News | Aug. 19, 2019

48th LRS F-Flight: Fueling the Liberty Wing

By Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force’s combat aircraft deliver high performance tactical support but they require fuel to get off the ground. The 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight ensures the Liberty Wing’s fighter squadrons are gassed and ready to go.

The F-Flight acquires, manages, distributes and maintains the fuel necessary to ensure aircraft from the 494th, 493rd and 492nd Fighter Squadron are fueled for flights.

“The Fuels Management Flight makes sure RAF Lakenheath’s war-fighting assets are equipped and able to execute their mission,” said U. S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ethan Staten, 48th LRS F-Flight mobile distribution NCO in charge. “We make sure their fuel is the best quality and the aircraft can come back with no fuel burnouts.”

In addition to fuel management, F-Flight also maintains the liquid oxygen necessary to ensure the safety of the aircrew in the cockpit.

“Safety is a top priority when working with highly flammable and dangerous chemicals,” Staten said. “We ensure the safety of the aircrew and the safety of our Airmen on the ground. We also have to preserve the aircraft.”

Staten stated the quality of the fuel is an important process in ensuring safety.

“We also have a laboratory that ensures the fuel is in excellent condition when it comes to us,” Staten said. “They also conduct regular checks to make sure its quality is maintained while we have it.”

F-Flight Airmen are trained and certified to fuel all assets assigned to the Liberty Wing and are in charge of six million gallons of fuel to maintain facilities for supporting agencies.

The flight consists of multiple sections that govern the funding of fuel, communication with the major command on the wing’s fuel needs and making sure the installation is supplied with enough material around the flightline to support base operations.

“Though the biggest thing is the jet fuel, we also make sure the service stations are up and running, distribute diesel for ground fuel trucks, and we make sure our generators are ready to go in the event the base loses power so we can remain operational,” Staten said. “We also provide liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen to the 48th Medical Group to sustain life-saving capabilities that require them.”

F-Flight Airmen are an integral part of the Liberty Wing mission through their efficient distribution of fuel needs, demonstrating their competency through their daily service in enhancing the 48th FW’s combat readiness.

“I remember refueling a fighter jet on my first night shift and it hit me then that I was refueling an aircraft that was getting ready to go into combat,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Darrell Barnett, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator. “The importance of what we do hits home when the same aircraft comes back. Refueling these jets put them in the air and that gives me a sense of pride.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Royal Air Force Lakenheath website.