MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –
Fuel propels the military mission around the globe, directly determining the reach and capability of the force.
The 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) flight at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, works around the clock fueling daily operations.
“From an outsider’s perspective, people see us distributing fuel and think that’s all we do,” said Staff Sgt. David Kjeldgaard, the 6th LRS NCO in charge of fuels distribution. “But our responsibility as fuel experts goes well beyond just moving fuel.”
POL is comprised of three sections: fuel distribution, environmental safety, and information services. These unique functions come together delivering quality fuel where it needs to be at any time.
An important part of fuel distribution is quality control done in the fuel laboratory, which ensures the fuel being used hasn’t been contaminated.
“We perform quality assurance checks on on all jet fuel, ground fuel and liquid oxygen products from the time it enters to the base to when it is distributed,” said Staff Sgt. Akila Mohabir, a 6th LRS fuels laboratory technician. “With that, we ensure the fuel is clean, dry, free of debris and contains the proper additives necessary for serviceability."
Once the fuel is ready, dispatches are made to expeditiously coordinate Airmen with fuel orders.
“We get requests from the Maintenance Operations Center or transit aircraft through our information service center and that tells us our time frame, what type of aircraft we are refueling as well as when and where we need to be,” said Kjeldgaard.
If the fuel is needed by an aircraft immediately, the POL team is continually standing by to support short notice requests.
According to Master Sgt. Andrew Roper, 6th LRS fuels information service center chief, POL delivered 21.7 million gallons of fuel to 6,814 aircraft last year.
“That’s approximately $56.8 million worth of fuel assets,” said Roper, who routinely compiles this type of data to improve efficiency for the squadron.
The POL flight works with an aircraft fuel called ‘JET A,’ two types of diesel fuel, E-85 ethanol fuel blend and regular gasoline, which covers everything from aircraft to power generators on the flight line.
“Knowing you are directly impacting the mission by supplying fuel is my favorite part of the job,” said Airman 1st Class Brandon Jacobs, a 6th LRS fuels distribution technician. “With every gallon of fuel I move, I help out others carry out their meaningful task that makes the military the dominant force that it is today.”
Whether it’s working on the flight line, in the control pits or in the laboratory, POL Airmen are passionate about fuel, the lifeline of the force.
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the MacDill Air Force Base website.