News | March 9, 2018

No fuel, no fight

By Airman 1st Class Taylor Phifer 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the petroleum, oil and lubricants fuels flight of the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, are an important asset to executing strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support... anytime, anywhere.

These Airmen work to ensure aircraft are fueled whenever the mission calls for them to be ready to go.

“Our mission is vital because without clean fuel, we can’t support the aircraft or the equipment needed around the base and thus, the mission can’t be completed,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Thompson, a distribution operator assigned to the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Throughout their careers, these Airmen learn that attention to detail is an essential skill for the job. POL fuels flight Airmen need to be vigilant every day in order to avoid potential accidents that could occur with fuel.

“It’s important that we get everything right and that everything’s within its limit to ensure there are no incidents,” said Airman 1st Class Hali Conner, a laboratory technician assigned to the 509th LRS. “We pull samples and test the fuel around base for water, additives and sediment like rocks, dirt or other particles. We also have the ability to lock out any piece of equipment if the fuel doesn’t pass.”

Sampling and testing the fuel around Whiteman is critical because this ensures the fuel is safe to use in an aircraft or any fuel-based system.

“Not doing our job correctly could potentially lead to an aircraft engine failure,” said Thompson. “To prevent accidents, we need to be focused on what we are doing 24/7.”

Although the job can be stressful at times, the LRS Airmen enjoy what they do and take pride in completing the mission.

“I like this job because there’s always something new to learn,” said Conner. “I’ve been in the lab for almost a year and before that I was a distribution operator. I think it’s great that we have the opportunity to move around in this career field because it’s good to know the different sections and their roles to accomplish the mission.”

The fuels flight works all day, every day to ensure the fuel is passing inspection and moving correctly. With the help of the laboratory technicians, distribution operators and all other members of the fuels flight ensure the mission at Whiteman is being accomplished.

“Everyone has a purpose on base to support the mission, ours at the fuels shop is - no fuel, no flight,” said Thompson.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Whiteman Air Force Base website.