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Checkered Flag: All Gas, No Brakes

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anabel Del Valle
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Team Tyndall is still going strong during #CheckeredFlag 22-2 and the 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s petroleum, oil, and lubricants Airmen are all gas, no brakes.


The POL flight is responsible for ensuring fuel is free of any sediment or debris before distribution to aircraft as well as managing Tyndall Air Force Base’s liquid oxygen system. As Tyndall fuels up for Checkered Flag, POL is working behind the scenes to test and monitor all things fuel.


Airman 1st Class Fernando Berrios-Colon, 325th LRS fuel distribution operator, is one of the newest Airmen to join the POL family. Exercises like Checkered Flag allow him to become more comfortable preparing and distributing fuel in a different environment.


“Checkered Flag pushes POL to adapt to a much busier airfield and continue to safely complete the mission,” said Berrios-Colon. “We also meet many different Airmen from other bases with different perspectives. This enables us to build partnerships around the Air Force.”


Before enlisting in May 2021, Berrios-Colon lived in Puerto Rico and worked in construction to support his wife and 14-year-old son. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in radiology, but soon realized the profession wasn’t right for him. After his cousin explained the benefits of the Air Force, he decided to take a chance and enlist.


“I wanted to have new experiences and give my family a better place to grow,” explained Berrios-Colon. “I was so scared because I did not know how to speak English, but I knew it was what I needed to do.”


Berrios-Colon had his fair share of difficulties learning a new language, but that did not stop him from becoming a star performer. Out of the seven months he has been at Tyndall, he has been awarded “Top Pumper of the Month” four times and has distributed 369,925 gallons of fuel to 356 different aircraft!


“Coming into this career, I had no expectations,” Berrios-Colon recalled. “But now I see our job is so important. Not only do we get the jets in the air, we protect everything from the pilots, to the crew chiefs, to the jet itself. One simple mistake on our end could be detrimental to the Air Force.”