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Lab technicians flawlessly fuel 35th Fighter Wing

Troy Farris, a fuels laboratory lead technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, swirls a bottle of Jet Propellant 8 fuel at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. When swirled, the fuel will separate any particulate matter from the fuel and float to the bottom of the cyclone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Troy Farris, a fuels laboratory lead technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, swirls a bottle of Jet Propellant 8 fuel at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. When swirled, the fuel will separate any particulate matter from the fuel and float to the bottom of the cyclone. His team ensures jet fuel is pure and will not freeze during flight; his job is arguably the most critical piece to ensuring a successful Wild Weasel mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Troy Farris, left, a fuels laboratory lead technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ken Leon Guerrero, right, a fuels laboratory technician with the 35th LRS, draw Jet Propellant 8 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. The fuel is checked for particulate matter, which consist of dirt, grime and water levels in the fuel that could negatively affect the F-16 Fighting Falcon flying mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Troy Farris, left, a fuels laboratory lead technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ken Leon Guerrero, right, a fuels laboratory technician with the 35th LRS, draw Jet Propellant 8 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. The fuel is checked for particulate matter, which consist of dirt, grime and water levels in the fuel that could negatively affect the F-16 Fighting Falcon flying mission. The duo ensures pilots are safe in the sky by carefully inspecting all fuel powering the jets (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Jet Propellant 8 fuel goes through a micronic filter at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. As the fuel goes through the filter, any particulate matter that is unseen by the human eye will be caught and will be displayed after removing the filter and baking in an oven. For each batch of fuel a gallon sample is processed to search for contaminants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Jet Propellant 8 fuel goes through a micronic filter at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. As the fuel goes through the filter, any particulate matter that is unseen by the human eye will be caught and will be displayed after removing the filter and baking in an oven. For each batch of fuel a gallon sample is processed to search for contaminants, ensuring the Misawa F-16 Fighting Falcons will have flawless flights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Troy Farris, right, a fuels laboratory lead technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, pours an ice inhibitor additive at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. The ice inhibitor additive prevents water from mixing into the fuel and causing the fuel to freeze in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which can result in an aircraft crash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Troy Farris, right, a fuels laboratory lead technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, pours an ice inhibitor additive at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. The ice inhibitor additive prevents water from mixing into the fuel and causing the fuel to freeze in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which can result in an aircraft crash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ken Leon Guerrero, a fuels laboratory technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, looks at previous fuel records at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. Fuels technicians perform checks twice a day, ensuring the quality of the fuel is not contaminated. Without fuel, jets could not assist in enhancing our presence in the region by strategically distributing our posture over a wider geographic range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ken Leon Guerrero, a fuels laboratory technician with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, looks at previous fuel records at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. Fuels technicians perform checks twice a day, ensuring the quality of the fuel is not contaminated. Without flawless fuel, jets could not assist in enhancing our presence in the region by strategically distributing our posture over a wider geographic range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

“Lab,” an Airman calls over the radio. “Control to call lab,” responds the receiver. “Your vehicle is en route,” says the responder as new fuel arrives for quality control. “Copy,” says the receiver as he prepares for processing a batch of fuel.

Fueling an F-16 Fighting Falcon is not simple as pumping gas into a car. One small piece of the process, but arguably the most critical, is the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels laboratory personnel.

Fuels lab technicians oversee the Jet Propellant 8 fuel by serving as a control point to ensure quality fuel is ready for the Team Misawa mission.

“The pilots are counting on us to make sure their fuel is good while they’re flying,” said Senior Airman Ken Leon Guerrero, a 35th LRS fuels technician. “Lives can be lost without what we do.”

Getting fuel in a jet is anything but simple, according to Troy Farris, a 35th LRS fuels laboratory technician lead.

“We are the first and last line of defense for the aircraft,” Farris said. “We go out and check the [untouched incoming fuel] and everything before it gets into the systems, and although there is a lot of redundancy in the process, it definitely helps catch and prevent anything from contaminating the fuel.”

When testing the fuel, the personnel use lab equipment to verify any particulate materials that could jeopardize the mission.

“When the fuel comes in, it goes through a micronic filter,” Farris explained. “These filters separate the particulate matter and water from the fuel to give us the purest and cleanest fuel we need.”

Also during this time, all the additives required for a safe flight are measured and certified for reliability.

“Our fuel already comes with additives that we need,” Farris said. “The FZZY additive ensures the fuel doesn’t freeze during flight, because when an aircraft goes into higher altitudes the temperature drops.”

He said to verify the fuel quality is suitable for the aircraft, whether it’s going into tanks or distribution trucks, it is filtered many times with every transition it makes.

“Although the job can be dull, it doesn’t bother me because I have a good teammate,” Farris said speaking about his partner, Senior Airman Ken Leon Guerrero, a 35th LRS fuels laboratory technician. “We have very good flow and rapport with each other. We know each time we test our fuel we have given the machines a good product and we have certified it for use.”

Although the shop’s priority is the JP-8 fuel, they also handle all other fuel that comes through the base.

“We are responsible for any petroleum products that come on base. We run quality control and we confirm what we ordered is what we are getting and it’s safe to use,” Farris said.

Both members said they are happy about their jobs and take pride in what they do for the Air Force mission.

“Beyond the equipment, our job is important because of the lives the aircraft carry,” Leon Guerrero said. “It takes a keen eye and you want to pick your best people to handle something so crucial to the mission because it is a heavy weight of responsibility.”

As the aircraft goes off, fliers can rest assured their plane is good to go.

“We all have people we know who are pilots,” Farris added. “Every time I see an aircraft take-off, I know I did my job correctly.”