High Octane: POL fuels the fight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mozer O. Da Cunha
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
In a world fueled by fossil fuels, Airmen from the 2nd Logistic Readiness Squadron petroleum, oils and lubricants distribution flight function as the heart of Barksdale AFB pumping the blood needed to accomplish the mission.

POL Airmen train to provide a variety of services on base, such as supplying fuel to generators, government vehicles, emergency vehicles and aircraft on base.

"Doing what we do is crucial to the mission,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Baker, 2nd LRS fuel distribution supervisor. “Without fuel nothing moves.”
Currently, the distribution flight operates 22 vehicles to move an average of 600,000 gallons of fuel a week.

“Without distribution, we wouldn’t have the folks to go out there and physically take the fuel to where it needs to be,” Baker said.

While one of the most visible aspects of the mission is fueling aircraft, it’s not the only part of it.

“We maintain and supply both the main base and east side fuel service stations,” Baker said. “Those service stations are used to fuel all government vehicles. delivering, moving or transporting anything on base.”

The distribution flight also uses their skills to keep power generator fueled in case of power outages or emergencies.

“Part of our mission is also to supply diesel generators on base with fuel,” said Senior Airman Benjamin Stevens, 2nd LRS fuel distribution operator. “Those generators are a big deal, especially at locations like the medical group or civil engineer squadron, places where power is essential in case of any emergencies.”

In addition to fueling generators, the distribution flight fuels more specialized equipment like emergency vehicles and aircraft.

“Emergency vehicles such as fire trucks are too large to fit in the service stations,” Stevens said. “Those kinds of vehicles need to be fueled at a specialized location here at distribution flight.”

POL Airmen use an underground fuel piping system and fleet of fuel trucks to keep Barksdale’s B-52 Stratofortresses flying.

“When it comes to keeping jets in the air, we have a variety of tools at our disposal,” Baker said. “We can use our R-11 aircraft refueler truck to ferry fuel to the aircraft or use the R-12 hydrant servicing vehicle to pump fuel directly from the underground fuel piping system. Either way the jets will get what they need.”

With a 24/7 operation, POL Airmen are always on the ready.

“No matter the mode of transportation, we’ll have it ready to accomplish its mission.” Baker concluded.