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A Marine with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274's mobile refuelers section waits to complete fueling a F/A-18D Hornet Aug. 23, at Al Asad, Iraq. The mission of the mobile refuelers section is to conduct cold tactical aircraft refueling to all squadrons, including coalition and multi-national aircraft at Al Asad Air Base. MWSS-274 operates under the umbrella of Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan K. Teslevich

Gas station on wheels keeps flight line operations going at Al Asad

27 Aug 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

It takes many types of jobs to make sure the daily operations aboard Al Asad Air Base run smoothly, but without one section of Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, aviation operations would come to a standstill.

The mobile refuelers section of MWSS-274, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, ensures all of the aircraft here are always fueled and ready to fly. 

"These birds don't fly without us," said Cpl. Shawn N. Gibbons, motor vehicle operator, MWSS-274. "We fuel 75 percent of all air assets on this base."

"The mission of the mobile refuelers is to conduct cold tactical aircraft refueling to all squadrons including coalition and multi-national forces aboard Al Asad," said Staff Sgt. Kassandra Phillips, mobile fuels assistant team leader, MWSS-274. "We run 50,000 to 75,000 gallons of fuel on average each day."

Although their main purpose is to provide fuel for the aircraft, the Marines have collateral duties they must attend to every day.

"Our Marines are responsible for ensuring the maintenance on the trucks is done prior to going on the road," said Phillips. "If they are not out fueling aircraft on the flightline, they are fixing trucks, changing tires and keeping the shop in good working order."

The Marines who do this job, work day-in and day-out to perfect the fueling process. They constantly strive to be faster and more efficient. According to Phillips, throughout the deployment they have excelled at proficiency in their military occupational specialties.

"The Marines here have been trained very well at their jobs. We work long days and long nights at the busiest airfield in Iraq," said Phillips. "We are the best at what we do because of the repetition that comes with the job. Since there are a lot of safety precautions involved when handling fuels, the repetition helps make sure no step is missed so there are no injuries or accidents."

Over the last six months, the mobile refuelers have overcome harsh conditions and long sleepless nights to do their part to ensure success during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"These Marines are the hardest working group of men that I have ever worked with," said Phillips. "I am so proud of what they have accomplished here."
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing