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Airborne gas stations

November 13th, 2017

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – Military members of the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, man aerial bulk fuel delivery systems that supply fuel to forward operating bases across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“ABFDS is designed to be installed as part of the aircraft and consists of two pumping modules, bladders with vent and hose assemblies,” said Tech. Sgt. Jacob Anderson, 379th ELRS team chief. “The bladders are secured with tie-down straps to convert the aircraft into an aerial tanker quickly and safely.”
“Our mission is to deliver mission-critical jet fuel and aviation gasoline to four forward operating locations across the AOR,” said Anderson.
The system can carry up to 6,000 gallons on a C-130, 9,000 gallons on a C-17 Globemaster, and 30,000 gallons on a C-5 Galaxy.
Anderson does not take on this mission alone; the ABFDS team consists of five other petroleum oil and lubricants Airmen who are paired together for missions. The team has flown over 70 missions at AUAB.
Senior Airman Benjamin Hunter, 379th ELRS ABFDS team member, partners with Anderson during missions.
“Delivering fuel to other FOBs in the area that have no other way of getting fuel is our mission,” said Hunter. “Normally they get it by tanks and trucks but if they can’t, we resupply their fuel.”
“Fuel can be offloaded into trucks, bladders, or other containers,” said Anderson. “We also have the capability to directly refuel other aircraft with the alternate capability equipment.”
Anderson talked about preparations the ABFDS team does and the goals they set in order to make sure their missions are successful.
“Our job consists of prepping the equipment, issuing fuel to the remote equipment, to ensure we have a 100 percent fuel offload completion rate, to be trained and ready to act swiftly to resolve any emergency situation, such as fuel leakage or bladder rupture, it’s imperative we’re on our A game,” said Anderson. “Our goal is to protect the crew and aircraft ensuring the fuel is being delivered safely and flawlessly while ensuring the entire crew arrives back safely.”
Anderson and Hunter shared why they enjoy being part of flying missions in the AOR and working with their POL team.
“It feels good; I love flying. We’re the sole emergency fuel hub for the entire AOR and I know we directly impacted the fight against the suppression of Daesh behind enemy lines,” said Anderson. “I enjoy working with the different C-17 aircrew personnel and building that relationship with my POL teammates. These guys are making a huge difference while putting their lives on the line each and every mission.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of professionals to be by my side in these austere conditions,” he added.
“POL is an awesome career field that has a direct mission impact no matter what you are doing,” said Hunter. “There are great people in this career field, we all become a big family and if you get the opportunity to do ABFDS, there is truly no better job our career field has to offer.”

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