By Sgt. Alun Thomas, 1st ACB PAO, 1st Cav. Div.October 13, 2009
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Keeping the AH-64D Apache attack helicopters in the air 24 hours a day requires non-stop supplies of fuel at an unrelenting pace.
Fuelers maintain that around the clock pace; servicing the ongoing aviation missions.
With this never ending stream of activity, the Soldiers of Company E, 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, pumped their half millionth gallon of fuel, here, Oct. 8.
And the deployment isn't even half over.
Delivering half a million gallons is a significant milestone for the "Equalizers," as it indicates the hard work expended so far, said Staff Sgt. Venancio Rodriguez, from Rockdale, Texas, a petroleum supply section sergeant.
Lt. Col. Randall Haws, battalion commander, received the milestone gallon, Rodriguez said.
"He flew in and just happened to be on the lucky aircraft."
The high point is also reward for the sometimes precarious nature of fueling the aircrafts, something they do day in and out.
"The most difficult thing we do is defuel, which is dangerous because of static electricity," Rodriguez said. "Fuel doesn't like to come out but it likes to go in, so it tends to be a bit more unsafe at times."
Having done his job for the last 18 years, Rodriguez said, it is something he still enjoys doing.
"I wouldn't change my job for anything," Rodriguez said. "The aviation side's a lot more glamorous than the ground side, but we're proud to back the 1st ACB and our mission."
Equally as proud of the company's efforts is 2nd Lt. Christine Limsiaco, from The Woodlands, Texas, a distribution platoon leader, who said reaching half a million gallons represents their work ethic.
"It shows how hard my guys have been working. It's non-stop unless there's a weather hold, otherwise there's always a bird coming in and they're constantly flying."
With the dedication of her Soldiers, the job is made much easier, Limsiaco said.
"They are professional, fun to work with and very hard working. Half a million gallons may not sound like a lot on a large scope, but it's a good milestone because it shows how far we've come since the beginning of the deployment."
At the current pace, the company should exceed a million gallons, said Limsiaco.
"With the (operational tempo) still going the way it is, we will."