POL fuels the fight

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Christopher Corliss
  • 144th Fighter Wing

The Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants shop, better known as POL, has been essential to fueling the fight and has made significant efforts in keeping the 144th Fighter Wing’s jets flying. For the past two years, the fuels section, also referred to as the ‘Fuel Farm,’ has been under construction to remove the underground fuel storage tanks and put them above ground. 
This construction project has created a tedious process for the POL folks. I received a ride in one of the six R-11 refueling trucks on base with Staff Sgt. Gabriel Nateras and Airman Aaron Paredez, to understand the operating procedure POL executes to continue the mission. These two local Airmen with family both on and off base remain dedicated to “crushing the mission.” 
The R-11 refueling trucks have been used as mobile fuel storage tanks to keep our jets flying. Normally, with the Fuel Farm operational, the R-11 trucks would only need to be driven up and down Griffin Way to fill up after refueling our jets. However, while the fuel farm was under construction, they were required to drive the Perimeter Road of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, over to Signature Flight Support, and get fuel from the Fixed Base Operator that normally services most of the general aviation aircraft at the airport. 
The POL Airmen would generally fuel the F-15Cs in the morning, and then make their rounds over to Signature Flight Support to fill up the R-11s, and then make it back to our Guard Base in time to fill up the fighter jets after the mission. The Airmen would then repeat this same process for a second and sometimes, third ‘go,’ depending on the flying schedule.  
Although tedious, the process is straightforward. However, an R-11 truck fueling up a fighter jet isn’t the same as pulling up your personal vehicle to a gas pump. 
As a general rulefuel, oil and water weigh six, seven, and eight pounds respectively. Each R-11 truck holds 6,000 gallons of jet fuel and each F-15C Eagle holds 22,000 pounds of fuel with its external fuel tanks attached.  
After Nateras and Paredez demonstrated how to hook up the attachments on the truck to the jet, I held the trigger that initiates the fuel pump. The meter read 2,400 gallons after six minutes. How much could your car tank hold after just six minutes? 
The POL shop will be able to return to their regular standard operating procedures now that the construction of the fuels storage system is complete. Their hard work during the construction phase was imperative to executing our mission of defending the homeland. Now, they will be able to continue their excellence fueling the fight with a state-of-the-art facility here in Fresno.