Fuel systems showcases TFI

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
In 2007 the 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, began transferring to this Air Force Global Strike Command base from Lambert-St. Louis National Airport, Mo., to support the Whiteman mission.

Since then, everday the 509th Bomb Wing active duty members and the 131st BW Missouri ANG members work shoulder-to-shoulder to ensure a credible deterrent and strike capability for America.

One of the many shops with active duty and ANG members working hand-in-hand is the fuels systems shop.

The fuels systems shop performs maintenance on the B-2 Spirit fuel tanks and cells, said Master Sgt. Andrew Hensley, fuel systems technician and former active duty member, now assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron.

"Working both National Guard and Active Duty down here is seamless," Sergeant Hensley said. "We all have the same goals and mission. We treat each other by what's on our sleeve not by our squadron."

The fuels systems shop's mission is to ensure the B-2 is ready to fly by repairing, cleaning and inspecting the eight fuel tanks on the aircraft for foreign objects, corrosion, cell deterioration and fungus. If they fail to perform their mission in any way, the $2 billion aircraft wouldn't be able to fly, Sergeant Hensley said.

Working to perform this mission are 18 active-duty Airmen and eight guard members, three of whom are full-time. The 26 Airmen work in a three-shift rotation 24/7.

"We sometimes have manning challenges just like other shops," said Tech. Sergeant Mark Kolat, 509th Maintenance Squadron fuels system technician. "But it's always nice to have the Guard there because they step up every time.

"We are very fortunate to have the Guard members working with us," Sergeant Kolat said. "They are really good guys who make the operation run smoothly."