Page 1

News/Features: page 2

A military family’s story

News/Features: page 3


Week in photos: page 4

Images from the week

Community: page 11

Events, Chapel, more...

A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, is positioning to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill AFB, within the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility, June 18. The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. As part of the Air Force Global Strike Command, the B-52 enables combat-ready forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant commanders.

Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin


Pride and perseverance: A military family’s story

It’s 2014 and Staff Sgt. Kasey Bumgardner is sitting alone in a terminal at a transient base in Afghanistan waiting for a flight to see Sebastian, her baby boy, born just a few months earlier.

The terminal is crowded, and she is faced with the choice to delay another 28 days or wait around the clock for an open spot on a flight home. Sleeping on the floor of a terminal, checking and rechecking flights, living off the excitement to finally meet Sebastian; this was an easy choice for Kasey.

If only getting to that point in Kasey’s life was as simple. Just ask her wife.

Now Master Sgt. Kasey Bumgardner-Gaines, diagnostics and therapeutics flight chief assigned to the 6th Medical Support Squadron, and her wife Staff Sgt. Ashley Bumgardner-Gaines, assigned to the 6th Comptroller Squadron, share their story As the team works through being a dual-military family and navigating policy to be able to get married and have their son, Sebastian.

Their story starts prior to the repeal of the U.S. Military Policy called, “Don’t Ask, Don’t

U.S Air Force Airman Basic Ashley Bumgardner-Gaines participates in a retreat ceremony during her Basic Military Training graduation, Sept. 28, 2017, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. During BMT recruits are trained in the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in the operational Air Force including, basic war skills, military discipline, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, Air Force core values, and a comprehensive range of subjects relating to Air Force life. See FAMILY, Page 10


The Action Line provides two-way communication between the 6th Air Refueling Wing commander and the MacDill community. Personnel may submit questions, concerns or comments via email to or Facebook @6thARWCommandTeam

MacDill Thunderbolt

Publisher: Joe Deluca

Editor: Nick Stubbs

The MacDill Thunderbolt is published by the Times Publishing Company, a private firm in no way connected with the U.S. Air Force. This commercial enterprise newspaper is an authorized publication for distribution to members of the U.S. military services on MacDill. Contents of the MacDill Thunderbolt are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense,

the Department of the Air Force or the 6th Air Refueling Wing.

The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense, the Department of the Air Force, 6th Air Refueling Wing or the Publishing Company of the products or service advertised.

For retail advertising, call (813) 226-3318.

Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron.


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News items for the MacDill Thunderbolt can be submitted to the 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs office, 8208 Hangar Loop Dr., suite 14, MacDill , FL 33621. Call the Thunderbolt at 828-2215. :

Deadline for article submissions is noon, Wednesdays to appear in the next week’s publication. Articles received after deadline may be considered for future use. All submissions are considered for publication based on news value and timeliness.

Every article and photograph is edited for accuracy, clarity, brevity, conformance with the “Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual” and Air Force Instruction 35-101.

Courtesy photo


LeMay Center, AMC announce major update to Air Mobility Operations Doctrine

The Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education and Air Mobility Command collaborated on significant revisions to the just-released Air Force Doctrine Publication 3-36, Air Mobility Operations, reflecting the service’s renewed commitment to maneuverability and lethality.

The publication’s first major revision in five years also reflects the evolving strategic environment and re-emphasizes the importance of the joint functions of maneuver, sustainment and command and control. These principles are critical to preparing the mobility air forces to effectively position the joint force for advantage and deliver lethal effects at the tempo required for victory, said AMC’s commander.

Highlighting the publication’s release, Gen Mike Minihan, AMC Commander stressed, “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics, the victors study maneuver.” Remarking on the efforts to update the doctrine he

See LEMAY Page 9

Lakenheath Airman stays ready inside, outside octagon

RAF LAKENHEATH, England—From the mixed martial arts octagon to the 48th Security Forces Squadron, Senior Airman Alanso Sanchez exemplifies how a fighter’s discipline and resilience can elevate military excellence.

