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Fuel testing keeps planes in the fight

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The 455th Expeditionary Logistics Squadron Fuels Laboratory has the critical task of ensuring the fuel that keeps the airplanes in the sky and in the fight is free of contamination.

They do this task by conducting fuel sample analysis ensuring that the fuel delivered to aircraft on the line here meets Air Force standards.

“If fuel is not clean and within specs, aircraft cannot operate,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Guzman, 455th ELRS Fuels Laboratory noncommissioned officer in charge, deployed from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. “What we do is important. We want to make sure the fuel is not contaminated; if it isn’t clean it impacts aircraft directly from engine failures to possible crashes.”

In the civilian workforce, fuel testers must have a chemist degree in order to hold the job. In the Air Force, enlisted fuels Airmen go through extensive training and are the ones that accomplish this mission critical task.

“Every sample that we test, every truck we send out to fuel an aircraft has a big impact in completing the mission here,” said Guzman. “We want to make sure the fuel is clean so that aircraft here can complete their mission.”

The fuel testing job here has the same standard and uses the same tools and techniques as back at home station. The difference from home stations is that in a deployed environment the impact can be more easily seen.

“It’s one of the most wonderful experiences in the world,” said Chief Master Sgt. Troy Ferguson, 455th ELRS fuels manager. “To be able to walk out and see the planes take off over the mountains and know our fuels team had an impact on making that happen is amazing.”