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NEWS | Jan. 15, 2014

POL Airmen 'pump life' into Langley mission

By Senior Airman Teresa Aber 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

"I get a sense of pride every time I hear an F-22 fly by," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jeremiah Garfoyle, 633rd Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oils and lubricants distribution operator. "Because I know I played a part in getting that aircraft in the air."

The 633rd LRS POL flight supplies fuel to 1st Fighter Wing aircraft and all transient aircraft and vehicles, in support of the overall flying mission at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Approximately 70 POL Airmen supply more than 8.5 million gallons of fuel to more than 40 aircraft. Additionally they provide fueling services to all government operated vehicles, generators and service stations where GOVs refuel around base.

In order to get fuel to the equipment, there is a process that requires testing and analysis to ensure the best product.

Lab specialists check fuel samples for contaminants using several testing methods. If a sample shows no contamination, the fuel is pumped into a refueling truck and sent to fuel equipment. If a sample is contaminated, it is placed into a separate storage labeled "waste fuel" and discarded according to local environmental regulations.

"It's important to make sure the fuel is free of water and any contamination that can damage the engine of the vehicle or aircraft it is pumped into," said Chief Master Sgt. Steven George, 633rd LRS fuels management flight chief. "Accountability and quality control of the fuel are the most important parts of our mission."

To ensure accountability and quality control for the safety of all of their customers on base, the unit is divided into six sections that work together to make sure the mission is completed effectively and efficiently. The sections include laboratory, distribution, control center, training and support, refueling maintenance and materiel section.

"I always try to drive home to my Airmen that POL is not the most glamorous job in the Air force, but it's one of the most important jobs," said George. "If we don't supply the fuel, the planes are not going anywhere."

The Airmen of POL ensure the mission is ready at all times by maintaining their own equipment and ensuring everything is operating properly.

"We directly support the mission and maintain the capability to respond immediately," said Staff Sgt. Sean Smith, 633rd LRS POL service center technician. "If something should happen that we weren't expecting, we know we can handle it. No matter what, we have to work together."

With the various divisions working together to provide clean and high-quality fuel, the skilled Airmen of the POL team do their part every day to ensure every Airman in the pilot or driver's seat can perform their mission safely.