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Airman hospitalized after lightning strike at McConnell AFB

McConnell Air Force Base (U.S. Air Force/Released)
May 05, 2022

A U.S. Air Force Airman at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas was injured after lightning struck nearby on Wednesday.

In a statement to American Military News, a spokesperson for the base said the Airman was working near the flight line on the base when lightning struck nearby. The spokesperson said the Airman’s coworkers called for the base’s emergency services immediately after the strike.

The Airman was conscious when first responders arrived and completed an initial assessment and the service member was transported to a nearby hospital to undergo further evaluation and treatment.

The base did not identify the Airman or provide any updates on the Airman’s condition as of Thursday.

KSNW reported other lightning-related injuries throughout Sedgewick County — which encompasses McConnell Air Force Base — on Wednesday. Sedgewick County Dispatch told the local news channel there had been three reports of people being injured by lightning as of 4:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday. One person was reported as being in serious condition, while another was reported as having minor injuries. The condition of the third reported person was unknown.

McConnell Air Force Base was established in 1951. Prior to becoming an official Air Force Base, the property served as the Wichita Municipal Airport. During the Cold War era, McConnell Air Force Base trained B-47 Stratojet bomber crew and hosted the 381st Strategic Missile Wing, which operated 18 Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos. The base also hosted the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing from 1962 to 1964.

McConnell Air Force Base now primarily serves to support the Air Force’s aerial refueling and airlift operations. The base is home to the Air Force Air Mobility Command’s 22nd Air Refueling Wing, which also serves as the base’s host wing. McConnell Air Force base is also home to the Air Force Reserve Command’s 931st Air Refueling Wing and the 184th Intelligence Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard.

In total, the base maintains and operates 37 KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft and 20 KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling and transport aircraft.