!! really cool pictures, what an exciting thing you got to experience.. :-).. thanx for sharing it with us

  13. thepoolman / Aug 12 2011 11:29 AM

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing. I had occasion to fly trans-Atlantic several years ago with an Air Nat Guard unit flying C-130s. I was invited to sit in the cockpit for much of the trip. I loved it.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 3:00 PM

      The cockpit is totally amazing!!! Thank you for visiting πŸ™‚

  14. hottabb / Aug 12 2011 11:47 AM

    my dad is a former pilot, so we always attend air-shows and have seen the thunderbirds…I’ve even met some of the thunderbirds pilots….due to my dad’s thoughts…flying is the most amazing profession in the world… (:

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 3:01 PM

      Seriously!!! Aviation is just amazing!!! I can totally picture myself as a pilot! Female photographer pilot! lol

  15. hottabb / Aug 12 2011 11:48 AM

    nice video as well- gorgeous views

  16. mylibrarycardworeout / Aug 12 2011 11:49 AM

    WOW – this looks like it was absolutely wonderful. it must have been such an experience. and the pictures are absolutely amazing.

  17. fani / Aug 12 2011 11:56 AM

    que fotos tan bonitas te mando este comentario desde Gran canaria.saludos Epifanio..

  18. justalittlebrit / Aug 12 2011 11:57 AM

    I was there as well!! Not in your group obviously but what an amazing day! Beautiful photos

  19. marriagecoach1 / Aug 12 2011 12:15 PM

    Canons do rule. All the prose use the white telephoto lenses. I love flying and airshows. I would give my left nut to have this photo exercise.
    John Wilder

  20. paver patio designs / Aug 12 2011 12:22 PM

    Woah these photos are awesome dude!

  21. PCC Advantage / Aug 12 2011 12:27 PM

    Oh yes…pilot #5 is VERY cute! There’s just something about a man in uniform… πŸ˜‰

    Love the photos! Thanks for sharing!

  22. JT / Aug 12 2011 12:44 PM

    Thank you Jasmine for sharing what is I’m sure a lifetime memory for you! I can only imagine the adenaline rush you had that Day! Nice job documenting this amazing experience and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  23. ournote2self / Aug 12 2011 12:44 PM

    GREAT pictures!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  24. huffygirl / Aug 12 2011 12:45 PM

    Amazing photos and an amazing experience. How cool are you? And Freshly Pressed to – go girl!

  25. realfunfood / Aug 12 2011 1:18 PM

    I used to be in AFROTC and this was the one thing I always wanted to see. AWESOME photos!!

  26. rf401 / Aug 12 2011 1:26 PM

    Awesome shots, what an opportunity!


  27. doornpa / Aug 12 2011 1:28 PM

    Hi Jasmine,

    what a beautiful pictures ! Very well done. I got to your weblog by accident but it reminded me of many years ago when I was shooting pictures of military aircraft myself. I have also been a reserve officer with the Dutch air force. But ten years ago I entered a new world, the spiritual world, which changed my life.But that’s another story.

    About twenty years ago the Thunderbirds came to Soesterberg AB in the Netherlands. By then that was the home of the 32nd TFS, the Wolfhounds, which flew with F-15 Eagles. TheThunderbirds made an enormous impression. Especially for their professionalism and fantastic flying. I can see that you have succeeded in capturing some of these moments.

    I wish you good luck with your photography,


    Paul van Doorn
    the Netherlands.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 3:06 PM

      Thank you Paul for sharing your story. I Agree, the Thunderbirds are tremendously professional and AMAZING flyers. I get a huge adrenaline rush when I watch them fly and meeting the pilots in person is just… WOW! Haha. Thanks for visiting!

  28. Martin / Aug 12 2011 1:42 PM

    Superb photos. Great experience. Very jealous! All best.

  29. Stephanie / Aug 12 2011 1:44 PM

    whoo hoo! front page on wordpress! πŸ™‚

  30. 4myskin / Aug 12 2011 1:44 PM

    These are breath taking! Soooo soooo sooooo wonderful! I love airplanes, and that would be a dream come true. Thank you so much for sharing!

  31. intelligencetrail / Aug 12 2011 1:50 PM

    Great photos and I can imagine you jumping up and down like an excited kid – or wanting to! – several times during the day πŸ™‚ I think I would be, anyway!

