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Fueling Selfridge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ryan Zeski
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Aircraft and automobiles at Selfridge have something in common, they all run on fuel managed by the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron. Without the 127th LRS, daily operations for the base would be severely limited.

Among many other things, the 127th LRS is responsible for fueling the KC-135 Stratotanker and the A-10 Thunderbolt II. When someone calls for gas, LRS delivers.
"Obviously, if aircraft don't have fuel they don't fly. It's easy to overlook just how dependent everything is on fuel," said Tech. Sgt. David Merchant, 127th LRS fuels distribution operator.

Fully loaded, a KC-135 can hold up to 203,000 pounds of fuel. On a typical day, the average load is around 40,000 pounds or 5,900 gallons of fuel. The amount of fuel a jet receives is dependent on what the mission requires. While the A-10 Thunderbolt II can hold a maximum capacity around 1,700 gallons, it usually never takes that much at one time. The jet is always topped off after it lands.

In September 2014, Selfridge, as well as the rest of the U.S. Air Force, switched from the JP-8 fuel over to Jet A+. The Jet A+ fuel has barely noticeable differences from the JP-8 and is now the current standard for the jet fuel used at Selfridge.

The cost of Jet A+ is $3.68 per gallon, as of July 2015.

The 127th LRS doesn't actually own the fuel, they just manage it. It is owned by Defense Logistics Agency Energy. DLA Energy is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Defense that provides supplies to the military services. Once LRS passes the fuel onto the receiving aircraft, they are then responsible for allocating costs.  

Before the fuel reaches the jet on the flightline, it is accurately tested for any unwanted contaminants. The most common type of contaminant found in the fuel is some kind of dirt. Depending on where in the world the fuel comes from more sand, dirt or clay might be present.

"We test the fuel every day to ensure it is up to standards," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Fournier, 127th LRS fuels distribution worker.

Using a filtration system, a gallon of fuel is passed through a small piece of nitrocellulose paper which will collect any particles that pass through it. Once the paper dries, it is then weighed on an analytical balance -- a highly accurate scale capable of weighing particles small as 0.0001 g or 0.1 mg. The weight of the paper after having fuel pass through it determines how many particles are in the fuel.

Once the fuel has been tested and filtered it is then ready to be used in any of the aircraft here at Selfridge ANGB.

"The best part about the job is being able to provide clean quality fuel to the jet," said Senior Airman Jason Navarre, 127th LRS fuels distribution operator. "With the fuel we provide, they are able to safely complete the mission."

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.