Photo Information

Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 bulk fuels Marines work to field hot refuel a MV-22 Osprey June 23during Excercise Mailed Fist at Vidalia Municipal Airport. The work fuels speacialists ensure that Marine Corps equipment is proper field with high quality fuel to ensure the mission can be completed.

Photo by Pfc. Justin Boling

MWSS-273 bulk fuels keep aircraft fueled for flight

23 Jun 2011 | Cpl. Justin M. Boling

While Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 contains the movement and girth of motor transportation, the might and ability of engineering; one form of support often goes unnoticed - the Marines who refuel and train bulk fuel technicians to get the aircraft back into the fight.

“The mission of my Marines is to test and provide high quality fuel to the many aircraft of the second Marine Air Wing,” said Staff Sgt. Richard Garret, the MWSS-273 bulk fuels operations chief. “We have to complete that mission while ensuring that the mission is completed safely and that it does not impede any mission or operation.”

Another responsibility of the bulk fuels specialist is to take fuel samples and test them for water content and impurities, a task Lance Cpl. Jared Skelley, a MWSS-273 bulk fuels technician does not take lightly.

“One of my most important tasks is to test the fuels’ quality,” he said. “Learning how to perform and interpret these tests is important because if they are not done correctly, someone could be hurt or we could cause a lot of harm to our aircraft.”

While deployed or on the flight line, the Sweathogs bulk fuels technicians need to know how to work safely around aircraft costing millions of dollars. These Marines also need to know where the fuel ports are located on the numerous aircraft that comprise America’s force in readiness.

“Hands on training with all types of aircraft are awesome,” Skelley said. “The more we train the more prepared we will be during deployment.

“I think that it is also really cool to get to work with the F/A-18 Hornets and learn more about them,” Skelley added.

Many of the skills these Marines use everyday can carry them into a very specialized field in the civilian aviation community.

“The experience they gain from their hard work and training can easily transfer into a civilian career in commercial aviation,” Garret said. “Also their knowledge of chemical testing could make them a great asset to labratories, refineries and manufacturing.”

The bulk fuel technicians of MWSS-273 continue to support the many missions of Marine Aircraft Group 31 squadrons keeping them in the fight. As long as they keep the fuel following, Marine aviation can keep the fight going.