    Mr. X

  32. reading4meChris Langford / Aug 12 2011 2:11 PM

    Hi Jasmine,
    May I say, Your photos were incredible. Really impressive. Congradulations on being FP!!!

  33. Jonathan / Aug 12 2011 2:24 PM

    Congrats on freshly pressed, Jasmine!

  34. thedarkness54 / Aug 12 2011 2:26 PM

    You’re a very lucky individual to have a chance to take this flight. Thanks for sharing your excellent photos and for telling your story. I tried the video link, but for some reason, my browser refused to open it. Maybe next time, it’ll open without my browser pitching a fit. For now, thanks again for sharing, and congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed”.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 12 2011 3:07 PM

      Try the YouTube link :). Thank you!

      • thedarkness54 / Aug 12 2011 8:45 PM

        Yeah, after I wrote that, I scrolled back up and gave it one more try. As is my usual luck, it worked like a champ. It’s a nice video. thanks again for letting all of us come along for the ride with you.

  35. Katie / Aug 12 2011 2:53 PM

    I LOVE your photos! Thanks for posting!

  36. karmajane / Aug 12 2011 3:05 PM

    Unbelievable! Beyond exciting! Love your photos… thanks for sharing such an awesome experience!

  37. spenceey / Aug 12 2011 3:07 PM

    Incredible pictures, great to see the places where normal people wouldn’t get to shoot.

  38. ukirenci / Aug 12 2011 3:13 PM

    Amazing!! πŸ™‚

  39. David Emond / Aug 12 2011 3:45 PM

    I don’t know you, but thanks for sharing an incredible opportunity!

  40. Terry / Aug 12 2011 4:02 PM

    Wow, what an experience. Great post and photos.

  41. joccoaa / Aug 12 2011 4:05 PM

    Wow. I know some photographers and people in Australia who would be very jealous of you!

    Thankyou for sharing your great photos of a fun day.

  42. thehonestbite / Aug 12 2011 4:25 PM

    Very cool! It’s funny that I found your post Freshly Pressed because the Thunderbirds are in my town through the weekend for an airshow. πŸ™‚

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 13 2011 12:51 AM

      That’s awesome! You should definitely check out the air expo! So worth it! πŸ™‚ I’d love to see photos after too!

  43. keeweekeepaa / Aug 12 2011 5:39 PM

    Awesome photo story telling and ends with a video. Totally feels like i’m part of the experience too. Hahaha!

    Thank you for sharing!~

  44. jaykubert / Aug 12 2011 5:40 PM

    hey i really liked the post! I wanted to know how you came upon this oppertunity because i would LOVE to do this as a photographer. Best of luck-Jay Kubert
    Also check out some of my photography and tell me what you think!

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 13 2011 12:55 AM

      Thank you! I know a photographer that’s in the USAF and he was in charge of inviting the non-media photographers. I was one of them. Just keep shooting and you will progressively keep getting better! I checked your website but I didn’t see anything.

  45. livingwordcog / Aug 12 2011 6:03 PM

    Thanks for sharing the photos! Your enthusiasm really comes through. Beautiful work!

  46. R.O. Lifestyle / Aug 12 2011 6:40 PM

    Wow! So awesome! I remember sitting in the cockpit of the C-141 from Guam to Clark Air Base. Thanks for sharing your experience and wonderful work!

  47. broadsideblog / Aug 12 2011 6:53 PM

    I LOVE that you thought to include the explanation why his number 5 was printed and painted upside down…Great detail. Imagine flying upside down. Gulp.

    Great photos and what a fun, cool experience you had. I love love love airplanes.

  48. ls zhao / Aug 12 2011 7:27 PM

    first time to see soooo clear pics about American air army. thanks for sharing.

  49. adrienne82 / Aug 12 2011 7:47 PM

    That was incredible! Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  50. mykz78 / Aug 12 2011 8:17 PM

    This is amazing! \m/

  51. Nathan / Aug 12 2011 8:31 PM

    Fantastic photos! Dumb question, are these licensed by chance? If so, under what license?
    Thanks for your time.

  52. gokulraman / Aug 12 2011 8:38 PM

    These are amazing Pics… Looks you have changed a couple of lenses… Those fish eye shots are are really good.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 13 2011 1:01 AM

      I LOVE the fish eye! Such a fun and creative lens!

  53. Hilman Pevensie / Aug 12 2011 8:42 PM

    cool………its amazing.. i like it.

