HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Airmen from the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight have developed an Air Force first with the newly assigned R-13 Mobile Refueling Unit vehicles they received at the beginning of the fiscal year.
“These were originally designed to deliver aviation gasoline and were ordered as life-cycle replacements for our commercial refueling units that have exceeded their lifespan,” said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Harris, 49th LRS fuels distribution non-commissioned officer in charge. “We have the main service station down right now and we only had two 1,200 gallon trucks that could not efficiently keep the service station up with the base’s daily demand.”
Before the new vehicles, fuels Airmen consistently, conducted fuels runs to keep the service station operable.
The new R-13 vehicles can carry up to 3,000 gallons per load and refuel the service station multiple times before needing to be refilled. The 49th LRS fuels Airmen retrofitted these vehicles specifically for ground fuel instead of aviation gasoline and upped the wing capacity by 63 percent.
“By retrofitting these vehicles they’ve upped the total deliverable product by 6,000 gallons and save over 5 hours of work weekly.” Williams said. “This is a huge return for a career field that is not typically manned to support this type of service station operation daily.”
“Teaming with the refueling maintenance element, the servicing units were modified from an aviation servicing configuration to strictly ground products, assuring product commingling would be eliminated,” said Master Sgt. James Williams, 49th LRS fuels operations section chief. “This modification needed approval from the Air Force Petroleum Office, but a quick analysis of the equipment we were working with and demand of the equipment made this an easy call.”
Commingling, the mixing of two separate products, such as gasoline in an aircraft or jet fuel into diesel vehicle. With the adapter, nozzle and parts found within the shop they were able to work with vehicle maintenance and save the squadron upwards of $10,000 in maintenance.
The fuels management flight provides fuel for over 800 assigned vehicles and TDY government vehicles on base, to include security forces, the fire department and aircraft ground equipment.
In fiscal year 2019, the 49th LRS provided 384,000 gallons of fuel to government vehicles on base as well as 14,000,000 gallons of jet fuel to assigned MQ-9 Reaper and F-16 Viper aircraft. This year alone the flight expects to save the Air Force 260 man-hours.
“Staff Sgt. Ty Penney, 49th LRS fuels distribution supervisor, took the initiative and started working the adapter issues, within a few weeks he accomplished a task that was only a pipedream,” Williams said. “Without NCO’s like him these projects would never become a reality.”