FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. -- Napoleon said, "An army marches on its stomach." Fort Hunter Liggett's petroleum supply specialists provide the fuel helicopters at Tusi Airfield need to keep "marching."
SPC Cody Miarer and SPC Dennis Snay not only supply fuel for ground vehicles but supply aviation fuel, mainly for helicopters.
Under normal circumstances, these Soldiers perform cold refueling on non-running helos. But they can refuel helos while the engine runs. They use a special helicopter refueling nozzle to reduce the escape of fuel vapor and grounding lines to reduce static electricity from the spinning rotors. Hot refueling is performed only when operations require rapid turnaround, including for combat missions.
"My reward is knowing that others trust me with something so vital, " said Miarer.
"We know when birds are coming in because we receive a request) from range control," said Miarer. Usually the fuelers know when aircraft are flying in 24 to 48 hours in advance. "We keep fuel ready in the tanker so we're ready to go at a moment's notice," he added.
"We have to make sure we get the right fuel to the right vehicles, know the truck, and perform daily preventive maintenance checks and services," said Snay.
One key task is checking the fuel in their tanker truck for water and contaminants, like rust, using an ultraviolet detector kit. The Army standard is five to seven parts per million, water or other contaminant to fuel, but these soldiers try to keep it at 1 ppm.
Safety is of the utmost importance in performing their duties, They must also ensure they fix grounding cables to the aircraft when refueling and have fire extinguishers at the ready.
"I know I did my job when the bird's off the ground and its crew had a safe flight." said Snay.