  54. OK Sport / Aug 12 2011 8:50 PM

    You.. lucky girl :)! Great job done!

  55. cuttiebabe123 / Aug 12 2011 8:52 PM

    would have been giggling like a little boy watching those planes refuel. Thanks for recording a

    • doris / Aug 13 2011 1:43 AM

      I Agree!

  56. achih1076 / Aug 12 2011 9:17 PM

    That must of been incredible being up there! wish i had a chance like that, thank you so much for sharing! ^^

  57. Linda / Aug 12 2011 9:22 PM

    How much fun you had! Woo Hoo great photos and I sure do love a man in a flight suit. Lucky you.

  58. Gregoryno6 / Aug 12 2011 10:09 PM

    Thanks for this excellent series of photos. I’m forwarding the link ASAP.

  59. John J. Rigo, Texas' Poet / Aug 12 2011 10:49 PM

    Congrads on being chosen for FP. Four of the best years of my life was as a administrative specialist, while a member of the U.S. Air Force on active duty (June-1959-July-1963). My first duty station was Hunter A.F.B. in Savannah, Georgia, then a SAC wing in the Air Force (June 1960-1962). One of my responsibilities was to schedule and control crew chief’s flying time on KC-97’s which were the refueling plans for B-47’s, then B-52’s at that time. The men who mained these refueling plans worked long hard mission hours each week. Many a week was a typical sixty hour week in carrying out our militaries mission in securing the safety of our great country. Those who maintain these refueling plans are truly the “best of the best,” that our country has to offer.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:17 PM

      Hi John, thank you for sharing your personal experience. It’s very interesting to learn about your past. I couldn’t agree more with how our country has the hardest workers, especially those in the military.

  60. Michelle / Aug 12 2011 11:23 PM

    Some great photos!

  61. Andy Brown / Aug 12 2011 11:37 PM

    WOW! INCREDIBLE! As gorgeous as those pics are, I think pic #6 really takes the cake! πŸ™‚
    By the way, as a person who tries balancing pic taking with video shooting, my hat’s off to you for your wisdom and insight in capturing the video of the refuelling (brilliantly) and then flicking over to pic mode and all within only a 2-minute window. Now that’s talent! Congratulations!

  62. Faiza Butt / Aug 12 2011 11:46 PM

    nice posting i like this page very much

  63. Hassaan / Aug 12 2011 11:54 PM

    i am jelous.. πŸ™‚

  64. De Rao / Aug 13 2011 12:05 AM

    Great..may I Tag cockpit picture at my Facebook please..

  65. darlene / Aug 13 2011 12:23 AM

    Wow… totally mind blowing. You are so very lucky to be there. Wish I was there but I am equally happy to have the ability to see all those stuff through your lens. Thanks a lot for sharing. Totally fantastic!!!

  66. rachaelturner / Aug 13 2011 12:51 AM

    What a fabulous experience and you have captured it wonderfully. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  67. Faiza Butt / Aug 13 2011 1:30 AM

    nice sharing

  68. Charlotte / Aug 13 2011 2:14 AM

    I’m really into planes lately and i absolutely adore thunderbirds! Fantastic pics =)
    Thanks 4 sharing and congrats for beeing fp

  69. NM / Aug 13 2011 4:44 AM

    What an astonishing blog, love all of these photos! Hopefully I’ll see more in the future!

  70. PC PHOTO / Aug 13 2011 5:11 AM

    These air show events are known for unprecedented access to craft and crew. I would love to have been your shoes for the extra access! Fabulous series of photo’s. πŸ™‚

    If you have some time stop by my archives for shots I got from the Sun ‘n Fun airshow this spring in Florida.

  71. James / Aug 13 2011 5:12 AM

    woow .. amazing photos !! I like it..

  72. Snigdha Srivastava / Aug 13 2011 5:22 AM

    amazing photographs πŸ™‚

  73. merz6 / Aug 13 2011 5:29 AM

    WOW! That’s really amazing! I didn’t knew that it is allowed, to share such precise pictures in the internet about the air force… AMAZING! Really cool shots!

  74. yateuu77 / Aug 13 2011 5:52 AM

    WOW,Very Cool

  75. ScribdUMThahzad / Aug 13 2011 5:52 AM

    good information

  76. Duddy Arisandi / Aug 13 2011 6:17 AM

    Great picture & technology. Thanksyou, Jasmine Lee.

