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Transit Center Airman pumps 5 million gallons of gas
Senior Airman Chantz Wyant (r) receives a briefing from Staff Sgt. Kasey Hemesath before refueling a KC-135 Stratotanker at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, July 11. While refueling this KC-135, Wyant achieved a deployment milestone by pumping more than 5 million gallons of JP8 during his time at the Transit Center. Wyant is a 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator deployed here from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Hemesath is deployed to the 376th Expeditionary Maintenance Group from Fairchild AFB, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore)
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Transit Center Airman pumps 5 million gallons of gas

Posted 7/19/2011   Updated 7/19/2011 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/19/2011 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Many people establish goals they want to accomplish during their deployments as a way to help pass the time.

Senior Airman Chantz Wyant, a fuels distribution operator, set a lofty goal for himself when he arrived at the Transit Center six months ago -- he wanted to pass more than 4 million gallons of JP-8 during his deployment here.

"My goal when I first came here was to pump 4 million gallons but once I got that I decided I wanted to get 5 million," said Wyant, deployed to the 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron here from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.

Not only was Wyant successful in reaching his goal, his achievement caught the attention of 376th Air Expeditionary Wing leadership.

"Airman Wyant's accomplishment was so extraordinary because of his demonstrated desire to put the mission first," said Col. James Jacobson, 376th AEW commander. "His exceptional performance garnered him an incentive flight and his leadership had to direct him to take the flight. He originally wanted to stay at work so he could deliver more fuel to the airplanes. Again, as he neared the end of his deployment, he chose to work on his days off to move the mission. Our Airmen accomplish amazing feats, but this Airman, did so at a level 20 percent above what his next closest peer had achieved, and he did it by personifying 'service before self' -- truly a remarkable achievement."

To reach his goal, Wyant had to work through the bitter cold winter in temperatures below 10 degrees and in the steaming hot summer temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees.

"The hardest part was having to be out on the hot flight line all day," said the native of New Albany, Ohio. "There was a lot that kept me motivated, but the main thing was that I told everyone I could get 5 million."

Several members of his chain of command were on the flight line to watch him pass the 5 million gallon mark.

"The big thing we try to recognize is the 3 million gallon mark," said Lt. Col. Will Phillips III, former 376th ELRS commander, "and he made 5! At home station, the fuel is transferred via hydrants, not trucks -- this is very labor intensive."

At home station, as with most airports, each aircraft parking spot has a hydrant fuel source, there Wyant simply connects a pump to an underground system directly below the aircraft and transfers fuel to the KC-135s. Here all fuel is transported via R-11 fuel trucks, 6,000 gallons at a time. Each truck had to be filled in the fuel farm, driven to the airplane, connected to the airplane, fuel transferred, and then driven back to the fuel farm to begin again. Each trip also required three foreign object damage checks on the truck's 10 tires ... nearly 25,000 tire checks. To reach his goal, Wyant had to go through this process more than 830 times.

"Airman Wyant saw the importance of his role at the Transit Center," Jacobson said. "With the Transit Center at Manas being the gateway to Operation Enduring Freedom, his actions enabled Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians to fly into Afghanistan and conduct combat operations in support of international efforts there, to fly them home after their tour of duty concluded, and to provide critical air refueling capability over Afghanistan to protect coalition forces and defeat its enemies. Regardless of his location, Airman Wyant's pride, professionalism and pursuit of perfection demonstrated that every Airman, regardless of their task, directly impacts our efforts in Afghanistan."

Having the drive to break this career milestone is not the only trait that Chief Master Sgt. James Lucas, 376th AEW command chief, feels makes Wyant a model Airman.

"Just as impressive as his record-breaking accomplishment is the way Wyant shares the credit with his POL teammates," Lucas said. "He is quick to point out that he did not achieve this milestone on his own, it required the commitment of the entire POL team. To him the real triumph is not in achieving his individual goal, but the collective efforts and support of his teammates in making it all possible. In my opinion, the leadership displayed by this young Airman is just as inspiring as his record-breaking achievement."

Jacobson also believes that Wyant sets a positive example for his peers.
"The expeditionary environment places great challenges and burdens upon our Airmen," Jacobson said. "Airman Wyant saw those challenges as opportunities, embraced them and reminded us all that each Airman is (infused) with greatness ... the leadership key is to afford each Airman the opportunity to exercise theirs."

Wyant's achievements contributed to the Transit Center team being able to move more than 66,000 Americans through here during April, the most people ever moved through the Transit Center in a single month, which required fuels distribution operators to deliver 12.9 million gallons of JP-8.

"Airman Wyant showed his peers that one Airman makes a difference," Jacobson said. "That pride, professionalism and pursuit of perfection can and does have a profound impact on our mission. Airman Wyant can depart the Transit Center knowing he served his country well. His family, Team McConnell, Team Manas, and his nation are proud and indebted to him for his superior service."

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