Airmen from the 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight recently conducted refueling operations on a German air force C-160 military transport aircraft at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear.
“It was a good opportunity to meet up with another nation’s military and a way for the younger Airmen to see how other countries conduct business, see different aircraft and experience a different culture,” said Staff Sgt. Tabius Smith, 56th LRS fuels distribution supervisor. “It opens their eyes and might make them want to explore other bases overseas to broaden their career.”
Smith and Senior Airman Kyle Barna, 56th LRS fuels technician, were on call when they heard the German air forces needed fuel support. Barna, who was the only Transportation Department-qualified person at the time, jumped in his R-11 Refuel Truck, a mobile refueling vehicle, escorted by Smith and headed 11 miles down the road to Phoenix Goodyear Airport.
“We drove to the airport and waited for the aircraft to arrive,” Smith said. “They knew our safety rules, protocols and billing information, so it was a seamless transition. The German crew chief marshaled us in, hooked the refueling vehicle to the aircraft and performed their operation. For us it was business as usual.”
It took approximately 20 minutes to refuel the German aircraft. Smith and Barna then returned to Luke but not before saying goodbye in German.
“I said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in German,” Smith said. “There was no language barrier, but it helps a lot.”
Smith has served as fuels technician for more than 12 years. He takes pride in his job and being active in the community.
“We pride ourselves in helping out the local community and also visitors here,” Smith said. “It’s also important to show that our fuels flight is the best in the Air Force.”
For Barna, this wasn’t his first time conducting refueling operations with the German air forces. He was called in three months ago to support two German aircraft flying from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to the Goodyear Airport.
“The Germans are very friendly people,” Barna said. “I’ve worked with them before in Afghanistan.”