86 LRS fuels Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Keech
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When many people think of the U.S. Air Force, they may think about airpower, but airpower starts from the ground. 

Aircraft would not be able to get off the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, without the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight, the foundation of the airlift mission. 

Petroleum, oils and lubricant Airmen support Ramstein, tenant units, other nations and distinguished visitors by inspecting, maintaining and dispensing fuel from million gallon tanks, fuel trucks, mobile fuel piping assemblies and cryogenic tanks. POL is responsible for all the fuel servicing on the flightline, including ground products, for this area. 

“The LRS mission is to get people where they need to be in a timely manner,” said Staff Sgt. Shane Martins, 86 LRS fuels accountant.

Approximately 90 Airmen are assigned to the 86 LRS Fuels Management Flight. While they are under-manned, they work twice as hard to get the job done. It paid off when they were named the Best FMF in U.S. Air Forces Europe on May 26 for their accomplishments throughout last year. 

The flight’s daily operations ensure that Ramstein remains the global gateway, but POL also plays a huge role in humanitarian missions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation Allies Refuge, and the Ukraine crisis. 

“Being named the best fuels management flight in USAFE is a culmination of the hard work, dedication and adaptability of our Airmen in a year where they met numerous challenges,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Capaldo, 86 LRS fuels superintendent. “The Ramstein POL flight, like many Airmen across the 86th Airlift Wing, exceeded expectations when the world called and this award is proof of those efforts.” 

One notable achievement POL accomplished last year was providing assistance during OAR, said Capaldo. While supporting airlift efforts on the flightline, Airmen manned various jobs to support the humanitarian mission as augmentees. 

Capaldo said POL Airmen also created a Department of Transportation equivalent fuel truck driving program that was created and run by Airmen in the flight, complied with DoT regulations and sustained flightline fuels support. 

Behind nearly every mission at Ramstein, the POL flight is supporting them by providing the assets they need like clean fuel. 

“Despite the numerous challenges over the last 12 months, this flight has risen to the challenge,” Capaldo said. “I’m very proud of each one of these fuel professionals.”