News | July 19, 2019

Preventative and Refueling Maintenance ensure gas gets to jet

By Senior Airman Jake Carter 87 LRS

When it comes to getting aircraft off the ground and into the sky, a big component to making that happen is fuel. For the 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oil and lubricants section, they make sure each aircraft is filled with as much fuel as needed for each mission.

POL moving fuel relies on trucks to get gas to the aircraft, however when a truck goes down, it can cause delays in getting the mission done. That’s when the preventative and refueling maintenance sections come in to ensure that the vehicles are ready.

Both sections, made up of a total of five people, are responsible for having every vehicle serviced and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“Our mission over here is to have 100 percent of our trucks in service all of the time,” said Wayne Lamberg, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oil and lubricants heavy mobile equipment mechanic supervisor. “We take care of all of the routine maintenance such as oil changes, adjustments to the engine and components and fluids to ensure the truck is serviceable. We can also replace engines, differentials and rebuild transfer cases.”

While the goal of POL is to have every truck in service around the clock, the toughest part in making that happen is the age of the fleet with the vehicles being over 20 years old. Including age into the vehicles and parts, that means more wear and tear and breaks occur.

“Every single day there’s always something that needs to be fixed so we are always out there fixing the trucks,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Craig Williams, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron POL preventative maintenance NCO in charge. “In preventative maintenance we are able to handle a lot of the smaller fixes and replacements but any problem that is too big for us to handle, we work together with our refueling maintenance so we have those projects completed.”

While having a budget that allows both sections the ability to purchase any part or tool they may need, another challenge is the parts are becoming scarcer.

“The budget we have has been a great help, we’ve had nonstop funding so we are able to purchase anything we need like tools and equipment items,” said Lambert. “Even with us having the funds for items we need, it still is a challenge sometimes to find parts because the older these vehicles get, the parts start to thin out. Sometimes we have to find a part across the country, which could mean a delay in getting the vehicle up and running.”

Even with the aging fleet and parts, the POL Airmen are pushing through to make sure the fleet can do the mission each and every day.

“Right now we have about 95 percent of the fleet up and running to do the day-to-day tasks they are meant to do,” said Lambert. “Every time we fix one thing, two things break it seems. Even though it can be frustrating, we are always working and grinding to get the job done.”

With their continuous efforts of ensuring the fleet gets the gas to the jet on a moment’s notice, POL is keeping the Air Force dominant in one core area, airpower.

Future plans include applying lessons learned in Building 82 and branching out these methods across other DLA facilities at Robins AFB as well as the new 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group move to Robins North.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst website.