RAF Mildenhall KC-135 aircraft supports Operation Juniper Micron

The first of two KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft and approximately 50 support Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, U.K., have temporarily deployed to Moron Air Base, Spain, to continue support of Operation Juniper Micron.

RAF Mildenhall KC 135 aircraft supports Operation Juniper Micron A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England (Picture source: US Air Force)

Operation Juniper Micron was the name given to US operations to support French combat operations in Mali. The French intervention, codenamed Operation Serval, had come after significant gains by an insurgent coalition of Tuareg tribesmen and Islamist militants in Mali following a military coup against President Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012. The coup, combined with other crises in North Africa stemming from the Arab Spring, notably the violent overthrow and killing of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, provided an opening for these groups, which had been long opposed to the government in Mali.

The U.S. Air Force has supported the French operation in Mali and North Africa since 2013.

The U.S. Air Force routinely rotates aircraft in and around the theater in support of operations and exercises and in full coordination with host nations, allies, and support partners. By supporting operations like Juniper Micron, USAFE helps strengthen the relationship the U.S. has with its ally nation, France.