177th Fighter Wing Airmen Graduate Wing's First Petroleum Oils and Lubricants Multi-Capable Airmen Familiarization Class

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Drew Darrow, 177th Fighter Wing POL Fuels flight chief
  • 177th Fighter Wing

The 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants Flight hosted its first Multi-Capable Airmen Familiarization training course for Airmen, from a variety of other career fields, here June 20 – 30, 2023.

The training provided an opportunity for Airmen to gain valuable knowledge and experience in several core competencies of the POL specialty career field and was developed locally to support the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment Doctrine.

“A few months ago, we decided to implement this program, in line with Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s signing of the Agile Combat Employment Doctrine,” said Lt. Col. Justin C. Krowicki, 177th FW Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “In my experience during past deployments, I have seen first-hand the need for Airmen to have the abilities to step into unique roles in order to accomplish the mission.”

Agile Combat Employment requires Airmen to learn an array of skills from other Air Force Specialty Codes, to create a more flexible and adept force.

“Training like this is extremely beneficial to support the new Agile Combat Employment model we are embracing,” said Senior Master Sgt. Misty Capanas, 177th FW POL flight chief.

The POL MCA familiarization training was piloted to take Airmen from diverse career fields and train them in basics of POL operations and increase MCA awareness. Five Airmen from the 177FW participated in the training and learned core POL competencies that support the mission here. During the first week, one group of Airmen concentrated on our refueling vehicle and liquid oxygen, while group two concentrated on fuels laboratory and bulk storage, then the Airmen switched concentrations for the following week.

Airmen learned the components of an R-11 Refueler unit, daily inspection, how to drive and operate an R-11, and how to service aircraft in both standard sortie generation, as well as for hot pit operations.

In the LOX portion of the training, Airmen drew LOX samples from LOX storage tanks, and learned how to correctly service LOX carts, which eventually service our aircraft.

During the lab portion of the training, Airmen studied and performed the stringent test sets required to ensure clean, dry fuel, necessary for compliance with aircraft consumption.

The Airmen also learned the concepts and operations involved in the proper receipt of jet fuel, as well as bulk storage maintenance.

“Not only is this our first class, but we also already have a second class scheduled and are looking forward to making this an annual legacy,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony J. Stricchiola, 177th FW POL trainer.

The Airmen who participated in the training expanded their knowledge in the core competencies of the POL career field and were able to then apply what they learned, by gaining hands-on practical experience in the training environment created. The goal is to ultimately equip the Airmen with knowledge and training experience they can apply in deployed environments.

“The ability of these Airmen to expand their knowledge outside their own Air Force Specialty Code and then apply that in austere conditions, or contested environments, is invaluable to the ACE construct,” said Chief Master Sgt. Andrew DeVito, 177th FW LRS senior enlisted leader. “Proficiency in all the core competencies of POL will provide them the flexibility to augment the POL career field in situations where a POL troop is not accessible.”

“This program will continue to evolve and mature over time,” said Krowicki. “We need to be more agile, smaller, and leaner - that’s the program’s intent. Instead of deploying an entire POL Flight somewhere, we may have a seven-level or a senior NCO who oversees a small team of Multi-Capable-Airmen that can execute the mission with a fraction of the footprint that we would have previously deployed. The long-term vision for this program will be to push for a Special Experience Identifier for members to have, so MCA Airmen are easily identified. It’s something we plan to work with the National Guard Bureau on.”