Gateway To Afghanistan

When a full bladder is a good thing

Manas Transit Center���s bladder farm can hold nearly 4 million gallons of fuel, most of it aviation grade. Deliveries arrive from Bishkek around the clock, keeping the 20 bladders filled, each of which can hold 200,000 gallons. It takes four to five tarmac fuel trucks to prepare a KC-135R Stratotanker for each refueling mission. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Manas Transit Center���s bladder farm can hold nearly 4 million gallons of fuel, most of it aviation grade. Deliveries arrive from Bishkek around the clock, keeping the 20 bladders filled, each of which can hold 200,000 gallons. It takes four to five tarmac fuel trucks to prepare a KC-135R Stratotanker for each refueling mission. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

There's a saying among KC-135 crews that goes something like, "You can't kick ass without tanker gas." It's a not-so-subtle way of reminding hotshot fighter jocks that the range and versatility of their sleek, high-powered strike jets -- particularly when fully armed -- would be much more limited without the extra fuel delivered in mid air day and night by the Air Force's massive aerial tanker fleet.

But those ever-present tankers would have nothing to deliver if it weren't for P-O-L, the link in the supply chain that stands for "Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants."

Manas Transit Center's bladder farm can hold nearly 4 million gallons of fuel, most of it aviation grade. Deliveries arrive from Bishkek around the clock, keeping the 20 bladders filled, each of which can hold 200,000 gallons. It takes four to five tarmac fuel trucks to prepare a KC-135R Stratotanker for each refueling mission.

"We're the largest expeditionary bladder farm" in the U.S. Defense Department, said Master Sgt. Christina Scampatilla, who runs the fueling facility.




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