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Bagram cryogenics puts the air in airpower

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
LOX is not only critical to the F-16 pilots stationed here, but is also used by cargo aircraft pilots and crews in case of an in-flight emergency and for the medical evacuation mission.

Being in a deployed environment helps the Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Cryogenics Shop see their direct impact on the mission.

“Being deployed, I get to see the direct impact,” said Staff Sgt. Mykel Wilson, 455th ELRS cryogenics noncommissioned officer in charge. “Back home I’m disconnected from the deployed environment and deployed mission. Here we’re in the middle of the flight line. I fill up the [50 gallon LOX] carts and they take it out to the jets and I see that same jet take off a couple of hours later. Being able to see the jet and knowing it’s using your LOX is a rewarding feeling.”

One thing that stays the same between home station and being deployed is that you have to be careful when filling the 50 gallon LOX carts.

“You have to be very aware of what it can do,” said Wilson. “The boiling point for LOX is -297 degrees; it’s some cold stuff that needs to be handled carefully.”

The combat airpower mission in Afghanistan would be greatly impacted if the capability to provide LOX to the F-16 pilots was not available here.

“Without LOX the fighters wouldn’t be able to be stationed here,” said Wilson. “They would have to fly further distances to support the guys on the ground. It would mean longer flight time and longer days for the pilots. The fighters also wouldn’t be able to spend as much time in the air over the battlefield due to having to come from farther away if we didn’t have the capability to provide LOX here.”

Chief Master Sgt. Troy Ferguson, 455th ELRS fuels manager, echoed Wilsons statement.

“The combat flying mission at Bagram would stop without cryogenics. It’s very important to the mission, and we have to make sure we do things right each and every time to protect the lives of the pilots going up,” said Ferguson.