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POL fuels mission success
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. – Tech. Sgt. Isaac Robinson, 5th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuel laboratory non-commissioned officer in charge, examines a fuel sample Feb. 18. The laboratory inspects and filters out foreign objects from fuel on a daily basis. These inspections are vital to ensure safe and successful missions on Minot AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy Moless)
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POL fuels mission success

Posted 2/23/2010   Updated 2/25/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Artemy Shpakovsky
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

2/23/2010 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- There are many work centers at Minot AFB. Every one of them does their job to fulfill the mission. Some are well known and often in the spotlight. Others, like the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron's petroleum, oil and lubricants shop, sometimes go unnoticed. However, this "behind-the-scenes" work center is the backbone of the everyday mission at Minot AFB.

When one considers the specific missions of both the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, the Airmen of POL provide a service which is vital to the base's mission success. From providing fuel for the B-52H Stratofortress, to filling the gas tanks of the missile wing's transporter erectors, fuels-airmen do it all.

"The mission of POL is to provide good and dry fuel to our customers, who cover both the 5th BW and the 91st MW," said Lt. Col. Christopher Trotter, 5th LRS commander. "We do that daily by making sure we meet our customers' expectations to which they have fuel to support everything from vehicles going to missile sites, to ensuring the B-52s launch."

The regular day of a fuels-Airman is mostly comprised of off-loading, inspecting and delivering the fuel to respective points on base, whether it's a B-52 ready for take-off or a convoy preparing for departure. No matter what it is, if it involves fuel, the Airmen of POL take a part in it.

"We start with a safety and daily operations briefing," said Master Sgt. Robert Kennedy, 5th LRS POL superintendent. "We then go to our work areas and inspect the fuel systems."

The areas they inspect on a daily basis are quite numerous. The military service station, cryogenics storage area, Type III hydrant system and a multiple fuel tanks around the base are a few of the areas they test.

"While all this is going on, fuel accountants [gather] the accountability for every gallon issued throughout the day," said Sergeant Kennedy. "They also request the fuel and oxygen we will need for the upcoming week."

The fuels-Airmen are not only dealing with fuel for all aircraft and ground operating vehicles, they are also the ones responsible for the quality of fuel supplied for such assets.

"The lab technicians sample the fuel from the time it enters the base right up until it's given to the customer," Sergeant Kennedy said. "The fuel is delivered to the base via commercial vehicles and is filtered while being offloaded into the base fuel tanks."

According to Sergeant Kennedy, there are multiple filtering procedures, as well as an evaluation of the filtering points, before the fuel can be issued to an aircraft.

"I think the POL mission statement says it all about our job," said Sergeant Kennedy. "Defend the Constitution by issuing on specification fuel and cryogenics to any weapons system, putting planes in the air and bombs on target."

POL Airmen continue to do their job well and stay true to the oath they gave when they joined the Air Force. Whether in the spotlight or behind the scenes, they ensure the completion of their individual mission, keeping the nation safe one tank
at a time.

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