JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
In car racing, the pit stop is
where tires are changed, panels get fixed and the car gets its’ life blood or its
fuel. During short turn missions and training sorties, U.S. Air Force aircraft
have a similar pit stop.
U.S. Air Force crew chiefs
assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing and 733rd Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels
operators work together to perform hot pit refueling, a fast paced fueling
method. This allows aircraft to take on fuel while still powered up, getting
them back to the fight quicker.
According to Master
Sgt. Justin Oakley, 733rd LRS fuels superintendent, hot refueling gives fuels
and fighter wing Airmen the capability to support the mission requirements 66
percent faster, reducing ground time.
“Hot refueling operations are
a completely different ball game than refueling day-to-day under the sun
shades,” said Oakley. “Having mission success is due to the Airmen in in our
distribution element, being properly trained and being superior technicians out
there pumping the gas, where the rubber hits the road.”
Oakley added that being able
to successfully train and execute in the hot pits, gives Airmen that extra leg
up when they are in a deployed environment and are tasked to work with other
aircraft in the hot pits.
“We are a very unique mission
support function in the 633rd Air Base Wing, as we are directly touching jets,
whereas other base support is vital to getting the Airmen and cargo ready,”
said Oakley. “Knowing that we are physically fueling the jet, really makes our
team respect our small piece of the mission.”