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ELRS Fuels Flight keeps Bagram aircraft fueled for flight

By By Sr. Airman Cierra Presentado, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing

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Aug. 27, 2015 — BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (August 25, 2015) – The 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels flight coordinates all aircraft refuels and dispatches all refueling unit operators in conjunction with 10 mission operations centers at Bagram Airfield.

The fuels flight consists of over 50 military members and civilian contractors. Nearly all of the Ingenuity and Purpose contractors have prior military experience with a background in fuels. The team is responsible for fueling all aircraft on BAF, to include transient and cargo aircraft.

“We have two teams, based on each side of the base. We mostly fuel all of our larger aircraft with a hydrant servicing system that runs under the flight line,” said John Jackson, 455th ELRS fuels technician contractor. “The other side has all of the smaller aircraft that we fuel using an R-11 fuel truck which carries 6,000 gallons of fuel.”

Upon deployment to Bagram, the contractors go through a 40-hour qualification phase where they become familiar with the airfield and their fuel trucks. Once they have passed the airfield driving test and show capability of operating the fuel trucks, they are then certified on refueling.

“With the majority of us having prior military and fuels experience, it’s easy to catch on to the process they do here. We’re all familiar with the way the military works, so being here is just like being back in the service except I’m not wearing a uniform,” Jackson said. “We all work really well with the Airmen.”

The fuels team issues 3 million gallons of jet fuel to an average of 3,500 aircraft each month. They also fuel all medical evacuation missions, ensuring on time transportation for wounded Service members.

The team goes above and beyond with their fuel call response time. Because AFCENT has a required fueling response from the time of notification until arrival at aircraft, the team here challenges itself and beats the average by 60 percent. Jackson individually beats the average by 70 percent.

“We have a great team here; they work hard to get these aircraft fueled in a timely manner,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Turner, 455th ELRS fuels operations section chief. “They’re an important part of the mission here. Without the fuels team here, the missions would come to a halt. If the planes aren’t fueled they don’t fly, without flying there is no mission.”

The base now also houses the newly established cryogenics servicing facility. The fuels management team coordinated with the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group and commissioned the secondary cryogenics facility, allowing liquid oxygen and nitrogen tanks and carts to be dispersed and properly discarded. The new facility slashed over 1,000 man hours for AGE and maintenance personnel.

With the scheduled draw down, the fuels team will slowly turn over to completely contractor run, as will most shops around BAF.

“The positions for Airmen within the fuels flight will eventually draw down completely. But for now we will continue to work with the contractors as a team and keep these planes fueled to support the mission,” said Turner.