Before enlisting into the U.S. Air Force, Sanchez fought as a professional MMA fighter. Today, he utilizes the techniques and mindsets honed in the octagon to enhance his effectiveness as a defender. Sanchez believes his biggest takeaways from the mat to be attention to detail, effective communication skills, and the ability to rapidly respond.

“Mixed martial arts taught me the importance of staying calm under pressure,” Sanchez explains. “Whether I’m in a high-stress situa-

tion in the octagon or dealing with a frustrated customer at pass and registration, the principles are the same: stay calm, stay focused, and communicate clearly.”

In his daily operations, particularly when dealing with pass and registration customers on base, Sanchez uses the calm demeanor and assertive communication skills developed through years of fighting. The patience and control required in MMA translate perfectly to handling many customer service interactions, to include stressful scenarios, Sanchez shared how he purposefully ensures every encounter at his work station is managed with professionalism and efficiency.

Sanchez’s commitment to service extends beyond his official duties. In his free time, he volunteers and teaches classes in brazilian jiu-

See OCTAGON, Page 8

U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Tristen Miller
A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 121st Air Refueling Wing refuels a C-17 Globemaster III during sunset, May 30. The KC-135 enables the C-17’s mission of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area.
Photo by Senior Airman Renee Nicole S.N. Finona
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alonso Sanchez, 48th Security Forces Squadron pass and registration clerk, spars at Blue Wave Martial Arts.


U.S. Air Force Col. Adam Bingham, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, left, passes the 6th Medical Group (MDG) guidon to the group’s newest commander, Col. Elizabeth Somsel, during a Change of Command ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base June 18. As commander of the 6th MDG, Somsel will oversee administrative, logistical and ancillary medical support that serves the 6th ARW, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and over 50 tenant units at MacDill.

U.S. Air Force Col. Adam Bingham, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, right, passes the 6th Mission Support Group (MSG) guidon to the group’s newest commander, Col. Robert Magee, right, during a Change of Command ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base June 17. As commander of the 6th MSG, Magee will oversee civil engineering, communications, contracting, logistics, mission support and security forces for MacDill.

This graphic illustration celebrates the 101st anniversary of air refueling capabilities. The first successful air refueling occurred on June 27, 1923, when a DH-4B carrying Army Air Service lieutenants Virgil Hine and Frank W. Seifert passed gasoline through a hose to another DH-4B flying beneath piloted by lieutenants Lowell H. Smith and John P. Richter. MacDill Air Force Base is home to the 6th Air Refueling Wing and its core mission is to accelerate global airpower by providing air refueling, airlift, and air base support.

Photo by Airman Monique Stober
Photo by Airman Monique Stober
U.S. Air Force graphic illustration by Airman 1st Class Alicia Campbell

U.S. AF Phoenix Raven are entrusted to detect, deter, and counter threats to Mobility Air Force aircraft.

(Clockwise from above) A Phoenix Raven assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron dawns equipment onboard a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 155th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. Ravens assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron pose for a photo onboard a C-17 Globemaster III, and Ravens assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron complete a pre-flight briefing onboard a C-17 Globemaster III.

U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing sits on the flight line during a Nuclear Staff Assistance Visit at MacDill Air Forc reinforce an effective nuclear response and maintain a modern, flexible and always ready nuclear deterrent force.

Nuclear Staff Assistance visit strengthens Air Mobility Command’s nuclear force

story and photos by Airman Monique Stober 6th Air Refueling Wing

Airmen from the 6th Air Refueling Wing participated in a Nuclear Staff Assistance Visit (NSAV) on June 12-14.

“We like to think of the NSAV as a spring game for the fall football season,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jaymes Trimble, the 6th Operations Group Nuclear Trainer attached to the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “The staff from Air Mobility Command comes down to shadow us during the exercise and gives us pointers to really get us ready.”

Exercises like NSAV a im to impr ove aircrew members’ readiness and survivability, putting members in an environment that not only accelerates change but strengthens MacDill as a whole

“MacDill’s role in the mi ssi on is on e of su pp ort,” sa id Tri mb le. “Our primary mission here is to support aircraft through air refueling, whether it be command control support aircraft or ultimately the bomber aircraft.”

The NSAV provides servi ce me mbe rs wi th the sk ills the y nee d to succeed in the mission.

