NEWS | June 13, 2019

Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants Airmen Keep Northern Edge Fueled

By Senior Airman Jonathan Valdes 673d Air Base Wing / Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airmen from the 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels section provided assistance to the two-week exercise Northern Edge 2019 hosted at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, throughout May.

Not only did they support, they were a unique piece of the puzzle, bringing an incredible amount of effort and dedication behind the scenes to make NE19 possible.

“Petroleum, oils and lubricants Airmen had the most critical role in this exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Levi Roark, 673d LRS hydrants noncommissioned officer in charge. “We have a saying that without fuel, pilots are pedestrians. This exercise wouldn’t take place without us. If people would spend five minutes in our heads and see how much effort, how many resources we had to utilize to make everything happen, and how far out of our way we have to go to really ensure mission success, they would appreciate POL even more.”

Recognizing what was at stake, fuels Airmen made sure they maintained their readiness and kept pressing forward through every possible scenario they encountered.

“We had zero pushbacks, zero complaints, they were incredibly flexible and their work ethic was really highlighted,” Roark said. “They were spending 12 hours on the flight line in a truck having their meals taken to them.”

“They were ready to do their work and make the exercise happen.”

Over 4 million gallons of fuel were used during this exercise which is over $11 million worth of fuel. Also, 15 different types of aircraft participated with a staggering 1,398 takeoffs.

An accomplishment of this magnitude doesn’t go unnoticed.

“There are no words to describe how satisfying it is knowing everyone worked tirelessly to have a successful exercise,” said Roark. “They shined; if I needed something to display the competence of my team and what we can do, this was it. We always come together and thrive every single year.”

Roark also added it was an opportunity to practice and stay prepared for any possible scenario that could happen.

Participating in this exercise not only served as training, but also helped Airmen gain new experiences.

“It was a great experience overall and it kept me busy,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Logan Cox, 673d LRS preventative maintenance. “It was my first time participating in Northern Edge and I got to work with different aircraft I haven’t worked before.”

With the same enthusiasm and readiness, fuels Airmen began preparing for Red Flag-Alaska 19-2 which kicked off 13 days after NE19 ended.

“We are expecting the same degree of difficulty that we faced with NE19,” said Roark. “We will give the same effort and expect the same result, which is a completed safe mission. We prepare for the worst with our best, and we always come out on top.”