Get gassed up
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Much like a good breakfast to get the day started, vehicles and aircraft run on an energy of their own. To produce that energy, they need to be powered with their most important meal of day: fuel.
This is where members of the petroleum, oil and lubricants 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight apply their skillsets to get the engines running. The flight is responsible for fueling more than 1,400 government operating vehicles and aircraft on base.
“They say Osan is a walking base, but the majority of the units here rely on vehicles to get their mission done,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Paul Macfadden, section chief with the 51st LRS fuels information service center.
To ensure their mission does not fail, the flight of approximately 60 Airmen and U.S. and Korean civilian employees work with 14 fuel trucks to get fuel to aircraft and gasoline dispensaries for government vehicle refueling.
“We have a great working relationship with our local nationals,” said Master Sgt. Jay Elledge, fuels operations section chief with the 51st LRS. “If we didn’t have the synergy, it could affect our ability to get fuel from one place to another.”
Throughout the year an estimated 23 million gallons of fuel is delivered and used at Osan, to include jet fuel, diesel and gasoline.
“Without POL, pilots are just pedestrians,” said Macfadden. “We are one of, if not, the most important resource on the base.”
The flight outputs roughly a million gallons of fuel to its assets monthly.
“Part of maintaining a healthy system is ensuring we have system integrity,” said Elledge. “Recently, we have contracted the cleaning of our bulk fuel tanks to ensure we can issue clean, dry fuel to our customers.”
The unit makes sure fuel is ready at moment’s notice and contaminant free by filtering it and inspecting for water, dirt or debris to avoid mission delay.
“It’s not the most glamourous job, we understand that,” said Elledge. “We are out there driving those big green ugly fuel trucks, but we look at them like Mercedes because they are our pride and joy. What we have in the back of the trucks is a sought out commodity and without that fuel, aircraft aren’t flying and are just static displays.
“Our POL Airmen are amazing and perform at a high level,” Elledge added. “We’ve got America’s sons and daughters over here making things happen and ensuring Osan is ready to fight tonight.”