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Airmen compete for spot on forward air refueling team

Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor carries a hose during a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout here Feb. 15, 2018.

Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor carries a hose during a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout here Feb. 15, 2018. The tryout consists of potential team members wearing full body armor and performing various task they may face during a real world FARP mission. The FARP team here is the only one in the Air Mobility Command.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, left, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Area Refueling Point team chief offers encouragement to Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, prior to Lynch participating in a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout Feb. 15, 2018.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, left, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Area Refueling Point team chief offers encouragement to Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, prior to Lynch participating in a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout Feb. 15, 2018. The tryout consists of potential team members wearing full body armor and performing various tasks they may face during a real world FARP mission.

Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, carries a fire hose as part of a tryout for the Forward Area Refueling Point team here Feb. 15, 2018.

Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, carries a fire hose as part of a tryout for the Forward Area Refueling Point team here Feb. 15, 2018. Following the tryout it’s up to Piper and the squadron leadership to decide which applicant will be selected to attend FARP School.

Senior Airman Cortland Carson, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels service center controller, unravels fuel hose during a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout Feb. 15, 2018.

Senior Airman Cortland Carson, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels service center controller, unravels fuel hose during a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout Feb. 15, 2018. Carson as a FARP member, is a part of the 10 percent of the fuels career field who are certified to perform FARP missions. The 12 FARP operators here comprise the only FARP team in the Air Mobility Command.

Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor puts away a hose during a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout here Feb. 15, 2018.

Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor puts away a hose during a Forward Area Refueling Point team tryout here Feb. 15, 2018. Members selected to the FARP team are certified to establish refueling sites and refuel airframes in austere locations. The FARP team here is the only one in the Air Mobility Command.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Area Refueling Point team chief, straps in a fuel hose prior to the start of a FARP team tryout here Feb. 15, 2018.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Area Refueling Point team chief, straps in a fuel hose prior to the start of a FARP team tryout here Feb. 15, 2018. The FARP team here consists of 12 designated fuels Airmen. Because of the demands of the FARP mission, applicants are vetted through interviews with leadership and a hands-on tryout before being approved to attend the week-long FARP School at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Upon completion of the course they become one of the less than 10 percent of fuels Airmen certified as a FARP operator. The FARP team here is the only one in the Air Mobility Command.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, left, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Area Refueling Point team chief and Senior Airman Christopher Stuebbe, right, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor run with fuel hoses as part of a demonstration during a FARP team tryout Feb. 15, 2018.

Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, left, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Area Refueling Point team chief and Senior Airman Christopher Stuebbe, right, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor run with fuel hoses as part of a demonstration during a FARP team tryout Feb. 15, 2018. FARP is a specialty within the fuels career field responsible for establishing refueling sites and refueling airframes in austere locations. The FARP team here is the only one in the Air Mobility Command.

Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator rolls up a fuel hose while trying out for the Forward Area Refueling Point team here Feb. 15, 2018.

Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator rolls up a fuel hose while trying out for the Forward Area Refueling Point team here Feb. 15, 2018. FARP is a specialty within the fuels career field. Members selected to the FARP team are certified to establish refueling sites and refuel airframes in austere locations.

Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, right, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor is congratulated by Senior Airman Christopher Stuebbe, center, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor and Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, after finishing the Forward Area Refueling Point course here Feb. 15, 2018.

Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, right, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor is congratulated by Senior Airman Christopher Stuebbe, center, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution supervisor and Airman 1st Class Nathan Lynch, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, after finishing the Forward Area Refueling Point course here Feb. 15, 2018. Members selected to the FARP team are certified to establish refueling sites and refuel airframes in austere locations. The FARP team here is the only one in the Air Mobility Command.

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --

The Forward Area Refueling Point team team held a tryout here Feb. 15, 2018, to fill the vacancy on their team. 

Because of the demands of the FARP mission, applicants are vetted through interviews with leadership and by participating in a hands-on skills course. The selected applicant will be sent to the week-long FARP School at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Upon completion of FARP School, the applicant becomes one of the less than 10 percent of fuels Airmen certified as a FARP operator.

“Our FARP team members are the cream of the crop for fuels troops,” said Lt. Col. Abbillyn Johnson, 628th LRS commander. “They’re physically and mentally tough. They’re very sharp, very focused troops. The FARP team provides a mission set to combatant commanders that nobody else in the AMC can offer.”

The 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron is home to the only FARP team in the Air Mobility Command. FARP is a specialty within the fuels career field where members selected to the FARP team are certified to establish refueling sites and refuel airframes in austere locations.

“The tryout helps us determine if an applicant is physically and mentally ready to go to FARP School and perform FARP operations,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas T. Piper, 628th LRS FARP team chief. “We operate all over the world. Some places are very unforgiving. They could be working in very hot or very cold climates, doing night operations with dust and debris blowing in their faces while wearing and carrying heavy gear, so it’s important for them to be physically fit.”

The tryout consists of potential team members wearing full body armor and performing a physically demanding skills test demonstrating their ability to perform various tasks they may encounter during an actual FARP mission.

“This is a very humbling experience,” said Staff Sgt. Eddie Flint, 628th LRS fuels distribution supervisor. “It takes a lot of endurance to finish this course. At the end when it was becoming exhausting, I told myself ‘don’t stop, don’t give up on your teammates. You only have a little bit left to go.’”

Following the tryout, it is up to Piper and the squadron leadership to decide which applicant will be selected to attend FARP School.

“As far as becoming a FARP operator, I’m looking for commitment,” said Piper. "Because with the places we go and things we do, failure is not an option. We need individuals who can be relied upon when working in a small team. They’re going to get tired. They’re going to start questioning if they can finish this tryout or not and I’m looking for individuals who won’t quit and are going to push through no matter what.”

Johnson said she respects every Airman who tries out for the FARP team because she knows how hard tryouts can be, as she has tried the course herself.

“To actually put the equipment on and pull the hose a couple hundred feet was even more taxing than I imagined,” said Johnson. “It gave me a new respect for these folks, including the ones who try out and don’t make it.”