SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Readiness exercises are a major component of any job in the Air Force. During times when the normal method of fuel supply may be unavailable, Airmen with the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oil, and lubricants section are tested to perform refueling tasks in other than favorable conditions.
The conventional methods that Spangdahlem Air Base obtains JP-8 fuel for aircraft are through pipelines and buffer tanks, which store fuel.
“Exercises like this are important to test our capabilities if a pipeline is down,” said Senior Airman Clayton Johnson, 52nd LRS POL journeyman. “We use a NATO pipeline, and in the event of a war, we need to know we can get fuel in other ways.”
The NATO pipeline is a 10,000 kilometer long pipe system (around 6,200 miles) that runs through 12 NATO countries and supplies fuel to NATO forces.
During the POL alternate receipt exercise, the capabilities of receiving fuel during a contingency are tested, and fuel is brought in via large fuel trucks. For this exercise, the fuel was brought in from Bellheim, Germany.
“The fuel is brought in from Bellheim as that is one of the sourcing locations for JP-8 by the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy,” said Master Sgt. Jason Yunker, 52nd LRS fuels information service center section chief. “It saves the Department of Defense a bit of money by sourcing from one location for all of the departments during peace time operations.”
The fuel is pumped out of the trucks and down into a lab where samples are extracted and tested to make sure there are no traces of water and that the fuel meets JP-8 standards.
Senior Airman Joshua Skroch, 52nd LRS POL journeyman, stated that it is important to test the alternate receiving capabilities for fuel to ensure the mission can still be accomplished when conventional fuel sources are down.
“If something were to happen, like in the case of a war, we need to be prepared,” said Johnson.