U.S. Air Force Airman from the 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oils and lubricants flight discuss the next steps to take after inspecting fuel trucks at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Aug. 7, 2012. POL has a combined 6 main departments and has issued approximately 8.2 million gallons of JP-8 fuel in the past year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Francis/Released)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class James Stossmeister, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels journeyman, checks for breaks or cracks in the seal of a man hole at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Aug. 7, 2012. Stossmeister conducts multiple checks throughout the truck to verify everything is set before the truck is used. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Francis/Released)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Clarissa Fields, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron petroleum, oils and lubricants, fuels a truck during a routine check at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Aug. 7, 2012. POL is responsible for providing clean, dry fuel to aircraft assigned to Moody. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Francis/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Olivia Dominique
23d Wing Public Affairs
8/15/2012 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Watching an aircraft take off is one of the visible aspects of Moody Air Force Base and its mission, but that mission wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants flight, best known as POL.
The Airmen of POL ensure that the mission is ready at all times by maintaining their own equipment and providing clean fuel by testing and sampling.
"Without fuel, pilots are pedestrians," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Adam Fleming, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron refueling maintenance technician.
Airmen of the POL flight not only drive a big green truck and pump fuel, but they are also responsible for providing clean, dry and serviceable fuel, and sampling all fuel that is used by base aircraft and vehicles. POL is also responsible for the maintenance of their vehicles.
"Being able to work hands-on is my favorite part," Fleming said. "The most challenging part is troubleshooting the trucks and trying to figure out why they are not pumping.
"Here at POL, we take a lot of pride in our job because we know that we're an essential piece to the mission," Fleming added.
An essential part of this mission is keeping pilots safe.
"We make sure that pilots and vehicle operators are safe," Fleming said. "If we didn't do our job properly, planes could go down or vehicles could crash."
To ensure this is accomplished, the unit is divided into six sections which work together to make sure the mission is completed effectively and efficiently. The six sections include training and support, refueling maintenance, laboratory, distribution, control center and material section.
One of these sections is the lab, which tests all fuel before it can be pumped into an aircraft or vehicle.
"Lab is important for testing and sampling the incoming fuel for possible contaminants," said Staff Sgt. Avery Swain, 23d LRS Fuels NCO in charge of the laboratory. "We perform periodic inspections on tanks and fuel stands to check for any contamination or pollution.
"Anything that has to do with fuel, comes to us first," Swain added. "We verify the quality of the fuel and cryogenics."
Airmen in POL understand the importance of verifying the quality of fuel and cryogenics because with clean fuel, the mission can happen.
"I never realized the importance of fuels until I joined the Air Force," Swain said. "If it wasn't for fuel, nothing would work."
With each division working together to provide the clean and high quality fuel needed, the skilled Airmen of the POL team do their part to ensure every Airman in the pilot or driver's seat at the 23d Wing can perform their mission safely.