WaFERS overtakes RURK during Prime BEEF Training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brieana E. Bolfing
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) participated alongside U.S. Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts in the annual Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force or “Prime BEEF” event at Misawa Air Base, Japan, June 14, 2022.

Prime BEEF is held annually as a readiness training day to make sure Airmen are qualified and always mission ready by conducting refreshers as well as any new training, such as the Water and Fuel Expedient Repair System (WaFERS).

“The training simulates a broken fuel system,” said Tech. Sgt. Williams Meadows, 35th CES Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of liquid fuels maintenance and instructor for WaFERS. “If a pipe was destroyed during an attack, we are going out there and make a temporary connection. That is what the entire system is made for.”

WaFERS, which are 14 containers with different items needed to fix the broken pipes, replaced the old system Rapid Utility Repair Kit (RURK), which was a one-trainer trailer mounted kit. The downside of that was the scope of repair was extremely limited. Additionally, legacy items from the kit are not readily available.

“If you needed to replace something from your kit, there is a good chance that the manufacturer is not going to have or produce it anymore,” Meadows said. “That situation put our backs against the wall. As with things that age, this old equipment started to decay and fall apart, but we do not have replacements for it. This can be a problem as the system is considered an essential element as well as one of the pillars of air base resiliency.”

Updating the system has been in the works for a few years. It was only recently that Airmen from the 35th CES were able to travel to Anderson Air Base, Guam, to learn the new system and bring back that knowledge to train their fellow peers during Prime BEEF.

“WaFERS is a crucial piece of asset here in PACAF,” said Senior Airman Joshua Sanchez, 35th CES water and fuels system journeyman. "Misawa, in general, is one of the first in Fifth Air Force to have it. Getting ourselves familiarized with this new asset is vital for when we are out there in the real world. Because we can be called to go anywhere around the world at any point of time and it is up to us, as the professionals of this kit, to know what to do.”

In the event of a conventional airfield attack where the water and fuel infrastructure has been damaged, or becomes inoperative, the resumption of fuel supply to support flying operations is a top priority. It supports rapid projection and application of U.S. military power to ensure continuation of operations and installations around the globe.

“Our team of water and fuel systems specialists, work extremely hard to maintain the base water and fuel system supplies,” Meadows said. "You can't have an operational airfield without a water source and a runway. The water is going to support the people while that runway is going to launch the aircraft.”

Meadows continued, “If you do not have fuel for the aircraft then you are not going to launch them. So, water and fuels maintainers play a huge role in the flying mission and the people mission at every location. We spend a lot of time and effort into learning systems like this within our career field to make sure that nothing impacts the base’s mission.”