“We want to know how respond to any potential future conflicts and let our enemies at large know that we are ready for the fight,” said Trimble “The biggest thing we hope to learn from this exercise is how we can do better and how we can effectively reduce our response timing and prepare our new aircrew members to be the tip of the spear,” said Trimble

NSAV employs global operations in coordination with other combatant comman ds, ser vic es, appropriate U. S. government agencies, and allies to deter, detect and, if necessary, defeat strategic attacks against the United States and its allies.

“We want to show our adversaries that we are still practicing this capability that’s been around since the 1950s,” said Trimble “We have continued to strengthen those capabilities and we don’t see this mission going away anytime soon.”

Each service member plays a key role in supporting MacDill’s mission. The service members that ma ke up th es e crew s ar e entr usted with an immense amount of responsibility and knowledge but continue to excel in their mission. “These exercises are made to help us get better and see our faults,” said Airman 1st Class Ishrael Martinez, a crew ch ief assig ned to the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “I f something were to potentially happen, it’s really good for us to be able to fall back on something we have already done before.”

such as the NSAV help to

(Above) U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Levi Hitson, a crew chief assigned to the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, left, speaks with Master Sgt. John Bowden, 6th AMXS flight line expeditor, right, about operation readiness during a Nuclear Staff Assistance Visit at MacDill Air Force Base June 12. Exercises such as the NSAV help to reinforce an effective nuclear response and maintain a modern, flexible and always ready nuclear deterrent force.

(Left) U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, sits on the flight line during a Nuclear Staff Assistance Visit at MacDill Air Force Base June 12. Exercises such as the NSAV help to strengthen and maintain the Air Mobility Command’s powerful, moder n and ready nuclear force.

rce Base June 12. Exercises

jitsu and kickboxing, sharing his expertise and passion for martial arts with fellow Airmen and the local community

“Mixed martial arts taught me the importance of staying calm under pressure.”

- Senior Airman Alonso Sanchez

His classes are more than just physical training sessions; they are opportunities for students to learn discipline, build confidence, and develop self-defense skills.

“Teaching MMA is my way of giving back,” Sanchez says “It has given me so much and I want to share that with others. It’s also a great way to build camaraderie.”

Photo by Senior Airman Renee Nicole S.N. Finona
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alonso Sanchez, 48th Security Forces Squadron pass and registration clerk, teaches an S-mount at Blue Wave Martial Arts, Bury St. Edmunds, England, April 3. An S-mount is a commonly used Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique to keep control of the opponent’s arms and shoulders.


From Page 3

added, “This version of AFDP 3-36 pushes the envelope in recognizing what the mobility air forces bring to the fight and how we elevate the lethality of the joint team. It includes new sections on command and control, maneuver, the key role air mobility plays in deterrence operations, and critical lessons learned from Operation Allies Refuge, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and recent operations in Israel. Our future challenge demands close reading of this document and thinking about how to fight.”

AFDP 3-36 underscores that air mobility operations are a fundamental extension of airpower—the capability to project military power through control and exploitation in, from and through the air. This updated doctrine aligns with the realities of great power competition and is the first in a series of major service doctrine updates designed to prepare the Air Force for future conflicts.

The LeMay Center is responsible for the development, dissemination and implementation of Air Force doctrine. It is conducting a full doctrine review in support of the Air Force re-optimization for Great Power Competition.

Tell” (DADT) which prohibited non-heterosexual members from disclosing their sexual orientation and included a prohibition on same-sex marriages. While some thought it was a reasonable way to give members of the LGBTQ+ community an opportunity to serve in the military, others opposed it because LGBTQ+ members could only do so if they kept their sexual orientation silent and invisible. Under the policy, over 10,000 service members were discharged.

Kasey was almost one of them.

“I was being investigated at the time due to my sexual orientation,” said Kasey. “My family and friends were being questioned. Then one day it just stopped, and I never heard anything about it again.”

The reason it stopped was the repeal of DADT in September of 2011. This allowed members of the LGBTQ+ community to serve freely without reprimand due to their orientation. It opened the doors for these service members to marry, start families, receive benefits and to be authentic and open coworkers, wingmen and battle buddies.