  77. Ralph Lauren Outlet Online / Aug 13 2011 6:36 AM

    whoo hoo!

  78. battemateers / Aug 13 2011 7:05 AM

    I have flown F-16s for 14 years and been exposed to Air Force air refueling for more than 20 years. These are some of the best photos I have ever seen! Well done. And yes, “Ice” is a super nice guy. I’m sure you enjoyed “Nuke” and “Mother’s” company as well. They rock!

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:18 PM

      Thank you so much! Such an honor to hear those words… Is “Ice” #5?? πŸ˜‰

  79. Lonnie / Aug 13 2011 7:24 AM

    It’s one thing to be given an opportunity. It’s another to nail it! I am happy that you were given the opp and that you did a great job. Thanks for sharing.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  80. sophiaharcourt / Aug 13 2011 7:25 AM

    What an amazing opportunity! So jealous;). When I was in the Air Force that was where I wanted to be stationed. You captured the day beautifully. How did you get a chance to be chosen for this out of curiosity?

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:20 PM

      A good friend in the USAF choose me as one of the non-media photographers :). Read the first paragraph to see more in details :).

  81. ecosway / Aug 13 2011 7:33 AM

    very good.thanks

  82. ORPO1 / Aug 13 2011 7:35 AM

    I am an F-16 Crew Chief at Edwards AFB in the Mojave Desert.
    The pictures are great! I have linked from my WordPress blog, Among the Joshua Trees and will also have it up at my Blogger blog, Old Retired Petty Officer.
    Pictures like these should get a lot of exposure. I have friends and followers who are Retired from the Armed Forces and we do love this stuff!

    Glenn Mark Cassel
    United States Navy

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:20 PM

      So nice to have you stumble across my blog :). Thanks for sharing!

  83. DEWBERRY413 (@JGaryDewberry) / Aug 13 2011 7:52 AM

    I’ve totally enjoyed this experience through your enjoyment. Pictures and video are a bonus, congratulations on hear, speak and see combination. Thank you for the ride.

  84. theworldviastandby / Aug 13 2011 7:59 AM

    What an amazing experience!

  85. reynaldo e. sarmiento / Aug 13 2011 8:42 AM

    Wonderful photographs Jasmine! Have been a photography buff before and I think your good.

  86. Harold / Aug 13 2011 8:47 AM

    An incredibly cool experience! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being FP

  87. gaycarboys / Aug 13 2011 8:47 AM

    I know it isn’t very socialble to be jealous with a capital J but I can’t believe you got to fly in a military plane, look through a window at 10,000 metres then watch a midair refuel…. I can’t even begin to tell you how jealous I feel. You are fabulous! Thanks for sharing your terrific pics and the great story. It must have been a really brilliant day.

  88. ishootnikon / Aug 13 2011 9:20 AM

    Wow that really was an awesome shoot. You must have enjoyed it! And never mind the hair. I’d have flown in my PJ if needed!

  89. Ebob / Aug 13 2011 9:39 AM

    It must feel wonderful to get a chance to assist the US military in this propaganda effort to put a happy face on these sick tools of mass murder and destruction. It’s also reassuring for me to know that I still get to enjoy the privilege of paying for the air force to joy ride all across the country, from air show to air show, despite the fact that our government can’t even pay it’s bills.

  90. FreeFrenchandHaitianCreolePress / Aug 13 2011 10:24 AM

    Amazing job! Oh such precision and super high tech!

  91. spree / Aug 13 2011 10:51 AM

    Informative post, nice shots, indeed memorable.

  92. Rachel & Maya / Aug 13 2011 10:53 AM

    WOW. What an amazing post. Getting to go behind the scenes via your entry was such a treat. And you take stunning pictures!!

  93. avikabir / Aug 13 2011 11:20 AM

    incredible…!! Made me feel like I was flying too….:)

    I gotta photoblog here…check it out sometime…


  94. angelique523 / Aug 13 2011 11:34 AM

    KC10 and KC135 16 years. What a great blog. How cool is it that you don’t have to lay down anymore to fuel. No more sore chest. Wonderful photo journey you have provided here. Keep on blogging!

  95. Gina Trump / Aug 13 2011 11:48 AM

    Well I’ve decided to be a photographer too LOL What a memorable moments you have here.

    Keep it up!

