The U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) integrated to fulfill fuel demands during Talisman Sabre 23 at RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, July 22 – Aug. 4, 2023.
Members assigned to the 13th Air Expeditionary Wing, Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants (POL) Flight were trained by their RAAF counterparts on fueling aircraft using RAAF equipment.
“Obviously, more aircraft means more fuel to push,” said Corporal Kevin Pendlebury, senior trainer for the Australian Defence Force refueling assigned to No. 13 Squadron at RAAF Base Darwin. “We need more bodies behind wheels to get that freedom jet flying. My main role is getting all of our USAF augmentees up to speed on the use of the trucks, safely and efficiently.”
The team learned the new equipment as well the RAAF processes for refueling in preparation for TS23
“The first two weeks, the Aussies were training us on how to operate their trucks, learning how to drive on the left side of the road and how to issue to their type of aircraft,” said Benielle. “Compared to what we’re used to, when we drive our own trucks we’re on the right side and now we’re having to swap everything to the left side.”
The team had to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road as well as how to operate the trucks, how to inspect them and learn the technology inside of the trucks
“So, it’s been learning what they have out here, and trying to find the best way to use that and learning how to communicate with the Australian force as well. It’s a lot of back and forth; we’re trying to figure out how to be efficient with that,” said Airman 1st Class Branden Shearer, 13th Air Expeditionary Wing fuels distribution operator.
Outside of learning equipment, the team also had to adapt in order to communicate with each other.
“The communication feeds into it as well. If the communication isn’t great, then some items may lack oe things get messed up at the far end of it of processes,” said Shearer. “But that happens when working with new countries, and improving communication makes that go smoother. It’s a process, but it feels good because you’re making something better.”
Pendlebury said he enjoyed training and working with the team, while adapting to operations and communications.
“They are very efficient. Obviously, the rate of effort we’re trying to keep up with, without these guys wouldn’t be possible,” said Pendlebury. “Basically, you tell them a job and they’re on it straightaway. We are very happy with that.”
The combined POL team provided 1.9 million liters of fuel to numerous aircraft including the C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules, P-8A Poseidon, V-22 Osprey and F-22 Raptors since the exercise started.
|Date Posted:||08.03.2023 21:23|
|Location:||ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE DARWIN, NT, AU|