KADENA AIR BASE, Japan –
Anyone who has a car understands the importance of having a full tank of clean, reliable gas. For Kadena Air Base, an organization responsible for defending nations and providing worldwide humanitarian relief, the same rules apply. That's where unit's like the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron's fuels distribution flight comes in.
The 18th LRS fuels distribution flight plays an important part in Team Kadena’s role as the Keystone of the Pacific.
As the largest squadron of its type in the Air Force, the 18th LRS has more than 100 personnel to ensure government vehicles and aircraft have clean and serviceable fuel.
“When it comes to petroleum, oil and lubricants, there are three important things to remember,” said Tech. Sgt. Trevor Kuhns, 18th LRS fuels distribution supervisor. “Don’t spill it, don’t contaminate it and don’t run out of it.”
The fuels distribution flight, which is responsible for servicing all aircraft on Kadena AB, services everything that flies to the base. Without fuel, more than 30 airframes would not be able to complete their mission.
“My job is to ensure whatever aircraft I’m tasked to service has the fuel to get back into the air,” said Airman 1st Class Kainoa Manzano, 18th LRS fuels distribution operator. “I’ve refueled Air Force F-35s, F-22s, and C-5s.”
The fuels distribution flight never closes –through rain, shine or even typhoons. The members of the distribution flight know there are people that rely on them to complete their mission.
“I love my job,” Manzano said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind feeling when you see the tail number of an aircraft taking off and realize that you helped that guy out.”
According to Kuhns, refueling an aircraft can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the aircraft.
“There are different types of refueling,” explained Kuhns. “Standard where engines are off, hot refueling where the aircraft engines will be running while refueling and hot rapid defueling which is used for the KC-135s and emergencies.”
As the largest refueling fleet in the Air Force, the 18th LRS fuels distribution flight is unique because of how busy it is. Kadena AB is consistently one of the top three busiest fuels shops in the entire Air Force. Kuhn said if Airmen can make it here in their career field, then they can make it anywhere.
“Fuels distribution is the life blood of the flightline,” Kuhns said. “These aircraft don’t run on hopes and dreams, they run on jet fuel.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Kadena Air Base website.