Soldiers Race To Rearm And Fuel Coalition Planes
Camp Taji, Iraq
The crew waits for each aircraft to land, and taxi to a safe position. Then they swarm out, and rush about doing their assigned tasks. They work in swift manner, but together, checking the air pressure in the tires. They fill the tanks with gallons of fuel, and check other vital fluids. It nearly resembles the action of a NASCAR pit crew, except these soldiers are working on aircraft for the Multi-National Forces Iraq. They are part of the Baghdad Task Force XII, and are working at the forward refueling and arming station.
These are the soldiers who make the difference, fueling and loading thousands of pound of ammo. An aircraft can land, taxi, be re armed and re fueled in the time you could listen to a song on the radio.
“We work swiftly but safe,” said Sgt. 1st Class Freddie Epting. Epting is the platoon sergeant for Renegade Troop, 4/3 Armored Cavalry Regiment. “We try to keep it around three and a half minutes per aircraft, including ammo and refueling. This is especially challenging because the FARP location services Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and other coalition aircraft.
“We move the aircraft moves through the process quickly to get them back in the air as soon as possible,” said Sergeant Epting. “Safety is always first, but speed is important too. There is a special nozzle for refueling aircraft that are still running called the D1 nozzle. It is designed to refuel without letting vapor escape to cut down on the chances of a fire breaking out.