By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 19th Airlift Wing has a high deployment operational tempo. As a result, training standards are set high in order to maintain rapid global mobility while ensuring Airmen preserve the highest standard of employing their tactics and techniques at home and while deployed to austere locations.
The 41st Airlift Squadron, Black Cats, spent a week at with the 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuel flight at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, conducting hot defuel and refuel training to prepare for an upcoming deployment this fall.
Hot refueling is when an aircraft, with engines running, refuels a ground-based fuel source, such as a fuel truck or fuel bladder. It is only performed when operations require a rapid turnaround. This technique is often used in austere locations where fuel resupply is not easily attained and allows the aircraft to quickly launch afterward. Additionally, hot refueling is necessary because the typical equipment found at built-up bases or ports is not available in many deployed or humanitarian locations.
“We do not currently have the capability to perform this type of training here at Little Rock Air Force Base,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Sarah Santoro, 41st AS commander. “Thus, the 41st AS had to swiftly find a way to meet the requirements outlined in the unit prep message for the upcoming deployment.”
While it has not been a requirement for previous deployment rotations, this crew gained the certifications needed to conduct this operation.
“Recently, new guidance was given that now requires half of the aircrews to be certified for hot refuel/defuel operations,” Santoro said.
In order to stay current on this training and certify new 41st AS aircrew members as they rotate into the squadron, the 355th LRS fuels flight conducted a site survey for the installation and can provide the training here in the future.