18 LRS wins American Petroleum Institute award

Base Info
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Terry Gilman, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, pulls out a hose to refuel an aircraft April 13, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Petroleum, oil and lubricant Airmen fuel the fight and are vital in keeping aircraft ready to go. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Terry Gilman, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, pulls out a hose to refuel an aircraft April 13, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Petroleum, oil and lubricant Airmen fuel the fight and are vital in keeping aircraft ready to go. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis)

18 LRS wins American Petroleum Institute award

by: Chief Master Sgt. Shayne Somavia | .
U.S. Air Force | .
published: June 08, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron has won the prestigious American Petroleum Institute award.

The API award has been a distinct honor among Air Force fuels management flights for 50 years.

Recognizing individuals and groups as top performers has been a long standing developmental program in military and civilian organizations. Cinema has the Oscars, theater has the Tony's and Nobel Prize is most notably given to those who have significantly contributed to advancements in academic, cultural and scientific fields. Similar prominence can be found within the Air Force fuels community when recognizing the Service's "best of the best." Annually, the American Petroleum Institute (API) trophy is awarded to the top active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Fuels Management Flight in recognition of their outstanding contributions, commitment to excellence and dedication to the warfighter mission.

The award takes the name of the API, a preeminent leader in the petroleum industry. The organization provides technical guidance and standards to help companies associated with refining, producing and distributing petroleum to do so efficiently, effectively and safely while ensuring compliance with regulatory and statutory requirements. These are basic tenets fuels activities strive toward, while also focusing on quality of life, process improvement and innovation.

This year marks the golden anniversary of the API award. Nearly half a century ago, the first API trophy was presented to Travis Air Force Base, CA, recognizing them as the "Best Fuels Management Branch in the Air Force" in 1966 for their organization's extraordinary management coupled with their effective use of resources. Back then, bases submitted a package highlighting their programs and accomplishments to their Major Command (MAJCOM) fuels staff for selection as their respective best.

MAJCOMs would submit their winners to the Air Staff where packages were reviewed and the competition narrowed to the top three finalists. These candidates were then visited by Headquarters Air Force senior ranking fuel experts, who would spend days visiting each of the finalists' location to assess them on their safety practices, operational efficiencies, training, proficiency of personnel, allocation and use of resources and the professionalism and esprit de corps.

Everything within the Fuels Management Flight was examined closely and evaluators would go to great lengths to get to the heart of the unit's management and operations expertise. Personnel evaluations were the foundation of the site visits, which gave units the ability to personally demonstrate their mettle during the API evaluation as the team witnessed first-hand the significant accomplishments and support of and by each Fuels Airmen.

Since its creation, the trophy has been presented 49 times, with the award being suspended only in 1975 due to the impacts of the oil embargo imposed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. During the 25th Anniversary, McGuire Air Force Base, NJ captured the API award honors. Colonel John W. Freitas, the Chief of Supply for the 438th Supply Squadron, described his unit's efforts by stating, "In representing MAC [Military Airlift Command] for the 1981 American Petroleum Institute (API) Award, a strong feeling of desire, enthusiasm, competition, and pride has been instilled both in the individuals and the unit," which were quite evident to the API evaluation team by McGuire's self-help efforts turning an old demineralized water plant into an effective supply point for receiving, stocking and issuing support materials.

Today, the determination and persistence to be named the Air Force's API award winner is as significant and relevant as it was 50 years ago. All bases recognize the legacy of the API trophy and desire to have their unit's name engraved on its base signifying their accomplishment. This year's finalists were identified after their award packages were evaluated by the API board and are the Fuels Management Flights from the 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Eglin AFB; 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Kadena AB and 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Spangdahlem AB. These units met the API's virtual evaluation board in April to articulate and demonstrate their achievements, contributions to the Air Force mission and their technical knowledge to determine who will be the 2015 API honoree. While all competitors performed remarkably well, it was the Fuels Management Flight from Kadena AB, Japan who captured the title and is recognized as the API's "Golden Anniversary" recipient.

The API trophy, donated to the Air Force in 1965, has seen subtle changes similar to the competition's proceedings; however, the trophy's work has been seemingly cosmetic. It is constructed of a wooden base, engraved with all of the past winners' names, which signifies the future is built on the solid foundations displayed by its recipients. A single drop of crude oil represents the skill, talent and experience of our professional force. "Crude" is the absolute lifeblood of Airpower; the gold color represents that its value is recognized worldwide. Finally the stylized silver wings symbolize our nation's global reach and dominance, demonstrating a seamless coordination between industry and government and finally the Air Force.

Congratulations to Kadena's 18 LRS fuels management flight for earning this year's "Best of the Best" distinction.