  96. Jim Ulvog / Aug 13 2011 12:00 PM

    Awesome photography. Thank you for sharing the pix and your skill. This was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for you. WIsh I could have been on that trip.

    By the way, this is done many times a day by lots of USAF crews. What is a mind-bending display of skill and technology for us is an everyday routine for them. Kudos to the AF crews!

  97. roberthenryfischat / Aug 13 2011 2:10 PM

    thanks for the look at the chook.

  98. Klaus Kommoss / Aug 13 2011 2:40 PM

    Something about this post is absolutely captivating! I was watching like a young boy, totally absorbed. I completely forgot all my deep aversion against everything military… Just thank you for taking me along.

  99. Tar-Buns / Aug 13 2011 3:26 PM

    LOVED your journalism on a once in a lifetime opportunity! LOVE the big birds, catch whatever air shows are available, big fan of the upcoming Chicago Air and Water Show. Absolutely fantastic experience and well documented.

    Just so happens I watched Top Gun last night for the upteenth time. Wish I could fly. So in awe

    Congrats on FP. You are one of the truly deserving selections! Well done!

  100. cheap airport parking / Aug 13 2011 3:30 PM

    Superb post, great pictures and well written. I work with the kc-135, better than the kc-10 πŸ˜‰

  101. Russell / Aug 13 2011 3:44 PM

    Amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing them with everyone. πŸ™‚

  102. Tim Bonno / Aug 13 2011 4:14 PM


    WOW! What an opportunity. You are very fortunate. Your pics were fantastic and the video was terrific. Great capture of a “once in a life time” experience. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to Part II.

  103. Jennie / Aug 13 2011 5:03 PM

    My cousin Harrison Smith is a retired Air Force colonel who flew refueling planes for the better part of his career. I’m going to pass the link to this page on to him so he can relive the good old days. Your photos are absolutely stunning and I’m so envious of your cameras.

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:24 PM

      I appreciate you passing the link on. It’s so touching to hear that the retirees would be happy to see my blog πŸ™‚

  104. techtica / Aug 13 2011 5:09 PM

    thanks for the fantastic pics and cool video, keep it up

  105. Friv / Aug 13 2011 5:36 PM

    Nice blog and picture. Great Airline

  106. Todd / Aug 13 2011 5:46 PM

    You are….AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing!!! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!!!!

  107. Arjun Kapadiya / Aug 13 2011 6:30 PM

    These pictures are fantastic!
    I love everything about them. Still surprised they let you take them!

    Arjun K.

  108. **JavaGirlsLife** / Aug 13 2011 6:48 PM

    That’s incredible! I’ve seen them at several airshows and they always put on a great show! Beautiful photography as well. πŸ™‚

  109. qetula / Aug 13 2011 8:45 PM

    Thank you for sharing

  110. Avito Z. / Aug 13 2011 8:56 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience through these photos. These are incredible!!

  111. Online Games - new online games / Aug 14 2011 12:50 AM

    Some great photos!

  112. Allen Pulitzer / Aug 14 2011 1:42 AM

    cool,first time to see these amazing pics!

  113. Karl Johan / Aug 14 2011 2:33 AM

    Absolutely amazing! Thanks!

  114. ava812 / Aug 14 2011 3:23 AM


  115. Titik Temu / Aug 14 2011 3:37 AM


  116. Cliff Dobson / Aug 14 2011 3:53 AM

    Awesome opportunity! Great pictures too! I’m jealous!!!!

  117. Peter / Aug 14 2011 4:15 AM

    Even if i’m not a Friend of weapons and Military Equipment, I must say, that this is a great Story and very amazing Pictures.

  118. Raja Mesin / Aug 14 2011 4:56 AM

    Nice Posting and Amazing

  119. dennisbuckman / Aug 14 2011 5:13 AM

    What a glorious opportunity! I’m envious!

  120. Usman / Aug 14 2011 5:15 AM

    OMG! This is totally amazing.ur so damn lucky to see all this happen…i mean even when i ws seeing the photos it looked so amazing!
    im a tech blogger:

  121. jimmurphy66 / Aug 14 2011 5:21 AM

    This post was great! I missed the airshow last year at Westover AFB in Chicopee, MA.

    This post made up for it!! Fantastic images kid!

