Fueling the force with POL

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anabel Del Valle
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oil and lubricants flight is a key element in Tyndall’s ability to project unrivaled combat airpower as they provide critical support and coordination for all missions.

Although POL specializes in fuel distribution and quality, their job can hardly be described as simply refueling aircraft.

“In the POL career field, there are many different aspects to master,” said Tech. Sgt. William Overton, 325th LRS noncommissioned officer in charge of fuels service center. “POL Airmen are never trained to execute only one thing. This means we train our Airmen in a way that enables them to assist when another Airmen needs them, no matter what section of POL they’re in.”

Before fuel distributors can get out to the flight line and fuel aircraft, fuel is tested in a lab at least three times for excess water or unwanted sediment that can cause a safety hazard. They also manage Tyndall’s supplemental liquid oxygen, or LOX, systems. POL ensures clean oxygen is provided to aircrews so they have access to proper oxygen levels while completing missions at high altitudes.

“We do a quality control test to search for any particulate matter on a piece of filter paper as well as a smell test that indicates any abnormalities,” explained Overton. “It is pretty awesome to see the LOX process. The oxygen becomes freezing cold and turns blue, I joke that it is the coolest blue you’ve ever seen.”

POL also tracks fuel usage and ensures all base and Defense Logistics Agency policies are followed at their control center.

“We are the eyes and ears of the POL flight, directing and recording all operations,” said Staff Sgt. Devon Capsouto, 325th LRS fuels distribution operator. “If fuel, oxygen or other facility things are needed, we are called to coordinate a truck and dispatcher out to deliver.”

The control center is also responsible for charging visiting units for the amount of fuel serviced as well as tracking inbound fuel deliveries and any other type of fuel transfer.

No matter what section of POL an Airman finds themselves in, the whole flight works together to ensure an aircraft takes off with the best quality fuel possible, which safeguards the mission by protecting an aircraft from a malfunction caused by fuel or oxygen.

“There is an instant gratification when listening to our aircraft fly,” said Overton. “We know we have provided the best service possible, which in turn leads to the sound of freedom throughout our skies.”