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Andersen flightline’s unsung heroes

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
With exercises like Valiant Shield 2012 conducted here on island, the 74 members of the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron's fuels flight are always on their feet, fueling some of the United States largest joint and coalition exercises in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We store 66 million gallons of fuel, making Andersen the home of the largest fuel storage facility in the Air Force," said Senior Airman Michelle Sweeney, 36th LRS fuels distribution operator, expediter and trainer.

The fuels flight receives, stores and distributes every form of fuel, from gasoline and diesel for vehicles and backup generators to jet fuel for aircraft that use the Andersen airfield. It is the Airmen's job to ensure every drop is clean, dry, accounted for and delivered on time.

"Nothing on that flightline would move without us," said Master Sgt. Kasey Saunders, 36th LRS fuel distribution noncommissioned officer in charge. "We handle every drop of fuel that comes onto this base before the customer can use it."

During normal day-to-day operations, 36th LRS fuel distribution element conducts 30 to 45 fuel runs per day.

"As a distribution operator, I assist daily in ensuring our vehicle fleet is in proper operating condition," said Airman Sweeney. "We deliver fuel to the aircraft in timely manner in order to fulfill mission requirements."

During exercises such as Valiant Shield, fuel runs will increase to approximately 300 runs a day.

"We will pump more than four million gallons of fuel and launch more than 2,000 aircraft sorties during this exercise," said Sergeant Saunders.

Along with supporting all Air Force operations on base, the 36th LRS fuels flight supports all Navy Search and Rescue operations for Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO FIVE.

"We provide support 24/7, 365 days a year," said Sergeant Saunders. "We don't cease operations for official functions, and many people don't know that we work 12-hour shifts on a regular basis."

Commonly seen on Andersen are the R-11 refuelers, also referred to as "the big green trucks." The fuel distribution element utilizes these refuelers, which can hold 6,000 gallons of jet fuel and dispense at a rate of 600 gallons a minute.

"Our role is vital to the movement of all vehicles and aircraft on this base," said Sergeant Saunders.

With the long hours put in by the flight's dedicated Airmen, the Andersen flightline remains dynamic and vitalized with sound of aircraft engines ready to take off and fulfill their mission, keeping Andersen moving and mission-ready.

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