The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.

"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.

So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.

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A smaller Air Force with aging aircraft plans to fly its KC-135 refueling tankers — eight of which are operated by the Hawaii Air National Guard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam — for another 30 to 40 years.

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The window behind Tech. Sgt. Shawn Roberge’s computer at Fairchild Air Force Base reveals a shop arranged with metal fabrication machines and tools he uses to tinker with parts for an old KC-135 Stratotanker.

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