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Team Mildenhall, 48th Fighter Wing don’t cry over spilled gas

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremiah Gates, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of training, sprays water across the pavement at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019. The fire department provided water to simulate spilled fuel for the exercise. The fuel spill exercise was conducted to test the base’s response and recovery capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremiah Gates, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of training, sprays water across the pavement at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019. The fire department provided water to simulate spilled fuel for the exercise. The fuel spill exercise was conducted to test the base’s response and recovery capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Firefighters discuss the appropriate response to a simulated fuel spill at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019. The exercise tested the base's response to 65,000 gallons of spilled fuel. The fuel spill exercise was conducted to test the base’s response and recovery capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Firefighters discuss the appropriate response to a simulated fuel spill at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019. The exercise tested the base's response to 65,000 gallons of spilled fuel. The fuel spill exercise was conducted to test the base’s response and recovery capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Wing inspection team members and exercise participants from the 100th Air Refueling Wing look over a base map during a fuel spill exercise at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019. Exercise participants were evaluated based on their performance during the exercise.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Wing inspection team members and exercise participants from the 100th Air Refueling Wing look over a base map during a fuel spill exercise at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019. Exercise participants were evaluated based on their performance during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Airmen from RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath participated in a fuel spill exercise at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 15, 2019.

The exercise, conducted annually in accordance with Defense Logistics Agency regulations, replicated a fuel spill and tested Airmen’s reaction to an event that could halt the base’s aerial refueling mission.

“The exercise was meant to simulate a large jet-fuel spill of 65,000 gallons,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Peabody, 100th Air Refueling Wing Inspector General’s office.

The fuel spill exercise was organized by the wing’s inspection and exercise planning team and involved the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron, 100th Security Forces Squadron, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 100th Air Refueling Wing Command Post, 48th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, and personnel from the 352nd Special Operations Wing.

“The inspector general inspections team coordinated the examination,” Peabody said. “We were testing our response and recovery capabilities. The fire department came and assessed how bad the spill was. Security forces cordoned off the area to make sure it was safe, and bio-environmental came out to determine how bad the fumes were.”

Airmen who participated in the exercise believe training like this is important for being prepared to respond as a base.

“It’s important because it tests our capability to be able to work with agencies other than ourselves,” said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Straub, 100th LRS NCO-in-charge of fuels facilities. “It’s always going to come down to communication and working together to minimize the impact of a disaster of this magnitude.”