News: POL ensures jets are fueled, pilots aren’t pedestrians
Story by Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The diverse group of airmen currently deployed to the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight are responsible for servicing fixed wing aircraft whether it is airlift, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support or any other aircraft that may need to stop through Bagram Air Field.
Also known as POL, or petroleum, oil and lubricants, they go about their mission fueling aircraft and subscribe to a couple mottoes all their own as they recognize that "without fuel, pilots are pedestrians."
“I have the privilege of leading some of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing’s, and Air Force's, most professional organized leaders,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Prince, 455th ELRS fuels superintendent, deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. “Not all career fields can take airmen from six different bases, along with contractors that served in all branches of the military, and form a cohesive team within days of arriving on site; and make a diverse mission like the one at Bagram happen as smoothly as they have.”
Air Force service members along with Air Force Contract Augmentation Program contractors are currently using two Type III hydrant systems, or pressurized servicing underground pipelines, along with R-11 refuelers that deliver Russian Grade TS-1 fuel, similar to JP-8, additized with fuels system icing inhibitor, corrosion inhibitor and static dissipater additives.
A typical fuels run begins when a controller from the fuels service center issues a clipboard and checklist to a mobile refueling operator who takes his/her truck to the flightline to refuel an aircraft. The FSC is the nerve center of all fuels operations and responsible for coordinating with 11 maintenance operations centers on fuel requests,
The FSC tracks inventories to ensure fuel is available to meet air tasking order requirements and maintains accountability of its 54 personnel, which are vital to sustaining operations with the periodic rocket threat here, Prince said.
Senior Airman Robert Ellis, 455th ELRS refueling unit operator, deployed from Holloman AFB, N.M., shared the following about what he does.
“I think people should know POL is a great job,” said Ellis, a native of Gladstone, Mo, who’s been in the Air Force more than two years. “POL is not necessarily physically demanding, it's just meticulous work. We have lots of things to pay close attention to during a fueling operation.”
POL currently issues an average of 5.5 million gallons of fuel each month to 5,000 sorties. They also receive, store and issue cryogenic products, or liquid oxygen. Doing that involves a little bit more than a normal duty station since they receive LOX from another location within the area of responsibility via 400-gallon tanks and then transfer it to a larger tank on site, Prince said.
“We also facilitate the movement of LOX tanks to other sites in the AOR due to special handling when loading and unloading from aircraft,” said Prince, a 19-year Air Force veteran from Newport, Tenn. “Additionally, we have a fuels lab along with personnel on site that are responsible for ensuring we are issuing clean, dry fuel to all of our customers.”
POL looks after their people, in doing so they embrace another motto, ‘the ultimate weapon runs off of water, everything else runs off of fuel.’
“You see us on the flightline in ‘big green trucks’, but what most don't realize is POL is a family and brotherhood all airmen would be proud to be a part of,” Prince said.
Date Posted:09.24.2013 07:11
Location:BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF
Hometown:BERNICE, OK, US
Hometown:ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SD, US
Hometown:GLADSTONE, MO, US
Hometown:GLOBE, AZ, US
Hometown:HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, NM, US
Hometown:HUDSON, OH, US
Hometown:NEWPORT, TN, US
Hometown:SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC, US