News | April 6, 2019

AUAB power projection: cryogenics team keeps aircrews breathing easy

By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

At certain altitudes, an aircraft’s environment changes. From oxygen levels to pressure fluctuations, aircrew members need to be able to adapt.

Airmen of the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron cryogenics section, ensure service members across U.S. Air Forces Central Command are equipped with tools needed to function.

“We provide clean, dry, 99.5 percent pure liquid oxygen for aviators,” said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Legget, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron cryogenics section NCO in charge. “This provides them clean oxygen to breathe at certain elevations where it’s necessary. We keep the tanks prepared and have them ready to ship at all times.”

The cryogenics Airmen receive, store, inspect and ship liquid oxygen and nitrogen for aircrews to use at deployed locations throughout AFCENT. Whether a pilot needs clean air to breath or a loadmaster needs to put out a fire, the oxygen and nitrogen they provide help keep missions launching.

Ensuring aircrews are equipped with the liquid assets doesn’t come without risks. Working with assets at temperatures as low as 324 degrees below zero can pose a safety hazard if not handled correctly. For the cryogenics team, safety is a major priority.

“In order for the overall mission to get completed, we need to do our job correctly,” said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Retallack, 379th ELRS fuels cryogenic supervisor. “To ensure we're safe, we wear proper personal protective equipment. Although it may be hot, it's not worth getting a cryogenic burn and having frostbite. We make sure that everything we wear is good to go.”

The team’s 24-hour operation is made possible by team work and following proper tactics, techniques and procedures. Enabling AFCENT’s airpower to reach all corners of the area of responsibility.

“We’re the critical hub for the AOR and we support different forward operating bases that produce airstrikes,” said Retallack. “In order to produce the airstrikes, they need liquid oxygen. Those airstrikes wouldn't happen without us.”

For some members of the cryogenics team, helping aircrews breathe easy during aerial missions has been rewarding.

"I'm part of something affecting this whole region,” said Staff Sgt. Shakir Alikhan, 379th ELRS cryogenics section fuels journeyman. “I look at it as being a part of something bigger.”

From January to March, 2019, the cryogenics team has serviced more than 8.5 thousand gallons of liquid oxygen, and shipped more than 50 oxygen tanks to warfighters across AFCENT.

At certain altitudes, an aircraft’s environment changes. From oxygen levels to pressure fluctuations, aircrew members need to be able to adapt.

Airmen of the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron cryogenics section, ensure service members across U.S. Air Forces Central Command are equipped with tools needed to function.

“We provide clean, dry, 99.5 percent pure liquid oxygen for aviators,” said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Legget, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron cryogenics section NCO in charge. “This provides them clean oxygen to breathe at certain elevations where it’s necessary. We keep the tanks prepared and have them ready to ship at all times.”

The cryogenics Airmen receive, store, inspect and ship liquid oxygen and nitrogen for aircrews to use at deployed locations throughout AFCENT. Whether a pilot needs clean air to breath or a loadmaster needs to put out a fire, the oxygen and nitrogen they provide help keep missions launching.

Ensuring aircrews are equipped with the liquid assets doesn’t come without risks. Working with assets at temperatures as low as 324 degrees below zero can pose a safety hazard if not handled correctly. For the cryogenics team, safety is a major priority.

“In order for the overall mission to get completed, we need to do our job correctly,” said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Retallack, 379th ELRS fuels cryogenic supervisor. “To ensure we're safe, we wear proper personal protective equipment. Although it may be hot, it's not worth getting a cryogenic burn and having frostbite. We make sure that everything we wear is good to go.”

The team’s 24-hour operation is made possible by team work and following proper tactics, techniques and procedures. Enabling AFCENT’s airpower to reach all corners of the area of responsibility.

“We’re the critical hub for the AOR and we support different forward operating bases that produce airstrikes,” said Retallack. “In order to produce the airstrikes, they need liquid oxygen. Those airstrikes wouldn't happen without us.”

For some members of the cryogenics team, helping aircrews breathe easy during aerial missions has been rewarding.

"I'm part of something affecting this whole region,” said Staff Sgt. Shakir Alikhan, 379th ELRS cryogenics section fuels journeyman. “I look at it as being a part of something bigger.”

From January to March, 2019, the cryogenics team has serviced more than 8.5 thousand gallons of liquid oxygen, and shipped more than 50 oxygen tanks to warfighters across AFCENT.


Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing website.