374 LRS Fuels Management Flight awarded best in AF

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hannah Bean
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force recently recognized the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron's Fuels Management Flight, also known as POL, as the best in the Air Force after being named the winner of the 2022 American Petroleum Institute Award.


The award recognizes the wing for having the best fuels management operation, which includes facility, equipment and vehicle support from outside the fuels management flight.


“Our POL Samurai Warriors are truly humbled and honored to be selected as the Air Force’s best,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Alonzo, 374th LRS Fuels Management Flight fuels manager. “I’m proud to be a part of this diverse team of 78 professional fuel handlers and a part this amazing career field.”


Since 1965, fuels operations across the Air Force have competed for this prestigious award each year. This year’s finalists included the 27th Special Operations LRS from Canon Air Force Base, New Mexico and the 4th LRS from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.


Whether on or off duty, the POL flight led from the front, supported their community and were committed to professional development.


“Our Airmen and Japanese civilian workforce procure, receive, store, test and safely deliver clean and dry fuel to the right place at the right time, rain or shine, 24/7,” Alonzo said. “Being able to see the impact our team is having day in and day in out is inspiring as we support all operations here at Yokota and across the Indo-Pacific Theater.”


The 374th LRS’s performance during the competition timeline innovated and supported an evolving Air Force mission at Yokota, with their impact reaching beyond the flightline and across the Air Force. The team benchmarked several processes across the POL enterprise and overcame significant challenges.


“We answered the call to unique missions and short notice taskers,” said Senior Airman Kristopher Corpus, 374th LRS cryogenics storage technician. “Most specifically, we were tasked to supply the hospital with 2,000 gallons of LOX [liquid oxygen] at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii to support both COVID-19 relief and their C-17s within less than 24 hours.”


Yokota is a different beast when it comes to the impact made by POL, Corpus noted. It’s so different than any other base, whether it’s owning equipment that most other fuels flights don’t have to having personnel with the expertise that you can’t find anywhere else.


“We’re the premier platform and the most multi-capable to handle any adversary that comes our way,” Corpus said. “Regardless of the outcome, I think each and every one of us here at Yokota POL put our best foot forward and will continue to do so throughout our future endeavors. It showcases the readiness of Yokota POL and our willingness to not only win the API but to win the fight.”


While winning the award is a major achievement for POL, Tomokatsu Morita, 374th LRS Fuels Management Flight Master Labor Contract Foreman of Aircraft Refueling Vehicle Operators, notes something more important that sets this flight apart.


“This meant not only winning an award but also showing a strong bond between U.S. and Japan, proving we are capable of collaborating together as one team to accomplish any difficult mission,” Morita said. “Our experienced operators, some of us with over thirty years working here, are doing daily operations safely. Their great job helped make Yokota Airfield stress-free, an airfield in which aviators always want to return to.”