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A fire engine is parked in the department loading bay at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 27, 2020. Engines are always parked facing out so when an emergency call happens they are ready to go. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)
Beale firefighters stand at parade rest for an official photo at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 27, 2020. The 9th Civil Engineering Squadron firefighters are credited with receiving the Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ralph E. Sanborn, Fire Department of the Year Award for medium sized fire department across the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)
A wooden American flag is mounted on the wall surrounded by patches of various fire departments that Beale firefighters have worked with, at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 27, 2020. Beale firefighters train and assist local fire departments in times of local crisis or during upgrade training. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)
Staff Sgt. Brandon Green, 99th Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, sprays disinfectant liquid on a rag to sanitize a U-2 Dragon Lady’s cockpit Mar. 23, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. The cockpits on Beale’s fleet of U-2s will be sanitized on a regular basis to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
Staff Sgt. Brandon Green, 99th Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, disinfects the side of a U-2’s canopy Mar. 23, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Airmen are sanitizing the U-2 Dragon Lady’s cockpit regularly, ensuring the safety of U-2 pilots and Airmen working on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
The Commissary on Beale Air Force Base California, Mar. 23, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Jason W. Cochran)
Airman Leon Guico, Left, 9th Medical Group (MDG) health administrator, and Senior Airman Christopher Miracle, 9th MDG optometry technician, guard the Entry Control Point (ECP) at the Clinic on Beale Air Force Base, California, Mar. 12, 2020. The ECP was set up at the Beale Clinic to protect Airmen and their families from the growing COVID-19 threat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
Lynn Bergmann, 9th Medical Group (MDG) patient safety program coordinator, right, and Denise Ross, 9th MDG Patient Advocate, left, pose for a photo in front of the clinic’s marquee on Beale Air Force Base, California, March 11, 2020. National Patient Safety Week occurred from 8-14 March 2020.
Lynn Bergmann, 9th Medical Group (MDG) Patient Safety Program Coordinator, center, and Denise Ross, 9th MDG Patient Advocate, right, speak to an Airman about patient safety on Beale Air Force Base, California, March 11, 2020. Educating Beale personnel was one of several things Bergmann and Ross did to promote Patient Safety week.
A beaker of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) is stationed in a testing area at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Airmen observe the beaker and the film of white paper inside to see and smell if the LOX has any discoloration, discrepancies or smell. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

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Chief's Corner

I am an American Airman

Too often I hear the statement, “The Air Force has no tradition…certainly not like the other services.” Or there’s the comment, “The Air Force changes everything all the time.  New uniforms, AFI’s, etc….how can we expect to maintain any heritage or tradition?”
I submit there is one decisive, deliberate, and motivating action each of us can take.  No matter the position you hold, the grade you wear, or if you are active duty, guard, reserve, retired, every single one of us can implement this small, yet powerful change today.  The change refers to a facet of our current culture.
Malcolm Gladwell speaks about culture change in his book, ‘Tipping Point’.  In his book, the author posits that even the smallest adjustments to habits, routines, or attitudes can have a significant impact on the culture or perception of an organization, population, or product.
Therefore, I challenge everyone to stop referring to members of our Air Force as ‘TROOPS’. 
According to Merriam-Webster, the primary definition of the word troop is:
a. A group of soldiers
b. A cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company
c. A flock of mammals or birds
I understand a definition is literal, however, there are two problems with the way we throw this term around to refer to our Airmen.  First, the word troop is actually plural…referring to a group of soldiers.  Lastly, and most poignantly, the word troop is actually rooted in a tradition and heritage of another service.  And before we start the “But Chief, we were born out of the Army” conversation, I would ask you to consider a few points. 
We were born out of the Army for a reason.  We fulfill several needs that no other organization can: to keep up with advancing technology and to take warfighting to an entirely different level, both geographically and mentally.  The Army and Navy were long-time competitors for military leadership and neither service thought that the other should take on the new tasks of strategic deterrence missions associated with the advent of the atomic bomb.  This, along with many other great reasons, is why our Air Force, and our AIRMEN were created.
Think about it.  The United States Air Force was created for some of the most sophisticated warfare challenges of the time. 
So, let’s continue the tradition born in 1947 and call each other what we truly are.  Please, call me Airman.

