News | May 18, 2019

Fuels lab provides quality assurance for CENTCOM

By By. Staff Sgt. Ashley L. Gardner 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron provides a “home” for the Air Force Petroleum Office. The team of three provides quality assurance and control of fuels and gases for the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

“The fuels lab handles over 700 samples a year for not only AUAB, but for our sister services and coalition partners,” said Chief Master Sgt. Chad Kraus, 379th ELRS chief enlisted manager. “This unique and dynamic team makes the mission happen for the entire AOR.”

They also test fuel for the Army from Camp As Sayliyah and aviation gasoline for the Qatari Air Force.

“Without the AFPET Area Lab, it would be more difficult for Al Udeid to serve as the liquid-oxygen hub for the CENTCOM AOR,” said 1st Lt. Stephen Beaton, 379th ELRS petroleum deployed lab chief. “The cryogenics section would have to send samples back to Royal Air Force Mildenhall, which might take months for the samples to get through customs. Our presence increases flexibility and readiness for every mission requiring oxygen in CENTCOM.”

The fuels lab personnel inspect fuel and air samples regularly and in the instance of an aircraft mishap. The purpose of the samples are to determine if the fuel quality played a role in the incident.

“The tests we run depend on the sample,” said Beaton. “We test the contents, the burn and freeze temperatures and we ensure the fuel is not contaminated.”

In testing the air and oxygen, the lab technicians ensure the air isn’t contaminated. In addition to fuel, the lab also tests the oxygen pilots use and the compressed air for firefighters and maintainers.

“For us, that role is to verify that the fuel and aviator’s breathing oxygen are clean which helps decrease the maintenance load for the aircraft and ensure pilots perform at their optimum, ”said Beaton. “If I could tell anything to the Airmen here it would be, ‘Keep doing a great job because everyone plays an important role in the mission of sustaining war-winning air power.”

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