So, as DADT ended, Kasey’s relationship with Ashley began.

Kasey didn’t have to make a choice between her service to her country and her love for Ashley As their relationship flourished, they could share their excitement with friends, families and coworkers.

Soon, Ashley and Kasey would be married and began looking for donor options to start a family of their own and, after a few months, a potential donor agreed.

“Everything happened very quickly,” said Ashley. “We inseminated in October, I found out I was pregnant in November.”

But, like many military families, timing isn’t perfect, and it was shortly after their marriage when Kasey was called to deploy. With Ashley pregnant, Kasey’s anxiety was at an all-time high, but throughout her deployment, her team never stopped supporting her.

Had DADT been the policy, Kasey wouldn’t have had the support. Instead, as she was serving her country in a foreign land, her service commitment would not interfere with her ability to provide for her growing family.

“My coworkers were very supportive They even threw me a baby shower in Afghanistan,” said Kasey. “My leadership would check in with me because they knew I had a baby on the way.”

“Initially, when asked when the baby was due, people would be very confused just from what they heard passing through,” said Kasey. “‘How was a female member pregnant and deployed?’, they would wonder, but that’s understandable. When Sebastian was born in June, they set me up in a private room for two days with Skype so I could be there as much as possible.”

And that’s how Kasey ended up on that floor of the transient terminal, waiting to find a spot on a flight home to meet her son.

Through their journey of being a dual military same-sex couple, Kasey and Ashley feel that there are few, if any, negatives in their careers due to being in a same-sex marriage.

“I think it is mostly awkwardness at the beginning. People assume my spouse is a male

photo Kasey and Ashley Bumgardner-Gaines pose for their first family photo after the birth of their son in November 2014. Kasey was deployed to Afghanistan throughout Ashley’s pregnancy from April to October 2014.

and I just correct them, but after the initial understanding, everyone goes about normally,” said Kasey.

Nearly 13 years after the repeal of DADT, June serves as the month to celebrate the members of the LGTBQ+ community, like the Bumgardner-Gaines family, and all allies who have served proudly.

“The Air Force is heading in the right direction as far as inclusivity and diversity,” said Ashley. “Pride Month may be 30 days, but finding ways to include people who may feel marginalized, invisible, or isolated is a year-round challenge.”





of July


For a full list of 6th FSS program facilities, food and beverage, and recreational facility closures, visit

Kids Bowl Free

MacDill Lanes has partnered with Kids Bowl Free, a program designated to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this spring and summer Register your child(ren) to receive two free games of bowling at MacDill Lanes through Aug. 11. To register and review terms, visit center.php?alley_id=6553

Tap to Pay now available

All eight 6th FSS Food Beverage locations now accept contactless payments, including Apple Pay & Google Pay! Stop by today and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. For a list of facilities and menus visit,

Family Fun Night

Join the fun at MacDill Lanes & Family Fun Center for “Kids Night” Family Fun Night on July 12 from 5-9 p.m. Enjoy a DJ, cartoon movies, cosmic bowling, and goody bags (while supplies last). Don’t miss the $7.95 kids buffet (12 and under), $2 games, and affordable shoe rentals: $3 for adults and $2 for kids. Visit JulyFFN_24.pdf for more information.

ALS grads

Graduates of Airman Leadership School, pose with their awards, June 27 at MacDill Air Force Base. ALS is a five-week course encompassing lessons in the principles of supervision and management, the importance of communication and military professionalism.


Normal Hours- Monday - Friday - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m After hours chaplain, call the Command Post at 828-4362/4361.

Monday-Wednesday Mass - 12:10 p.m

Catholic Mass - Sunday - 9:30 a.m. (confessions by appointment)

Protestant services - Sunday - 11 a.m. Contact the Chapel at 828-3621 or email at for inquiries regarding Protestant religious education.

Jewish - Monthly Lunch and Learn: For schedule & to join distro, please contact

Islamic Service - Friday 1:30 p.m (space reserved)

Other Faith Groups - Please contact the Chapel at (813) 828-3621 or via email at

Find more events at:

For more details and information, visit the Chapel Facebook page at http://www.facebook/6amwhc/ or MacDill’s Chapel website is:

Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin

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