NJ Air National Guard unit innovates during POL renovation

  • Published
  • By SrA Cristina J. Allen
  • 177th Fighter Wing

The 177th Fighter Wing Commander, Command Chief and various members of the Wing toured the 177th Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) shop to observe new renovations June 18, 2019, at the 177th Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

The POL shop underwent an over $730,000 renovation from April 25 – May 31, 2019, where a more efficient filtration system was installed and deteriorating existing canisters were replaced with new canisters, ultimately increasing the quality of the fuel.

“During the time of the upgrade we couldn’t receive or issue fuel, so we needed to utilize non-conventional methods, or outside-of-the-box thinking,” said Master Sgt. Kevin L. Dickinson, flight chief of 177FW POL. “We accomplished this by devising different methods to achieve the mission while ensuring personnel safety. All (POL) shop personnel were deployed, except five, but all mission-related requirements were still met.”

With over half of the POL shop deployed at the time of the renovation, mission requirements from the shop were still expected to be upheld and base functions supported, so there would be no loss to the mission.

“We were able to accomplish the mission without any issues because we were able to develop a contingency plan to keep the trucks filled even though the entire fuel delivery system was undergoing renovations,” said Dickinson.

Another major upgrade was to the pressure relief and isolation valves. Previously, the annual checks would require the system to be completely drained prior to testing. The new upgrades now allow valve-pressure relief testing without taking the facility out of service for future annual checks, saving the shop time and effort.

“I was incredibly impressed with the tour of the POL facility,” said Col. Bradford R. Everman, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing. “That is some of the best innovation I have seen yet. Last year, the Wing won 2nd place for the best innovation in the ANG, with the 177th Force Support Squadron Customer Service Kiosk. The POL innovation easily rises to that same level of greatness. I’m truly hoping we take the top honor this year for the POL pump house project.”

All of this was possible due to Master Sgt. Dickinson attending a career-broadening NCO conference where he came across a program designed to make improvements to systems like the POL facility at the 177th Fighter Wing.

“Of his initiative, MSgt Dickinson submitted the 177FW as a volunteer for the program,” said Everman. “The result was a $730K project awarded to completely revamp the POL pump house to state-of-the-art standards. This project did not cost the Air Force or the Air National Guard a penny. More importantly, it did not cost the Wing anything either.”

This project was a joint effort of and coordination between the 177th POL shop and three different contractors; one from the Defense Logistics Agency: contractor Versar, who was responsible for piping upgrades costing $50,000, and two from the Army Corps of Engineers Huntsville Program: Specpro, who provided the $180,000 pressure relief and isolation valve upgrades and WQSI, who upgraded the filter separator canisters, costing $500,000.

“I feel that every member of the team played a vital role,” said Dickinson. “The efforts from each of the four POL shop members, working with the contractors, ensured that the mission was accomplished and the upgrade went smoothly.”

The 177th POL shop improved their area of operation through hard work, dedication and thinking outside of the box, to better accomplish the mission and enhance the Air Force, the Air National Guard, and the 177th Fighter Wing.

“Solely due to Master Sgt. Dickinson’s initiative, creativity and strong desire to use innovation to improve the wing, the 177th Logistics Readiness Squadron is currently the poster child for improving the unit through innovation, all at no cost,” said Everman. “Tech. Sgt. Zingrone was instrumental in executing Master Sgt. Dickinson’s vision as well. Between the two POL Non-Commissioned Officers, I am incredibly impressed at the professionalism and dedication to the mission. This improvement project to the base, as a result of their initiative, is the absolute epitome of innovation.”