The 26 AREFS flew worldwide air refueling operations from 1952-61. The 26th AREFS's KC-97s refueled F-84G fighters from the 506th Strategic Fighter Wing participating in the Operation Longstride in Aug 1953. They refueled seventeen F-84Gs from Turner AFB, Georgia to RAF Lakenheath, Great Britain during a non-stop 4,485-mile trip. During the second phase of Operation Longstride in October 1953, the 26th helped refuel eight F-84s of the 31st Strategic Fighter Wing from Turner AFB, Georgia to Nouasseur Air Base, French Morocco. The aircraft covered 3,800 miles in 10 hours and 20 minutes, thanks to in-flight refueling by brand-new SAC KC-97s in the vicinity of Bermuda and the Azores. Crews and aircraft from the 26th deployed to Lajes AB Portugal in September 1954 for 45 days to refuel RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft. They continued to support training in air refueling for B-47 and B-52 crews as well as deploying to bases in Newfoundland and Greenland. Aircraft and crews were at Sondrestrom, Greenland, when JFK was assinated, to guard against any potential "sucker punch" that the USSR might try while our country grieved.