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Airlifter of the Week: Airman fuels fight

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Josué Ayala Pérez, 496th Air Base Squadron fuels technician, assists a U.S. Marine with a fuel pump at Morón Air Base, Spain

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Josué Ayala Pérez, 496th Air Base Squadron fuels technician, assists a U.S. Marine with a fuel pump at Morón Air Base, Spain, in February 2021. Pérez has only been with the 496th ABS for two months, but has already made his mark and become a vital member of the squadron. (Courtesy Photo)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Josué Ayala Pérez, 496th Air Base Squadron fuels technician, holds a commander’s coin during an Airlifter of the Week ceremony.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Josué Ayala Pérez, 496th Air Base Squadron fuels technician, holds a commander’s coin during an Airlifter of the Week ceremony at Morón Air Base, Spain, Feb. 11, 2021. The Airlifter of the Week program recognizes Ramstein Airmen who, through hard work and dedication, make the 86th Airlift Wing the World’s Best Wing. (Courtesy Photo)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Leadership from the 86th Airlift Wing recognized Senior Airman Josué Ayala Pérez, 496th Air Base Squadron fuels technician, as Airlifter of the Week, for his expertise and leadership, Feb. 11, 2021.

Pérez, a Puerto Rico native, has only been with the 496th ABS, Morón Air Base, Spain, for two months, but has already made his mark and become a vital member of the squadron. Pérez wanted to be stationed in Spain. Morón AB was the first choice on his dream sheet.

“I’ve become one of the main translators at my base,” Pérez said. “I speak more Spanish than English, so I help out a lot when working with the local nationals to make sure our tasks are completed properly and our objectives are clearly understood.”

Not only does Pérez help bridge whatever communication gaps may arise between the 496th ABS and the local nationals, he also plays key roles on multiple fronts within the squadron.

The 496th ABS is one of the 86th AW’s geographically separated units. It plays a vital role in supporting the rotation of Aerospace Expeditionary Forces deployed in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command area of responsibilities. Perez and his fellow Airmen’s expertise allow U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps air assets to use Morón AB as a staging area for their operations.

Among the list of Pérez’s accomplishments, he’s coordinated two days of fuel transfers totaling 12 hours of pipeline movement from an off base Spanish supplier. He also identified four fuel trucks in need of repairs and ensured the safe and timely receipt of 617,000 gallons of fuel.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity and the responsibilities the 496th ABS have entrusted me with,” Pérez said.

Pérez has shown that he’s a highly capable Airman and has the tools to accomplish whatever tasks he’s given. Along with being an expert fuel technician, he helps in every function within his unit, from cryogenics servicing, laboratory testing and account management, while navigating operations with both the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Units and host nation personnel.

“I look forward to continuing to be an asset to my squadron and the U.S. Air Force,” Pérez said. “I’m excited to see what happens next in my military career.”