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
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.