JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
The 733rd Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Fuels Management Flight’s mission is to support all fuel activity on the Army-side of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, whether it’s heating fuel for buildings, ground fuels for vehicles or jet fuel for the various aircraft in and around Felker Army Airfield.
U.S. Army Col. Chesley Thigpen, 733rd Mission Support Group commander, recognized each member of the 733rd Fuels Management Flight team for their ongoing efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic with a commander’s challenge coin.
“The team members created and agreed on a staggered and overlapping shift, coming in everyday [despite COVID] to support mission needs,” said Alan Combs, 733rd LRS installation fuels accountant, of the recognition. “I appreciate each of them for their work ethic, professionalism, expertise, unselfishness, character, camaraderie and diligence in ongoing mission success for JBLE-Eustis fuels…they truly are the boots on the ground.”
According to the jble.af.mil website fact sheet, the 733rd LRS Fuels Management Flight “…is charged with providing quality petroleum products and cryogenic fluids. They are responsible for ensuring these products are acquired and issued safely and efficiently to using organizations.”
“Whenever we receive [jet fuel], our fuel samples are taken to 633rd LRS Fuels Management Langley Laboratory for testing and evaluation of the fuel before use,” said Combs. “Once fuel is determined suitable by the Langley Fuels Lab we then begin to use the fuel.”
Aviation fuel purity is required to maintain readiness and mission success. Impurities in the fuel can cause the deterioration of equipment and parts, leading to the substandard performance of an aircraft or malfunctions within. Both can result in mission failure.
“Which is not an option,” Combs said. “We want to keep our military safe and allow them to perform their functions and complete missions with success. We ultimately want to provide clean, dry fuel to the customer.”
The 733rd LRS Fuels Management Flight team uses only one grade of aviation fuel, which is called “JET-A”, but with additives specifically for military jet aviation turbine engines. This specialized fuel-type is abbreviated to “JAA”.
While JAA may very well be their biggest commodity, the daily tasks are beyond just handling this singular fuel type.
“The workflow can vary from day to day on the flight line for the fuel operators from [filling aircraft] on the flight line, to fuel for the school house, filling a tactical pumping unit, a tug, a forklift, a gator or refilling refuel [trucks],” Combs said, “and or having to receive various bulk orders for the grades of fuel.”
Combs also indicated some days can include calibrations of the fuel monitoring systems, diagnosing malfunctions of the fuel monitoring systems or even taking the refueling units for maintenance.
“It’s never a dull day,” he said.