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22nd LRS Fuels Airmen continue mission during pipeline outage

Airman 1st Class Kaitlin Reynolds, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Distributions technician, checks gauges on a fuels truck May 11, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The fuels flight is responsible for receiving, issuing, maintaining, storing and testing all aviation and ground-product fuels that come into the base for every aircraft and vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan)

Airman 1st Class Kaitlin Reynolds, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Distributions technician, checks gauges on a fuels truck May 11, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The fuels flight is responsible for receiving, issuing, maintaining, storing and testing all aviation and ground-product fuels that come into the base for every aircraft and vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels flight had to work a little harder than normal after an underground fuel pipeline became blocked from April 4-26.

A pipe inspection gauge was sent out by McConnell’s contracted fuel supplier to clean out the pipe and send back data. Unfortunately, it got lodged on a bend in the pipeline.

The fuels flight is responsible for receiving, issuing, maintaining, storing and testing all aviation and ground-product fuels that come into the base for every aircraft and vehicle. Since fuel couldn’t be received from the underground pipeline as it usually would be, the flight was required to exercise its alternate receipt capability, which meant working with the Defense Logistics Agency to bring truck after truck full of aviation fuel to the base.

“Our control center Airmen worked with the DLA folks, and they diverted a lot of trucks in from other bases,” said Master Sgt. Dave Moore, 22nd LRS Fuels superintendent. “They sent us trucks from as far away as Houston and Western Colorado. They made it happen. With a lot of coordination, we ended up receiving over a million gallons of fuel through tank trucks.”

The amount of fuel that was delivered by truck in a week could normally be transferred to the base in a day. Fuels Airmen were challenged as they received the 123 trucks.

“For us, working in the lab, we had to sample every single truck that came in,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Hyde, 22nd LRS Fuels Laboratory NCO in charge. “Normally, whenever we use the pipeline, we have to sample it at the beginning and end and periodically do visual samples, but instead we had to check every truck that came in, so that created a lot more work for us.”

Every Airman in the fuels flight worked to ensure the mission continued despite the obstacles.

“It does take a combined effort,” said Moore. “It’s not any one section, and it’s not any one person within the flight. We have to at least receive as much or more fuel every day than what we push out, because otherwise we drop below a certain level and it dips into our war reserve materials. Our control center made a lot of that happen by being on the phone every single day communicating our needs. It was a pretty big coordinated effort between those who work in the control center and DLA to make sure we got all the fuel we needed to have zero mission impact on the base mission.”