RAF MILDENHALL, England –
Early every Friday morning the, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oil and lubricant flight gather around their leadership. Whether day shift or night shift, they stand together and recite the Airman’s Creed, line by line, phrase by phrase, emphasizing what it means to be an Airman and strive to maintain the highest standards every day.
The responsibility of ensuring the Bloody Hundredth’s fleet of aircraft, ready to provide unrivaled air refueling across Europe and Africa, is no small feat.
“Petroleum, oil and lubricant has three sections: operational, fuels information service center, and fuels environmental safety office,” said Airman 1st Class Aaliyah Tucker, 100th LRS POL fuels distributor. “All are needed to help RAF Mildenhall fuel the fight. Being mission essential, we have a lot of responsibility to make sure we fuel our planes and some of the equipment on base. What we do has a big impact on the mission; we can see the end result when the planes leave, and they get to refuel other aircraft and further support the worldwide mission.”
The fuels information service center is the brains of POL. Its Airmen tell the distributors where to go, how much fuel is needed for the aircraft and what type of aircraft it is. The fuels laboratory test the quality of the fuel to ensure proper additives are present and no contaminates are found. RAF Mildenhall has the advantage of having both a flight laboratory where they can find possible contaminants, as well as an area lab, where those contaminants can be defined and taken out.
The fuels environmental safety office is the bloodline of POL. It is in charge of the environmental effects the fuel has. If there are any oil spills or other mishaps they determine the effects and how to properly respond to the damage.
The operational section is the body of POL. They use R-11 and C300 fuel trucks to deliver the fuel to both the aircraft and various equipment around the base. Checks are performed every morning on the trucks to ensure the lights, fuels and sensors are all working properly. The trucks are the back bone, keeping the distributors well equipped and able to fuel and defuel at any time.
“Without POL, pilots are pedestrians,” said Tech Sgt. Johnathan Peabody, 100th LRS NCO in charge of fuels laboratory. “With all of that responsibility we depend on each other. The POL flight is a family. That’s really the best part of this job. We get to mentor the young Airmen coming in, guiding the youth to better fulfill the mission.”
Whether it’s going out to bond outside of work or working together to get the aircraft in the air and keep the mission going, POL is passionate about fuels.
“I know that every aircraft I touch is going to do something greater than myself,” Tucker said. “I hope that with every gallon of fuel I give, I am helping save a life, protect a child or getting the president from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. My job is simple, we put aircraft in the sky.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Royal Air Force Mildenhall website.