At the ring of a bell: Airmen ready to fuel mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rito Smith
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Imagine waking up, getting ready for the day and driving to work when all of the sudden, the car begins to sputter. Dread takes over as one realizes the car ran out of gas and stalls.

Fuels distribution operators assigned to the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron work every day to ensure that aircraft flying out of MacDill Air Force Base Fla., never have that issue.

These operators start their days by checking their refueling vehicles for frame damage, missing or broken pieces, and they check the fuel for sediment or water, basically anything that may prevent them from doing the mission.

After their daily checks, they do training to remain proficient at their job.

As soon as their routine is done, they wait for the call from the command center.

“Our guys are asked constantly to answer the bell and be there at a moment’s notice to make sure operations don’t stop and Air Force birds are in the air,” said Capt. Connor Dietz, the fuels flight commander assigned to the 6th LRS. “What these guys do is very strategic and impactful not only to the wing, but also to countless other mission partners.

“From the POTUS (President of the United States) support they provide, to anytime a jet lands on the flight line they support home station and transient aircraft from all over the place.”

The minute they get the call from the command center, these Airmen aim to have a response time under 15 minutes to be on scene and refuel the aircraft

Dietz emphasized on the fact that the fuels management flight reliably works around the clock in order to meet operation tempos.

Fuels management flight Airmen never work a “typical” day because they never know when transient aircraft will arrive.

“We usually average around 700-800 thousand gallons of fuel that we issue in a 31-day period, which includes home station and transient aircraft,” said Senior Master Sgt. J. Spencer Northington, the fuels superintendent assigned to the 6th LRS. “We had a 10-day period during the hurricane relief where we issued 1.1 million gallons of fuel to just transient aircraft.”

Northington stressed that his Airmen were ready and capable to perform under any circumstances.

“I feel these guys thrive on amplified operations tempos because they see how they impact the mission,” he said. “These Airmen assisted with an immediate real-world impact, and witnessed firsthand the support provided to victims of the hurricane who received medical aid, food and water.”

Although the Airmen may not always know the nature of the mission; Dietz stressed that at the end of the day, they are a brotherhood and are willing to sacrifice for their team whenever they are called upon.