FARP Troops Keep Coalition Aircrews And Craft Flying
The aviation aircraft and crews that fly missions in Iraq are kept in the air by the actions of the FARP soldiers. Forward Arming and refueling points are the location where aircraft return to and are given new munitions, new bombs and missiles, and where they are refueled. The officer in charge of the FARP detachment is like a crew chief, in the pits at a racecar speedway.
The professionals swarm over the aircraft as they come in, giving them fuel, new munitions, and making sure that all the refueling and re arming needs are met. The mission of the aircraft is supported; the crews are swift and efficient when giving needed supplies and fuel to the aircraft.
It is a little bit like a ballet, where the well trained and professional pilots come in and rely on the FARP crewmembers to keep them supplied, and in effect to keep them safe by ensuring that they have all the weapons they need and their fuel supplied swiftly, allowing them to re arm and take to the air fast.
The pilots call ahead for pad assignment and clearance, and then the non-commissioned shift officer in charge assigns soldiers and crew to each aircraft as it comes in. Soldiers bring in fuel trucks, observe all safety measures and make sure everyone exits the aircraft safely. All this happens within the first 30 seconds.
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After the passengers, pilots and navigation officers are away from the aircraft, then fueling and re arming begins in earnest. Safety is paramount, and as the process is concluded, everyone is made secure as the aircraft begins to head back into the fight.