FARP to the refuel

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jacob Stephens
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from across the 355th Wing executed forward area refueling point training as part of exercise Bushwhacker 20-07 at Fort Bliss, Texas, Nov. 3 - 5, 2020.

A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 354th Fighter Squadron, HC-130J Combat King IIs from the 79th Rescue Squadron, and Airmen from the 355th Maintenance Squadron and 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron worked together to accomplish this training autonomously as Airmen were unable to receive assistance from Army personnel due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This training is taking normal fuels troops to conduct these FARP operations, which is making us the multi-capable Airmen that we are required to be,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Watford, 355th LRS FARP operator. “We are going from driving fuel trucks to becoming flight certified and are able to refuel any airframe or any other equipment that takes jet fuel. We are also qualified to help loadmasters load cargo, execute air drops and perform a variety of other critical tasks.”

These capabilities are crucial for the dynamic force employment and agile combat employment concepts that are being trained and emphasized as the 355th Wing’s Airmen continue to lead the way in building readiness for the high-end fight.

“FARP training increases the ability for the Dynamic Wing to rapidly deploy combat airpower utilizing organic personnel and equipment,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Zachary Peters, 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot. “A FARP survey was conducted during a site survey at Fort Bliss utilizing combat controllers from Cannon Air Force Base. The FARP site allowed the Dynamic Wing to utilize its HC-130Js, FARP personnel and A-10 aircraft to rapidly refuel A-10s closer to the battlespace.  A closer refuel site increases on-station time for the A-10s, which enables more coverage of ground troop movement.”

Through increased training, the wing is expanding its capabilities to continue pushing farther into the fight and be more effective in delivering lethal airpower when it is required.

“If a combat controller sets up an airfield, we can establish a refueling point there from day one to push our aircraft and resources farther into the fight,” Watford said. “We hold the ability to establish refueling points anywhere in the world at any time, whether it is an airfield or forward operating location.”

As the global climate of war continues to change and become more demanding, service members across the Department of Defense continue to build and sustain an unprecedented and unmatched level of readiness across the force.

“FARP capabilities increases the menu of options for where and how the Air Force projects fixed-wing combat power within the joint battlespace,” said Peters. “More options means the 355th Wing can provide tailorable packages for a wide range of mission sets, enabling efficient allocation of airpower resources. Additionally, as the procedures are normalized, the training opportunities with Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps units increases, which makes the wing’s fighting units more potent members of the total force.”