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Senior Master Sgt. Patrick McCracken
MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan -12.28.2008
"Fill 'er up" is a phrase you may have used many times back in the days of full service gas stations but it’s not very common terminology in the day and age of high prices and self-service everything.
The 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Petroleum, Oils, and Lubricants Flight, however, is certainly an organization that still embraces the full-service ethic.
Senior Airman Victoria Drefs, a 376th ELRS POL technician, is one of the many premiere refueling unit operators who takes that “extra mile” ethic to work with her every day.
Airman Drefs is currently deployed from Aviano Air Base in Italy is a native of Armour, S.D. and a three year Air Force veteran. She is the first and likely will be the only technician, of her crew of 37, during this four month rotation to surpass an amazing two million gallons of fuel pumped into the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet here.
This is no small feat even during the summer months when the Manas Air Base fleet is nearly fifty percent larger and the weather conditions are optimal, but it is truly an enormous achievement in the harsh Kyrgyzstan winter on an open and unprotected flight-line.
Victoria reached the two million gallon mark on the day after Christmas and was met by Lt. Gen Gary North, Air Forces Central Commander, at the receiver aircraft to commemorate the occasion with a presentation of one of his commander coins.
The two million gallons of fuel she delivered into 464 aircraft equates to 13,400,000 pounds and would average out to about four or five aircraft a day during her time at Manas, if she never took a day off.
“She’s the epitome of what today’s Airmen can do,” said Master Sgt. Cleven Allen, 376th ELRS fuels superintendent, “She’s every supervisor's dream come true.”
“I knew I was getting close to the two million gallon mark because they sent us updates,” said Drefs, “but I did not know that Lt. Gen. North would be there until just before I headed to the plane. It was great how it worked out for him to be there.”
Drefs is no stranger to the limelight when only a month prior she was selected as one of only two deployed Air Force members to receive a Thanksgiving Day morale call, from President George W. Bush.
She coyly said “no comment” when asked how passing the 2 million gallon mark and getting coined by North compared to getting a phone call from the President of the United States.
Drefs will redeploy to Italy, but she can look back fondly on her experiences at Manas from her recognition as a top performer to her phone call with the President or just for spending time playing basketball with her friends.
“Although I am ready to go home, I will never forget my memories of Manas,” said Drefs.