Airmen assigned to the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight refueled Air Force One and accompanying aircraft Jan. 24 and 27 on Ramstein, breaking the previous record set here in April 2014 for refueling the U.S. leader’s aircraft.
President Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders stopped at Ramstein on their way to India.
Between Air Force One and its accompanying aircraft, the fuels management team pumped more than 900,000 pounds of fuel in record time.
“It was stressful, but we had excellent management out there,” said Airman 1st Class Anthony Williams, 86th LRS fuels journeyman. “At any point, I knew where I was going to be and where to go, and that allowed us to execute the mission. The president doesn’t land at every base, but this has definitely been a staple for me, and I am going to cherish it. I have very high standards after working with this team.”
Fuels Airmen were determined to break their previous record time set during Obama’s last visit in 2014. The team prepared for two weeks, to ensure all logistics and planning was ready to flawlessly complete the mission.
Williams said one of the most impressive things to witness was the large number of Airmen who worked on this mission who were able to get things done without any safety issues.
“Under the high-stress situation, this team performed flawlessly,” said Senior Airman Thomas Valiare, 86th LRS mobile distribution supervisor. “There were no safety mishaps reported. As fuels experts we ensure that there is no spillage or fuel dropped at all.”
Senior leadership helped to mentor and motivate their team, Valiare said.
“Seeing my senior leadership out there leading the way gets me pumped up,” Valiare said. “It builds up excitement to do my job to the best of my ability. When the group sees our leaders taking the first step forward, it motivates everyone and shows the camaraderie that we have, which helps us as Airmen get the job done.”
Not only do their leaders motivate the fuels Airmen, but they also teach them how to lead from the front.
“It definitely helps me grow, because it allows me to look at the big picture and learn how to be an effective leader on such a big mission,” Williams said.
Ramstein’s mission is unlike any other in the Air Force, and with such busy workloads, Airmen are challenged to perform to the best of their abilities.
“Hearing the expectations of Ramstein coming from a stateside base, I was told you are going to work,” Valiare said. “The mission here is a beast, but with our team we can conquer anything. We are the best.”
Valiare said it was an absolute honor to work on Air Force One, but working with his team on a mission that important is one of the most rewarding parts.