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628th LRS keeps fuel flowing

By Mr. James Bowman | 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron | Feb. 21, 2020

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — Airmen of the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight move and test fuel efficiently both locally and around the globe, which allows the base’s mission to soar to new heights.

The Fuels Flight is comprised of four different sections: Laboratory, Information Center, Distribution, Facilities and Forward Area Refueling Point, and collectively they ensure 68 million gallons of fuel and 95,000 gallons of liquid oxygen make the grade and keeping JB Charleston on the move.

The Laboratory is responsible for taking daily samples of each grade of fuel, which includes jet fuel, diesel fuel, unleaded fuel and liquid oxygen. Once taken, the samples are analyzed to ensure the fuel quality meets the Department of Defense standards.

Once the fuels meet DoD standards, the Fuels Distribution Team keeps the fuels flowing to C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and other support elements of JB Charleston.

The Fuels Distribution Section is the driving force behind a fleet of 13 fuel servicing vehicles and four fuel products which keeps JB Charleston on the move. Airmen are subject-matter experts in every aspect of fuels servicing. From normal refuel operations, to the extremes of a rapid wet wing defuel, the fuels distribution sections work to keep C-17s running longer to maximize time and sortie generation.

Every day two Airmen complete a 44 multi-point inspection checklist on lights, fuel hoses and drains to safeguard water from getting into the fuel. When base members evacuate because of an oncoming hurricane, the distribution operators are part of the ride-out and recovery teams and work to fulfill the Wing commanders’ requirements.

“It is so rewarding to see young men and women succeed,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Presby, 628th LRS Fuels Information Service Center section chief. “To see them look for the answers and want to do the best they can do gives me so much satisfaction. I will not be in the military forever, so it is my job to train others to eventually take my place. I have been stationed at five bases, been on eight deployments, and have obtained two bachelor’s degrees along with my CCAF. I do not claim to have all of the knowledge, but I strive to give those around me the tools to find the information to succeed by my past experiences and achievements.”

Presby continued by saying it takes a team effort to maintain and achieve continued success.

“The military is not about one person, it is about the team as a whole,” he said. “Why should I hold all of the knowledge? Knowledge is power, and for the United States Air Force to continue to be the strongest and most elite Air Force in the world, we as supervisors, peers and subordinates need to continue to share our knowledge with everyone around us so we [can] continue to be that supreme power that our predecessors have allowed us to be a part of.”

The Fuels Facilities are where Airmen inspect each system on a five-tier basis system which Airmen do daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually. They also work with contractors and various units throughout JB Charleston to inspect everything from the simple daily draining of filter separators to the more in-depth hydrostatic pressure test for cracks and leaks on 35 hydrant loop outlets, which can issue fuel at a rate of 1,200 gallons per minute to the C-17s. The flight also delivers fuel to every generator on both the Naval Weapon Station and Air Base so they are prepared for any kind of power outage.

Supporting JB Charleston is a large component of the FMF, but they also support missions throughout the world.

The Forward Area Refueling Point team is a specialty within the fuels career field, and JB Charleston has the sole responsible of this specialty throughout Air Mobility Command. The teams consists of 12 members who fulfill two mobility commitments in the Afghanistan area of responsibility, Special Operations Joint Task Forces, and mission support sites throughout the country.

FARP team members receive training in an altitude chamber where they learn their hypoxia symptoms and flight safety. The Air Commando Course School is where Air Force members are trained in tactics, procedures and fire arms with the Army. Members also go to Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school where they receive instructions on parachute, raft and survival of a downed aircraft in water or over land.

To accomplish these missions, members fly with C-130J Hercules and C-17 crews. FARP members are dropped off in remote locations. Once the crews return, FARP members use fuel already on board the aircraft to refuel other airframe requirements.

“There is no greater achievement in my career to date than being on the FARP team,” said Tech. Sgt. Kameron W. Mills, NCO In Charge of Fuels Distribution. “The operations I’ve been involved with, the joint services I’ve been able to interact with, and the things I have seen I will take with me forever.”