  122. Greg / Aug 14 2011 5:37 AM

    Jas, Great photos. I am glad you had a chance to experience what I know was the best job I ever had while in the Air Force Reserves. I have refueled the Thunderbirds and many other aircraft’s. I was the Chief Boom Operator on KC-10s before I retired and I Loved my job!!

    I would like to share this link with some of my retired and current boom operators that I am still in touch with.

    CMSgt (Retired)
    Chief Boom Operator

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:25 PM

      So awesome for you to come across my blog!! You have the second best job :D. Thanks for passing the link on!

      • grejones1 / Aug 15 2011 7:40 PM

        Jas, My pleasure. You are an awesome photographer!!

  123. mewithmycamera / Aug 14 2011 6:11 AM

    this is awesome, wow!

  124. thoughtfactory / Aug 14 2011 6:23 AM

    Nice photos. Liked the inverse 5 concept πŸ™‚ … i too am crazy about aircraft and so i sketched a few on my blog — and

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:25 PM

      Really nice sketches!! They seriously look real!!

  125. Great Photomark great job

  126. One Hundred & 80 Days / Aug 14 2011 6:46 AM

    Absolutely wonderful. What an amazing job these men and women do for our country. I would have felt like I had seen a celebrity too! Wonderful pictures, you really told the story of your experience.

  127. Dr. Greg Meyer / Aug 14 2011 7:06 AM

    Excellent job showing behind the scenes pix……and nice pix of the other photogs getting pictures too.

  128. Imaginarium of Pau / Aug 14 2011 7:11 AM

    Whoa, cool photos! The photos says a lot more than any narration on this kind of adventure. Nice!

  129. ineffablemuse / Aug 14 2011 7:29 AM

    Wow your pictures and video are amazing, what a great photographer you are!

  130. Rolando Correa / Aug 14 2011 7:57 AM

    Great photos! I’m in the Air Force and I don’t even get to experience this….

  131. austrianwriter / Aug 14 2011 7:58 AM

    Hi, congratulation tho this very great post πŸ˜‰

    I would have loved to be there too πŸ™‚

  132. θ€θ™Ž / Aug 14 2011 7:59 AM

    recall my child time when i made all the f16 models with thunderbird paintings.

  133. ekoprastyo20 / Aug 14 2011 8:09 AM

    one word : amazing πŸ™‚
    i’m very like with your colection photo’s ,..

  134. I Made You A Mixtape / Aug 14 2011 8:23 AM

    This truly is one of the most amazing set of photos I have ever seen… on any blog. A winsdow to a world few of us ever have the chance to witness. So, so, so impressive. Excellent pics and video clip. I am not the world’s best flyer-so I have to say I would’ve been pretty freaked out but…. this was amazing!

  135. Gerber Collision & Glass / Aug 14 2011 8:48 AM

    We think you hit the jackpot with the Chips and Pepsi! Thank you for sharing with us, the photo’s are truly one of a kind!

  136. ORPO1 / Aug 14 2011 9:15 AM

    My friend, Buck, loved this when I linked it.
    He is Retired Air Force.

  137. Graciela Tiscareno-Sato / Aug 14 2011 9:25 AM

    Jasmine, I served as aircraft navigator on the KC-135 in the ’90s. As a crewmember, I’ve seen just about every airplane “parked” off the wing and in the back gassing up…but we never refueled the Thunderbirds. I LOVED stumbling upon your blog today and enjoying your photographic gifts. Thanks so much. Will share with my USAF buddies!

    Graciela TiscareΓ±o-Sato
    Captain, USAF Reserve

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:27 PM

      I feel very fortunate to have witness the refueling of Thunderbirds. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  138. jimkane / Aug 14 2011 11:31 AM

    Awesome pics Jasmine! Thanks for sharing this!

  139. srqpix / Aug 14 2011 12:14 PM

    One of the best photography post ever!

  140. Inspiration / Aug 14 2011 3:20 PM

    Great post thanks for sharing

  141. / Aug 14 2011 3:38 PM

    Wonderful images, congratulations!

  142. Noel Tendick / Aug 14 2011 3:39 PM

    Fantastic post – great photos to go with a great experience. Fighter pilot dreams were a huge part of my childhood – I’ll probably never get to do anything like this, so I appreciate you bringing us all along.

