Thursday, January 30, 2014

TOP STORY>>Fueling the mission

By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing Fuels Management Flight has gone above and beyond this past year. The team of Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen play a vital part in the base’s mission. After all, without this group of 81 Airmen, Little Rock’s C-130s wouldn’t even be able to leave the ground.

The 19th Airlift Wing Fuels Management Flight recently won the 2013 William H. Penton American Petroleum Institute Award, placing them as the best in AMC. They will next compete for the American Petroleum Institute Award at the Air Force level. Even while overcoming obstacles, the flight provided outstanding direct mission support, innovative management and quality of life programs.

The 19th LRS fuels management flight’s first priority is getting fuel to Air Force planes safely. Performing nearly 9,000 refuels in 2013 enabled the base’s eight flying squadrons to achieve their mission objectives effectively.

Although fuel operators are allotted 30 minutes to respond to an aircraft, the fuels flight at the 19th LRS averages an impressive 8-minute response time. In 2013, fuel distribution operators on base pumped more than 20 millions of gallons of jet fuel.

Master Sgt. Jonathan Neely, fuels operations section chief, went on to discuss direct mission support. Not only has fuel been provided for combat airlift and training purposes, but humanitarian efforts have been supported as well.

“We provided 30 thousand gallons of jet fuel to assist 15 aircraft in the relief of Hurricane Sandy,” he said.

Disaster relief wasn’t the only challenge that the fuels management flight tackled this past year. A major change occurred in the way The Rock received its fuel. The flight’s management of the problem displayed resilience.

“We stopped receiving pipelined fuel for economic reasons. Our secondary receipt mode (tank trucks) became our primary, it took logistical juggling to accommodate the trucks. However, there was no negative impact to the mission,” said Senior Master Sgt. Josh Fry, fuels superintendent. The flight’s efforts enabled the arrival of over 800 tanks trucks, keeping 6 million gallons of fuel flowing to the base.

The fuels management flight was not only recognized for their outstanding work ethic. Exemplary quality of life programs and well-rounded Airmen made them a step above the rest. Neely attributed the success of the fuels management flight to “Airmen doing their job, and then some.”

Just over the span of a year, the flight volunteered 4,000 total hours to squadron, wing and local activities. Additionally, the flight had two distinguished Airman Leadership school graduates, two below-the-zone winners and ten Community College of the Air Force degrees were earned.

One fuels distribution operator, Senior Airman James Brooks, said his favorite part about working at The Rock is having the knowing that he holds a key role in the mission.

“What we do is put fuel in airplanes, and Airmen are at the tip of that spear,” Neely said.

The future of the fuels management flight is bright. Since the flight has won the William H. Penton award, they are now eligible for Air Force level awards.

Neely summed up how the flight feels about contributing to The Rock’s mission. “We support several different MAJCOMS here: Air Mobility Command, Air Education Training, the Guard and Reserve. We take pride in knowing we are fueling planes for people that will go on to do great things.”

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