JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
The 445th Logistics Readiness Squadron here is made up of a variety of Airmen with many different roles, duties, and careers. One such role in LRS is the fuels flight.
“Fuels is kind of underrated,” said Senior Airman Darren M. Trenkamp, a fuels specialist with the 445th LRS. “Other groups don’t realize everything on this base runs on fuel. Planes won’t take off, you can’t get the trucks anywhere.”
In his civilian life, Trenkamp lives in Kentucky and works for Fifth Third Bank. He has been with the 445th since 2011.
When asked about a change of station, Trenkamp replied, “I love my job. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The fuels flight is made up of multiple different compartments. The sections include aircraft refueling, laboratory, facilities, and the fuels service center.
“We have the FSC, that’s who the people call to let us know they need fuel,” said Trenkamp.
The FSC also completes any gallon adjustments needed and they keep up with what’s going on, said Trenkamp.
“You also have facilities,” said Trenkamp. “They go around and check the pump houses. Fuel doesn’t move on its own. You need big equipment to push all that fuel through different places, along with filter after filter.”
One section that most Reserve Airmen do not get to see during the unit training assembly is the lab.
“Lab is important because that’s what tests for particles in the fuel and things like that,” said Trenkamp. “If there is any kind of contaminants it could essentially cause a plane crash.”
“We (the 445th) don’t get lab time because that role is contracted out on Wright-Patterson,” said Master Sgt. Jason A. Bates, NCO in charge and flight chief of fuels operations at the 445th LRS.
Bates has been with the squadron for a few years now. He is also contracted as a refueling unit technician with the 88th LRS. Overall, he has been on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for approximately 10 years.
The 445th LRS recently returned from their annual tour assignment at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
“A benefit of coming to a place like this is the amount of flights,” said Bates. “They get as many flights in a day as we might in a year back home.”
While in Alaska for annual training the 445th LRS fuels Airmen were able to take advantage of training opportunities like working in the lab and being able to work with many different aircraft platforms. Some of the aircraft the Airmen refueled were the C-17 Globemaster III, the C-12 Huron, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-22 Raptor, and even the F/A-18 Hornet jets used by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.