Fuelers take pride in mission enhancement
February 18, 2010
- Soldiers of Company A, 412th ASB take over FOS Garryowen in southern Iraq
- On average, fuelers handle 30 aircraft per day and pump almost 200,000 gallons of fuel over a month
Many people have spent a good part of their teenage years working at a gas station, with aspirations of moving on to something better.
However, for some of the Soldiers with "A" Company, 412th Aviation Support Battalion, "pumping gas" is their priority, and they look forward to it every day. Taking their show on the road Dec. 26, 2009, they assumed the Forward Arming and Refueling Point at Forward Operating Site Garryowen.
"We're like the gas station for aircraft," Staff Sgt. Terrence T. Adams, a fueler with "A" Co., 412th ASB, said, a hint of pride evident in his voice.
Over the course of three days, more than a dozen fuelers and a mechanic from Headquarters Support Co., 412th ASB, assumed one of the many missions to run a FARP in theater, moving from Contingency Operating Base Adder to FOS Garryowen, said 1st Lt. Joseph Fyfe, commander, "A" Co.
"Our company has three different platoons - ammo, fuel and the SSA (supply services activity)," Fyfe said. "When our guys get a mission, either we can or we can't support it. If we can, we go."
He described what they do as "mission enhancement" for the overall taskforce. Their mission keeps other missions on track.
"For Garryowen, it is more of a backfill, so we are going to take this mission until the other unit can come in to take over," Adams said.
Typically, "A" Co. fuelers handle 30 aircraft per day and pump almost 200,000 gallons of fuel over a month, using both cold fuel and hot fuel methods, Adams said.
Cold fueling is what most people think of when fueling any vehicle: the vehicle is shut off and not on a mission. Hot fueling is when the aircraft is still running and usually on a mission that requires it to continue-on or return immediately.
Different aircraft and different fueling methods require knowing their equipment well. Certain aircraft require a specific type of nozzle.
Adams said they are ready and able to refuel everything "from Sherpas to Ospreys to C-12s" and everything in between.
"It feels good to get off base. We are excited to go," Adams said. "Garryowen is not as isolated as here. And everyone volunteered for the mission."