HomeNews

Serving again: Prior POL troops continue to fuel airpower in Afghanistan

POL

The 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management team is mostly comprised of contractors who have served in fuels before while in the military. The team is responsible for delivering clean, dry fuel to the aircraft, provide liquid oxygen and nitrogen to aircraft that needs it, and conducts laboratory analysis on the fuel supply. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Donald Williams, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, observes a sample of liquid oxygen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. Williams drew a sample of liquid oxygen to test for particulates and odor. If either is found, Williams must determine what is causing the contamination and restore the oxygen to a useable state. Williams served in the U.S. Army for 11 years as a petroleum supply specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Donald Williams, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, receives a sample of liquid oxygen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. Williams drew a sample of liquid oxygen to test for particulates and odor. If either is found, Williams must determine what is causing the contamination and restore the oxygen to a useable state. Williams served in the U.S. Army for 11 years as a petroleum supply specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Retired U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Ybarra, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, looks through a refractometer at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The refractometer is used to test icing inhibitor content levels in the fuel system, which lowers the freezing point of water and allows normal operations in cold temperatures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Ted Gillenwater, left, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, connects a fuel hose to an aircraft at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The fuels management team is responsible for delivering clean, dry fuel to the aircraft, provide liquid oxygen and nitrogen to aircraft that needs it, and conducts laboratory analysis on the fuel supply. Gillenwater served in the U.S. Air Force for six years as a fuels management specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Ted Gillenwater, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, connects a fuel hose from an R-12 hydrant servicing vehicle to a hydrant fuel system at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The POL team is responsible for delivering clean, dry fuel to the aircraft, provide liquid oxygen and nitrogen to aircraft that needs it, and conducts laboratory analysis on the fuel supply. Gillenwater served in the U.S. Air Force for six years as a fuels management specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Ted Gillenwater, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, waits as an aircraft is refueled at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The fuels management team is mostly comprised of contractors who have served in fuels before while in the military. Gillenwater served in the U.S. Air Force for six years as a fuels management specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Josue Benzler, right, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, checks the gauges on an R-11 refueling vehicle at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The fuels management team refuels military, contracted and commercial aircraft of all types. Benzler served in the U.S. Army as a petroleum supply specialist and retired as a sergeant first class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL

Ted Gillenwater, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, checks the gauges on an R-12 hydrant servicing vehicle during a refueling operation at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The fuels management team is mostly comprised of contractors who have served in fuels before while in the military. Gillenwater served in the U.S. Air Force for six years as a fuels management specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 13

Josue Benzler, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, checks the gauges on an R-11 refueling vehicle at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The fuels management team refuels military, contracted and commercial aircraft of all types. Benzler served in the U.S. Army as a petroleum supply specialist and retired as a sergeant first class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 13

Ted Gillenwater, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, waits as an aircraft is refueled at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2017. The fuels management team is mostly comprised of contractors who have served in fuels before while in the military. Gillenwater served in the U.S. Air Force for six years as a fuels management specialist. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 13

F-16 Fighting Falcons receive fuel at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 31, 2017. The fuels management team refuels military, contracted and commercial aircraft of all types. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

POL
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 13

Clayton Taylor, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, checks the gauges on an R-11 refueling vehicle at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 31, 2017. The fuels management team is mostly comprised of contractors who have served in fuels before while in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The busiest airfield in Afghanistan is fueled by a team who turned in their combat boots and uniforms for polos and khakis.

The 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management section, commonly referred to as POL, enables Resolute Support and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel by supplying all aircraft, to include military, contracted and civilian, with the fuel needed to deliver airpower.

The POL team is mostly civilian contractors, with some military members. However, the civilians all have something in common.

“We have a diverse background of employees, all of which have previous military experience in the Air Force or one of the sister services,” said Master Sgt. Jay Elledge, 455th ELRS fuels management. “They all bring unique experiences and attributes to the fight. While some services may do things differently, all of them share the fundamental elements of POL.”

The POL team is responsible for delivering clean, dry fuel to the aircraft, providing liquid oxygen and nitrogen to aircraft that need it, and conducting laboratory analyses on the fuel supply.

One of the team members served in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2004, retiring as a sergeant first class.

“I was a 92 F while I served, which is a petroleum supply specialist,” said John Mosley, 455th ELRS fuels distribution site manager. “During my time in the Army, I fueled everything from aircraft to tanks. You name it, I fueled it.”

After retiring from the Army, and taking much needed rest, it wasn’t long until Mosley started to work again—doing the very thing he loved most.

“I still wanted to serve the men and women in uniform, so when I became a civilian, I went back to doing the same thing I did in the Army,” he said.

Mosley has been working at Bagram for more than four years, and while missing time with his family may be difficult, they all know he is doing this for the greater good of the United States and Afghanistan.

“Our fuel enables so many missions, from close-air-support to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, all of which supports and defends airpower,” he said. “We are out here day-in and day-out, producing 24/7.”

Mosley, and the rest of the civilian POL workforce, not only have decades of experience, but years in deployed environments like Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar. The knowledge they have pays dividends since the airfield receives military and civilian aircraft from multiple countries, all with different procedures.

“The military is a melting pot of different people, which makes a diverse workforce, and prepares us to work with a variety of nations,” Elledge said. “Our prior service members have had the benefit of deploying and being stationed overseas, so the environment over here is no different than something they may have experienced elsewhere.”

The team distributes millions of gallons of fuel to thousands of aircraft a month, ensuring personnel and cargo arrive at their destinations and coalition forces receive air support. Instead of choosing another line of work, in a less austere environment, the POL team chose to come back, to fight for the common good.

“It’s a testament to the character of the person to come back and serve again,” Elledge said. “The core values we learned in our services stick with us; even after retirement and separation, it is carried over into the civilian sector.”