Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants Mission Feature

  • Published
  • By Capt. Suzanne VanderWeyst
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Known best by its acronym that few can decode from memory, the Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants flight, or POL, with the 115th Logistics Readiness Squadron here does more than just drive a big green truck and pump fuel ... it helps save lives. 

With extensive quality control, accounting and storing programs that encompass every aspect of the fuels flight mission to provide clean, high quality fuel to all aircraft and vehicles on base, the POL team does their part to ensure every Airman in the pilot or driver's seat at the 115th Fighter Wing can perform their mission safely.
"We have a really strict quality control program that we follow," said Tech. Sgt. Allen Nielsen, POL flight laboratory supervisor. 

Upon receiving fuel, samples are drawn and tested for any contamination. In the end, all fuel is filtered three times before it actually gets into the aircraft.
Another service POL Airmen provide to the aircraft is cryogenics, better known as the liquid oxygen aviators need in order to breathe at high altitude. It's such a serious item that cryogenic technicians must go to a formal school and then do six months of on-the-job training before they can be awarded certification. 

Even with a small shop, the 115 LRS fuels flight can produce big results. When a higher sortie generation is required, they can perform hot pit refueling, which means fueling the aircraft while the engine is still running. They also can decrease aircraft turn-around time by refueling while munitions Airmen simultaneously reload. On top of all that, the POL flight has someone on duty 24/7 to take care of the high priority alert aircraft. 

When asked how challenging it is to work in fuels, POL flight superintendent, Master Sgt. Dennis Notler, said being physically fit to handle hoses in icy winter conditions and being able to drive a 70-plus thousand pound truck without crashing into anything are just some of the challenges.