BY BARBARA BURCH, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER JACKSONVILLE
The roar of jet engines announces their arrival before you see them, drawing all eyes to the skies. Sleek blue and gold planes make you gasp in awe as they pass over the crowds. It fills you with pride - Navy pride.
Prior to the air show, those same planes sit quietly on the tarmac at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport, Florida waiting to be fueled and checked before taking to the sky. Early morning spectators anxiously wait and peer through chain link boundaries around the airfield, watching support teams who ensure all aircraft are ready for action.
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Blue Angels awaiting fuel. –photo by Barbara Burch, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville, Office of Corporate Communications
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ABF2 (SW/AW) Darryl Butler and ABF2 (SW/AW) Kwesi Cosbert refueling #7 Blue Angel for a demonstration flight. –photo by Barbara Burch, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville, Office of Corporate Communications
The ground support crew includes Naval Supply System Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Jacksonville’s Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Fuels (ABF) personnel at NAVSTA Mayport, supplying fuel required to feed the powerful engines.
To make this happen, ABFs and fuel contractor personnel run all fuel through filtering systems, removing sediment and other impurities to ensure a quality product. Their efforts remove particles as small as five microns which are too small for the naked eye to see. Filtered fuel is pumped into trucks and delivered to the waiting aircraft. This behind the scenes work, like most support work, isn’t obvious to the crowds watching the show later in the day; but without fuel, there would be no air show.
Other than waiting for the next call for fuel delivery, it appeared to be a normal day. The “fuelies” (as air operations call them) are not immune to the excitement of the Blue Angels being on deck.
ABF3 Davina Collins was impressed with the beautiful planes.
“They let us check out the cockpit of Fat Albert yesterday. It was pretty cool!”
NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville is Petty Officer Collins first duty station, and the seasoned ABFs have her looking forward to deployments where high demand refueling is a daily occurrence.
All fueled up, the Blue Angels take to the air to thrill thousands with their heart-stopping skill. At the end of the day, the planes will be back on the tarmac, and the NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville Mayport Fuels Team will be standing by. “Ready Then. Ready Now. Ready Always.”
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ABF2 (SW/AW) Kwesi Cosbert and ABF3 Davina Collins top off the fuel truck prior to fueling the next aircraft.. –photo by Barbara Burch, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville, Office of Corporate Communications