The 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oils and lubricants flight is the backbone of the Ramstein mission, ensuring all air assets and critical infrastructure have the right fuel to fight.
The POL flight is divided into four sections: the fuels information service section — which serves as the nucleus of the flight, the mobility section, laboratory, which tests for fuel quality and operations.
In addition to enabling multiple missions across the base, the 86th LRS’s POL flight maintains vital fuel infrastructure, with intentionally placed stations in strategic areas across the flightline to quickly refuel aircraft.
“There are multiple tasks we perform to ensure safe and timely fuel and cryogenic support is provided and maintained for our aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Drew Kilian, 86th LRS fuels environmental and safety office noncommissioned officer in charge. “Some of these tasks include inspecting, maintaining and dispensing fuel and cryogenics from million-gallon fuel tanks, fuel trucks, mobile fuel piping assemblies and cryogenic tanks.”
The POL flight’s daily operations help maintain the U.S. Air Force’s air superiority, in addition to ensuring Ramstein remains the global gateway.
“The machines we rely on day in and day out come to a grinding halt without timely, year-round clean fuel support 24/7,” Kilian said. “Ramstein is the central hub to the fight and if we aren’t able to maintain that posture there would almost certainly be an immediate global impact.”
Every entity on base has some sort of fuel demand that the POL flight supports.
“Our responsibilities stretch across the base, such as maintaining the base service station used to refuel government vehicles, fueling power emergency generators or energizing aircraft,” Killian said.
With the wide scope of Ramstein’s mission, POL flight Airmen support thousands of aircraft each year.
“We support over seven thousand safe and timely aircraft fuel requests annually,” Kilian said. “Ramstein’s Fuels Management Flight is the third busiest fuel mission in the U.S. Air Force, issuing over 64 million gallons of jet fuel.”
The safe and effective fuel management of aircraft and on-base infrastructure is entrusted to highly-skilled Airmen spread across Ramstein. The Airmen take pride in their work and understand the importance of their jobs.
“I think the fuels flight is vital to the 86th LRS and to Ramstein,” said Senior Airman Brett Morton, 86th LRS fuels facilities operator. “As a fuels facility operator, I work in conjunction with the fuels lab by distributing the fuel. I operate the pumps that disseminate fuel to the aircraft on the flightline. Without me and my team, the planes would never leave the ground. I love my job, the mission and the people. I enjoy everything that comes along with being part of POL.”
The 86th LRS’s POL flight Airmen are essential to Ramstein’s mission. They support every unit and Airmen directly and indirectly.
“When the fuels experts we rely on aren’t able to do their jobs for just one day, people quite possibly won’t get mail, see their families, receive food, air support, or lifesaving medical care, to name a few necessities,” Kilian said. “Our capability to deter our adversaries from threatening our way of life is also lost without these experts. The lifeblood of the U.S. Air Force is arguably the fuel that powers almost everything we use.”
The 86th LRS’s POL flight is the steward of that lifeblood, keeping the Global Gateway open to Europe and beyond.