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"It doesn't roll without POL"

  • Published
  • By Monte Miller
  • 375th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
About 100,000 gallons of jet fuel are delivered to Scott Air Force Base each week, and there are 34 Airmen that get it where it needs to go.

Members of the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Fuels Management Flight work round the clock to keep aircraft flying, trucks working and cars rolling.

"If it needs gas, we deliver it," said Airman 1st Class Stephen Merrit, 375th LRS distribution operator. "We drive the truck out, hook the hose to the plane and hit some switches."

Airman Merritt's days begin at 6 a.m. with a check of the scheduled aircraft and other fuelings for the day, then a thorough equipment check and fuel testing is conducted.

Because the Fuels Management Flight also fills transient aircraft that stop in at Scott, the Airmen never know what they might see from day to day.

To fuel the planes, the flight uses a fleet of 6,000-gallon trucks equipped with 600 gallon per minute pumps.

"The time it takes to fill a plane depends on the type," Airman Merritt explained. "For example, a C-40 may take on 2,000 to 5,000 gallons. That takes between 10 and 15 minutes. A KC-10 might take on 30,000 gallons which will take longer."

Not all planes that come here will need a full tank, so the fueling times vary accordingly for a 'gas and go'.

In addition to transient aircraft, the 375th Fuels Management flight is responsible for fueling the 54th Airlift Squadron's fleet of C-21's, the aircraft of the 932nd Airlift Wing, and any other aircraft that brings guests and visitors to Scott.

They also fuel the rotating C-130 Hercules aircraft that come and go from Scott flying aeromedical evacuation missions.

"The C-130 is my favorite to fill," Airman Merritt said. "We've also fueled a couple of V-22 Ospreys. When those land and take off, everyone watches."

The busiest time for the flight is the annual Scott airshow when they are refueling aircraft nearly non-stop.

"It's constant," Airman Merritt said. "You fill a plane, go back and fill your truck and then go fill another plane. It's like we say, 'without fuel, pilots are pedestrians'."

Airman Merrit is used to round the clock non-stop work. He was recently deployed to Qatar, where he said they pumped 1.3 million gallons of fuel per month.

The Fuels Management Flight at Scott orchestrates roughly 4 million gallons of JP-8 jet fuel per year to more than 3,000 aircraft serving the Department of Defense, Foreign Departments and Civilian Contractors, ensuring a streamlined billing system of more than $12 million dollars in fuel receipts annually.