Chief Hall

 

 

ArticleCS

Fuels work hard, but stay clean

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels operator, carefully holds a collected sample of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) to test at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Inside the beaker is oxygen in liquid form. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

A beaker of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) is stationed in a testing area at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Airmen observe the beaker and the film of white paper inside to see and smell if the LOX has any discoloration, discrepancies or smell. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

A beaker of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) is stationed in a testing area at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. The beakers have a film of white paper inside to show if the LOX has any discoloration or discrepancies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

A tray of beakers are stationed in a holding area to be used for testing Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. The beakers have a film of white paper inside to show if the LOX has any discoloration or discrepancies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

Senior Airman Corey Walton, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels facility operator, left, observes Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th LRS fuels operator, as he carefully handles Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Airmen wear specialized protective equipment to comfortably manage LOX so they don’t get burned. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels operator, uses a beaker to collect a sample of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) to test at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Inside the beaker is oxygen in liquid form. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels operator, uses a beaker to collect a sample of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) to test at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Airmen wear specialized protective equipment to comfortably manage LOX so they don’t get burned. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels operator, uses a hammer to knock away ice that has frozen on a cryogenic servicing hose at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. The steam that comes off of the tank is LOX, and it is cooled, pressurized gas at minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen

A Liquid Oxygen (LOX) tank is filled with LOX at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. The steam that comes off of the tank is LOX, and it is cooled, pressurized gas at minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen
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Senior Airman Corey Walton, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels facility operator, adjusts knobs on a Liquid Oxygen (LOX) tank at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Airmen make sure the tank has the correct pressure to ensure if the tank is full. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen
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Senior Airman Corey Walton, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels facility operator, left, observes the pressure gauge on the Liquid Oxygen (LOX) tank while Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th LRS fuels operator reads a checklist at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Airmen make sure the tank has the correct pressure to ensure if the tank is full. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen
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Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operator, left, reads a checklist to Senior Airman Corey Walton, 9th LRS fuels facility operator, at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Each step is marked off on the checklist to ensure everything is done correctly. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen
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Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels operator, connects a cryogenic servicing hose to the small Liquid Oxygen (LOX) tank at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. LOX tanks come in various sizes, from 50 gallon to 6,000 gallon tanks. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels operators work with Liquid Oxygen
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Senior Airman Corey Walton, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels facility operator, left, carries a collection tray to Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th LRS fuels operator at Beale Air Force Base, California, March 4, 2020. Collection trays are used to catch any spilled liquid oxygen. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

Beale Air Force Base, Calif. --

When working with fuels it can get dirty and hazardous. 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels facility operators know how to stay safe, and clean in a dirty career.

Working with liquid oxygen is vital for U-2 pilots and the mission.

“Pilots rely on us to make sure they can breathe while wearing their suit,” said Senior Airman Corey Walton, 9th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels facility operator “We are always careful and critical to make sure nothing goes wrong when transferring liquid oxygen.”

Liquid Oxygen (LOX) is called Aviator’s Breathing Oxygen (ABO), it’s a pilot’s main source of air at altitudes exceeding 10,000 feet.

“LOX is a cooled pressurized gas and it is minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Senior Airman Parker Turk, 9th LRS fuels facility operator, “It’s so cold we wear coveralls, gloves, face shields and boots to protect our skin from contact burns.”

After servicing and testing, the LOX is transported to the flight line where it is put into an aircraft safely for the U-2 pilots.

The reason fuels wear white is because it allows them to see any oil or fuel. Staying clean and healthy is important.

“We are staying even more vigilant with our personal and mission health,” said Airman 1st Class Brain Barrios, 9th LRS fuels operator, “We have taken all precautions in our shop to make sure that all Airmen remain safe around a substance people aren’t normally exposed to and that could cause extreme bodily harm. The personal protective equipment is specifically designed to comfortably work with LOX.”

With six fuels Airmen in the cryogenics section, they work around the clock to issue up to 500 gallons a week of LOX.

“To be honest, I know fuels is one of the most important jobs because planes can’t fly without fuel, and you can’t breathe if you don’t have air.” Turk said.

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