FARP Tryouts

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Devlin Bishop
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron tried out for the forward area refueling point team at Davis-Monthan Air Force base, Ariz., July 28, 2023.

The 355th LRS held the tryouts to find new, capable Airmen to join the FARP team. FARP is a special operations command program. Airmen are trained to perform covert refueling operations in deployed locations when fueling points are not easily accessible or when aerial refueling isn’t possible.

“We provide fuel anytime, anywhere, any place that people need it,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kade Cowan, 355th LRS FARP team chief. “We also have site surveys that are in place for safety precautions, but extending the reach of our aircraft is the main objective.”

The FARP tryout is a rigorous event that tests individuals both physically and on their mental ability to persevere through challenging situations. Only high performing individuals of character, who have demonstrated continued excellence in their primary duties will be considered for selection.

“We started the tryout by pulling out 300 feet of hose until it was fully extended just like we would in a real-world scenario,” said Airman 1st Class Luke Strope, 355th LRS fuels lab technician. “After that, we had to do the teardown sequence which required rolling up 200 feet of hose and carrying it back to the start, where we then held one of the rolls over our heads for 60 seconds.”

Each Airman performed the required feats alone, one at a time. In real-world scenarios, processes like the hose pull would involve multiple Airmen. For the tryouts though, the Airmen have to prove that, if the situation called for it, they could complete everything by themselves.

“It's harder than it looks,” said Strope. “When I hit the 200-foot mark of pulling the hose out, my legs started really hurting.”

Every Airman who tried out succeeded in completing the events within the time limit. Once selected, Airmen must successfully complete further training including the FARP course, survival, evasion, resistance and escape training and a physiological chamber. Once fully qualified, team members are frequently deployed to obscure locations and are required to perform high-risk, no-fail missions, including high visibility humanitarian operations.

“I’m really proud of what I did today,” said Strope. “I’d still like to do it again though, to improve my time. I now know what kind of exercises will help me prepare for it. Definitely more legs, for sure.”

FARP has a very limited number of positions, only nine at each of the seven bases with the program, which makes the tryouts intense as Airmen compete to secure a spot.