The fuel technicians of the 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, have to dig the unit’s huge fuel storage bladders out of the snow—by hand. It takes 12 airmen about two hours per berm, and there are 10 berms, each extending about 10,000 square feet. Snow on the storage bladders causes problems, such as changing the pressure readings for the fuel, and if its melts, it can lock the bags in pools of ice potentially causing the bag to break and leak valuable fuel. The Manas fuel activity is vital to operations in Afghanistan, where KC-135 tankers dispense about 150,000 gallons of fuel every day.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.