Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vietnam -- Aircraft Refueler

This is one of those thankless jobs that could kill you if you sneezed too hard.

In general, an aircraft refueler's job depended upon the location, size of the refueling point and how permanent it was.

Where permanency was the environment, much of the job involved making sure hoses didn't leak, the grounding lines worked, the filters were clean and functional, the spider manifold didn't leak and the fuel nozels worked.

In-other-words, everything was safe and secure.

A perfect job in a perfect world.

That wasn't Vietnam.

If you were really lucky, you did all of the above, if you were assigned to a najor refueling point, and you added secondary parameter guard duty, maintenance checks and refueling of the generators that pumped the fuel, you checked for debris on the refueling point and you ran the radio that ran the refueling point.

You always perpared for wose case scenarios. This included fire extinguishers, eye wash and full body shower points.

You also had to deal with starched fatigues, polished boots and brass if you were in areas such as Camp Eagle.

Of course, you could deal with all of that, right?

Welcome to my war.

You have a 500 gallon hard tank -- bladders not included -- filled with JP4 and tied down to a duce and a half.

You've got 24 trigger happy pilots, crew cheifs that eat nails for breakfest and armament specialists who delight in firing off a round or two just to watch you piss in your pants.

With half a tanker filled with JP4 at 90 degrees farenheit, sloshing around everytime you hit a bump,
one spark could put you on the front page of Time Magazine vaporized in a huge fireball.

You'll love over it here.

Especially when one of those screwball 101st Aviation Battalion's defoilent Hueys perform a flare right overtop of you while your refueling.  Not only do you get dosed in JP4, you get exposed to Agent Orange.

Isn't the Bull Pen a lovely place to work?

Seriously, my hat -- need one these days with my bald head -- goes off to you for not only having to deal with 122mm rockets but with having to deal with all the above.

We couldn't have done our job without you.


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