U.S. Air Force photo
U.S. Air Force photo

Fuels project quick-turn supports Dragon Lady mission

by William Farrow
U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s Fuels Recurring Maintenance & Minor Repair Program completed a project at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, resulting in the continuation of mission-critical imagery and signals intelligence crucial for command leaders throughout the Korean peninsula.

Huntsville Center’s Fuels Program team had a very short period of time to clean, inspect and repair a fuel storage tank used to hold and dispense Jet Propellant Thermally Stable, a jet fuel created specifically for the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

The contract for the work was awarded Jan. 31 and the project was completed March 12.

Although the schedule was extremely aggressive, Ron Brook, Fuels program manager, said his team and the contractor, APTIM Federal Services, worked hard to shorten the length of the project execution.

“We had more than a few hurdles in terms of adding the scope while meeting the critical timeline. The team got back on their feet and continued the execution and the project manager, Moon Hemm, was instrumental in managing this project” Brook said.

Because of the short time allotted to complete the project, Hemm negotiated with the contractor to increase the hours technicians worked, including to work the weekends.

In a note to Col. John Hurley, Huntsville Center commander, Col. Phillip Noltemeyer, director, Air Force Petroleum Office, relayed his pleasure with the team’s commitment during the project.

“While the response and the quality of the work were exceptional, the willingness of Moon Hemm and APTIM to be flexible and adjust as we went through the project execution was most noteworthy. This project fully displayed an ‘all in’ team effort totally focused on the special mission support involved, as well as open, responsive communication channels that kept the decision process on track,” Noltemeyer wrote.

“While we've had many exceptional projects completed via the Fuels Program, this one is in the ‘best in class’ category.”
Flying at 70,000 feet on a combat mission at an altitude equivalent to approximately 13 miles, the U-2 Dragon Lady is an important part of the Air Force's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission enterprise, and provides high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance in direct support of U.S. and allied forces.

Photo Catpion:
Airmen perform last-minute checks on a U-2 Dragon Lady before it takes from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Huntsville Center’s Fuels team cleaned, inspected and repaired a fuel storage tank used to hold and dispense Jet Propellant Thermally Stable, a jet fuel created specifically for the U-2. The U-2 is an important part of the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission enterprise, and provides high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance in direct support of U.S. and allied forces.

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