  143. Jessica / Aug 14 2011 4:40 PM

    I saw this post on WordPress’s ‘freshly pressed’ and just had to come over! I love airplanes so this was a treat to get to see! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  144. Gamin Savant / Aug 14 2011 6:24 PM

    Great series, Jasmine. Took me back to my own Air Force days. Thanks for sharing.

  145. Julio Eiffelt R R / Aug 14 2011 6:43 PM

    Great Photos. there must be a awesome.., seeing refueling in person. lot of buttons and stick on that plane .

  146. Jasmine Lee / Aug 14 2011 7:30 PM

    THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for visiting my blog! I am overwhelmed in joy seeing the amount of responses that has come through. It really is an honor to share my vision with the world and to help Travis AFB gain the exposure they deserve. Thank you to those that have shared your experiences with me. They all touched my heart. You all are so wonderful! πŸ™‚ Thank you!!!

  147. golfing1234 / Aug 14 2011 9:53 PM

    hi i love planes so this was my cup of tea

  148. Erich S.W. Shih / Aug 14 2011 11:59 PM

    Hello, I shared the similar flight for 3 times. Here is my second in-flight refueling trip.
    Probably you can’t read the article, please enjoy the pictures.


  149. MΓ¨o Lười Việt / Aug 15 2011 12:24 AM

    US technology is magnificent. But US citizens 30 years ago looked trimmer than US citizens nowadays. Maybe that’s because you eat too much processed food. πŸ™‚

  150. dimyatimohammad / Aug 15 2011 1:04 AM

    Amazing, I Like it…

  151. Ady / Aug 15 2011 2:21 AM

    Must of been an amazing day, brilliant collection of pictures.

  152. mannaismayaadventure / Aug 15 2011 3:55 AM

    Dear Ms. Jasmine Lee,

    Thanks for the beautiful images……Great Jobs.
    I am sure you don’t mind I published on my Blog.
    Again thank you very much.

    Wish you the best (Yappy)

  153. Anna / Aug 15 2011 4:30 AM

    Such fantastic pictures! Thank you for sharing.

  154. Julio A. / Aug 15 2011 4:38 AM

    Nice clean photos and a very interesting to see all these planes in the inside and outside. Nice experience.

  155. backalleymomma / Aug 15 2011 6:00 AM

    Anything to do with the air force I am particularly interested in because my son is in the navey & plans to go into central intelligence when he’s done. A good photographer takes lots of photo’s, great job!

  156. HalFrontandCenter / Aug 15 2011 6:01 AM

    I was once assigned to a midair refueling wing of the air national guard, based in Pittsburgh, PA. The unit flies the KC-135. One main difference between the 135 and the KC-10 is that in the 135, the boom operator is actually laying horizontal as he refuels the planes. I got to go up and watch them in action, and it was an awesome experience. So I know you had a blast!

  157. Kallike / Aug 15 2011 6:06 AM

    Thank you Jasmine for the beautiful USAF pics and story. Like some others have commented, it was a blast from the past for me from my days as a zoomie

  158. dhphotosite / Aug 15 2011 6:42 AM

    Wow what an experience!! Outstanding photography !! I like your vision.

  159. milezaway / Aug 15 2011 11:14 AM

    Loving the pictures, great images

  160. Frank / Aug 16 2011 4:15 AM

    That was incredible. so awesome!

  161. trialsinfood / Aug 16 2011 12:22 PM

    wow, what a great opportunity! and no motion sickness with free lunch is a bonus! personally, i like pilot #2. πŸ˜‰

  162. erika / Aug 17 2011 9:52 AM

    amazing, amazing!!! hehe i see there were a lot of 70-200mms out there… i’m so proud of you!!

  163. bigeyedbob / Aug 17 2011 12:19 PM

    wow. you have some brilliant pictures. wish I had the chance to go on those planes. Would be an exciting day.

    From Shane @

  164. Ray Perez / Aug 17 2011 12:53 PM

    Amazing opportunity. Great shots and Canon does rule!

  165. cece678 / Aug 17 2011 9:31 PM

    All I was thinking was….buttons! Must press buttons! I loved the shots!

  166. Sasha / Aug 19 2011 8:50 AM

    Amazing photos! I really like the one with the pilot refueling his jet.

  167. pause / Aug 21 2011 7:42 AM

    nice pictures

  168. Joseph / Nov 16 2011 8:58 PM

    those were some pretty cool pics! i actually found this page because i googled boom operator since i just found out thats the job i’m going to be doing in the Air Force!


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