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86th LRS fuels Ramstein’s mission

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Justin Burr, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operator, hooks up a hydrant coupler on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. The 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oils, and lubricants flight is responsible for handling the installation’s military fuel supply. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Justin Burr, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operator, hooks up a hydrant coupler on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. The 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oils, and lubricants flight is responsible for handling the installation’s military fuel supply. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tanner Thompson, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels laboratory technician, pours fuel into a glass bottle for testing on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. The 86th LRS’s petroleum, oils, and lubricants Airmen inspect the government-owned fuel on Ramstein before selling it to its respective buyers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tanner Thompson, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels laboratory technician, pours fuel into a glass bottle for testing on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. The 86th LRS’s petroleum, oils, and lubricants Airmen inspect the government-owned fuel on Ramstein before selling it to its respective buyers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Fuel falls into a glass bottle on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. Airmen at the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s fuels laboratory inspects government-owned fuel coming into Ramstein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Fuel falls into a glass bottle on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. Airmen at the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s fuels laboratory inspects government-owned fuel coming into Ramstein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Peak, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels service center controller, explains the operations of the 86th LRS’s petroleum, oils and lubricants control center on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 21, 2017. The control center serves as the nucleus of the 86th LRS’s POL flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Peak, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels service center controller, explains the operations of the 86th LRS’s petroleum, oils and lubricants control center on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 21, 2017. The control center serves as the nucleus of the 86th LRS’s POL flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Richards, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels supervisor, holds a beaker filled with liquid oxygen on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. Liquid oxygen is breathed in by pilots flying in high altitudes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Richards, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels supervisor, holds a beaker filled with liquid oxygen on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 20, 2017. Liquid oxygen is breathed in by pilots flying in high altitudes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- What can win wars, but is not a weapon? What can bring society to life, but also destroy it? Fuel.

Communities around the world run on fuel in some shape or form, and Ramstein is no exception.

The 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oils and lubricants flight is responsible for handling the installation’s military fuel supply.

Master Sgt. Jeremy Aumiller, 86th LRS section chief fuels operations, said his Airmen’s mission is paramount.

“Without fuel, nothing moves,” Aumiller said. “You can load up all the bombs that need to go down range, but if there’s no fuel, that jet isn’t going anywhere—those bombs are worthless. If it contains any kind of a moving engine part, the mission stops without us.”

The Airmen receive, inspect, store and distribute fuel to their respective buyers. The flight manages fuel for both government-owned aircraft and ground equipment.

POL is divided into four sections: the fuels information service section — which serves as the nucleus of the flight, the mobility section, the laboratory and operations. The laboratory serves as an inspection center for government-owned fuel coming into Ramstein.

Tech. Sgt. Antonio Lucio Jr., non-commissioned officer in charge of the 86th LRS fuels laboratory, said inspection is a very crucial part of the POL mission. The type of fuel a unit receives can have a crucial impact on its mission, he explained .

“There isn’t a single drop that comes in which isn’t sampled by us,” said Lucio, who has ten years of experience working with fuel. "The Air Force has certain specifications for aviation fuel. When we receive the fuel, we want to ensure the entire fuel recipe meets or exceeds those specifications."

Lucio added that the consequences of not inspecting or giving an aircraft the wrong kind of fuel could be dangerous — and even deadly.

“The effect on aircraft would be either it could miss take-off or it could potentially crash,” he said. “It could result in loss of life and equipment. That’s what we want to avoid.”

POL does not just handle fuel in the sense of liquid to make a vehicle run. It also has a cryogenics department, which handles oxygen for pilots to breathe in high altitudes.

Aumiller acknowledged that there are potential risks that come with his Airmen’s job, but they mitigate these risks by using personal protective equipment. Smoking is also prohibited within 50 feet of a fuel source, he added.

Aumiller recalled a snow storm in January 2017, in which the Kaiserslautern Military Community witnessed record snowfall. Though it was the largest snowfall in a 24-hour period in the area since 2009, Aumiller and his Airmen still carried out their mission.

POL Airmen must report for duty even with the presence of severe weather or other hazardous conditions even when other Airmen do not.

Aumiller said their dedication shows the commitment of POL Airmen to ensure Ramstein keeps moving forward, through rain, sleet, or snow.