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Fueling the Pacific mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nestor Cruz
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Many squadrons say they provide the tools and manpower to help fuel the fight, but an 18th Civil Engineer Squadron unit really does "fuel" the fight. 

The 18th CES Liquid Fuels Flight is charged with providing fuel for Kadena Air Base's aircraft and vehicle fleets. 

"We have several pump houses around the base which draw fuel from our storage facilities," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher LeBourveau, 18th CES liquid fuels section chief. "Our folks perform maintenance to make sure our delivery systems are 100 percent functional 24/7." 

The flight maintains and periodically cleans more than 30 fuel storage tanks, a daunting task considering some tanks hold as much as four million gallons. 

"We have to ensure the tanks are clean inside, with no sedimentation or sludge to contaminate the fuel," said Tech. Sgt. Clinton Jaynes, 18th CES liquid fuels NCO-in-charge. 

The fuel is pumped through filter separators which produces clean and dry fuel, said Sergeant Jaynes. While all fuels contain some moisture, the filter separators remove excess moisture from the fuel, making it safe for aircraft. 

Liquid fuels flight Airmen work hand-in-hand with petroleum, oil and lubricants specialists from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron to deliver fuel to the flightline. 

The liquid fuels flight also manages all the government gas stations, thereby fueling all wing and tenant unit vehicles. 

"If we don't show up for work, our Airmen would not be able to fly or drive to get the mission done," said Staff Sgt. Zebulan Tune, 18th CES liquid fuels craftsman. 

The flight also works closely with the base fuel spill team to avert as many environmental hazards as possible. 

"We're part of the investigation team during fuel spills," said Sergeant Jaynes. "Once fuel touches the ground, we have to contain it and get it out of there quickly." 

Sergeant LeBourveau and his team were able to demonstrate their quickness during the operational readiness inspection. The flight's rapid response team reacted to a simulated damaged fuel line, assessed the damage and completed repairs within an hour and a half, beating the standard by 15 minutes. 

"It's important for us to work fast," said Sergeant LeBourveau, "because our Airmen won't be able to complete the mission without fuel."