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Fueling the base's mission

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels Airmen, run tests in the fuels lab by setting samples and preparing machines Jan. 31, 2014. The fuels department runs several tests on each of the samples taken from fuels systems, tank trucks and storage tanks, which requires much attention to detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels Airmen, run tests in the fuels lab by setting samples and preparing machines Jan. 31, 2014. The fuels department runs several tests on each of the samples taken from fuels systems, tank trucks and storage tanks, which requires much attention to detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, prepares a fuel sample test Jan. 31, 2014. Airmen who work in the fuels lab test fuel samples to ensure standards set by Air Force regulations are met. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, prepares a fuel sample test Jan. 31, 2014. Airmen who work in the fuels lab test fuel samples to ensure standards set by Air Force regulations are met. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, tests the fuel’s temperature Jan. 31, 2014. The fuels department runs several tests on each of the samples taken from fuels systems, tank trucks and storage tanks, which requires much attention to the detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, tests the fuel’s temperature Jan. 31, 2014. The fuels department runs several tests on each of the samples taken from fuels systems, tank trucks and storage tanks, which requires much attention to the detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels Airmen, run tests in the fuels lab by setting samples and preparing machines Jan. 31, 2014. The fuels department runs several tests on each of the samples taken from fuels systems, tank trucks and storage tanks, which requires much attention to detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels Airmen, run tests in the fuels lab by setting samples and preparing machines Jan. 31, 2014. The fuels department runs several tests on each of the samples taken from fuels systems, tank trucks and storage tanks, which requires much attention to detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, prepares to work in the fuels lab by donning protective glasses and latex gloves Jan. 31, 2014. Airmen who work in the fuels lab test fuel samples to ensure standards set by Air Force regulations are met. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, prepares to work in the fuels lab by donning protective glasses and latex gloves Jan. 31, 2014. Airmen who work in the fuels lab test fuel samples to ensure standards set by Air Force regulations are met. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, pours a fuel sample for testing Jan. 31, 2014. The samples undergo many tests to ensure that the fuel is clean, dry and useable by the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, pours a fuel sample for testing Jan. 31, 2014. The samples undergo many tests to ensure that the fuel is clean, dry and useable by the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, writes the results of his sample test on a results sheet Jan. 31, 2014. The sample has to be within the set limits of the standards to be used on base. The fuels lab ensures fuel is clean, dry and useable in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damon Kochick, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, writes the results of his sample test on a results sheet Jan. 31, 2014. The sample has to be within the set limits of the standards to be used on base. The fuels lab ensures fuel is clean, dry and useable in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, finishes a fuel sample test Jan. 31, 2014. The samples have to undergo many tests to ensure the fuel is clean, dry and useable by the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, finishes a fuel sample test Jan. 31, 2014. The samples have to undergo many tests to ensure the fuel is clean, dry and useable by the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, completes a fuel sample test Jan. 31, 2014. The pictured sample is attached to a vacuum to remove the excess air from the beaker while the test is being performed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, completes a fuel sample test Jan. 31, 2014. The pictured sample is attached to a vacuum to remove the excess air from the beaker while the test is being performed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, conducts a test on a fuel sample Jan. 31, 2014. The pictured sample is attached to a vacuum to remove excess air from the beaker while the test is being performed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)
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ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, conducts a test on a fuel sample Jan. 31, 2014. The pictured sample is attached to a vacuum to remove excess air from the beaker while the test is being performed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 97th Air Mobility Wing uses 827,000 gallons of fuel each week, but there is a lot of work that happens between the fuel arriving from the supplier and being put into the aircraft.

The fuels laboratory here takes samples of all the Defense Logistics Agency Energy product fuels that are on the base and tests them against the regulations set by Air Force instructions. These tests ensure the fuel is clean and useable.

"The biggest misconception is that the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels flight just delivers the fuel to the aircraft," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Lauderback, 97th LRS fuel information service center section chief. "There is much more that goes on behind the scenes."

"A lot of people believe that all of the fuel on base is owned by the Air Force, except for what is in the aircraft or in the vehicle, when actually it is owned by DLA Energy," Lauderback said. "We ensure that the product is on spec, accounted for and delivered on time, whenever the customer needs it."

The Airmen who work in the lab are not chosen at random. They have to develop the knowledge and skills to do the job well.

"Airmen must have the maturity to do the job and the integrity to follow the safety precautions," Lauderback said. "They go through a three-week joint service course to prepare them for the job."

The Airmen work on fuel samples for many hours in the lab. They are trusted to accomplish the mission while ensuring the proper procedures are followed.

"These guys have integrity above reproach and were hand-picked above their peers," Lauderback said. "It takes a keen eye to do this job. It is a privilege to work in the lab, not a right."

"This job requires a lot of attention to detail," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zakkary Wiest, 97th LRS fuels lab technician. "We have to make sure we are on our 'A game'. We ensure that the fuel on the aircraft is of the highest quality."

The work that is done in the lab has a huge impact on the base's overall mission.

"These guys are ensuring the fuels management flight provides clean, dry fuel to all of the aircraft." Lauderback said. "Without that fuel, planes don't launch, pilots, boomers and loaders don't get trained and global mobility doesn't get accomplished. So it all starts here."