Fueling excellence

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Joshua Sinclair
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
“Colonel Edwards needs to talk with you,” Maj. Jose Crespo told Senior Master Sgt. Edward Mueller, the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight superintendent. The two were together on temporary duty at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, for a logistics readiness conference.

Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing commander, was requesting information on an aspect of fuels. Mueller explained, “I started giving him the facts and the numbers to help him and he stopped me – that’s when I knew.”

The conversation had been a ruse to set up Mueller to let him know he’d won the 2018 General Lew Allen, Jr., Trophy.

Gen. Lew Allen Jr. was the 10th chief of staff of the Air Force and former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The award, named after the late general, recognizes the performance and accomplishments of logistics readiness officers and noncommissioned officers Air Force wide.

“There were great [award packages] from every major command, and I’m just honored to represent the Air Force,” said Mueller.

Fuels management isn’t just a single job. There’s chemical engineering, quality analysis, business management and fuel loading. There are a wide array of specialties and specifications and Mueller has done it all.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some of the experiences I have,” Mueller said. “I was off the plane on the bare base in Al Udeid [Qatar] days after 9/11. I’ve had all kinds of experiences [such as] hot refueling helicopters in the desert. My career has been very charmed.”

Mueller’s current mission revolves around making sure the 28th BW has a continuous supply of clean fuel.¬

“I provide mission support, foster innovation, and provide quality of life initiatives,” Mueller said. “That’s what I do - straight out of the [Air Force Instruction]. But I’ve always thought my main job is to take care of the Air Force’s number one asset – the people.”

Mueller’s path into the Air Force wasn’t typical. He enlisted at 24, already had a wife and child, and he spent his free time skateboarding. Not yet the award winning Airman, he needed direction and the Air Force gave him that.

“I craved the structure. I had hair to my shoulders, wore flannels from the thrift store, and was an all-around slacker,” Mueller explained.

So, he took the plunge and joined the Air Force, applying for a job in Applied Geophysics.

Mueller didn’t even know what petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) was when he signed up. He added, that at the Military Entrance Processing Station “they showed me the famous ‘bonus sheet.’ Fuels was second on the list and only had a six-week technical school. Fast forward 18 years later, and I absolutely love POL.”

While he excels at what he does, what Mueller has come appreciate about his job is the community he gets to be a part of.

“The thing I love most is the family aspect,” Mueller said. “POL is a relatively small career field, and I’m guaranteed to run into many of my fellow Airmen again.”

Mueller is an expert on how to lay fuel lines and provide planes with the gas they need to go, but being an expert on working with people is where Mueller’s passion is.

“I remind my troops they are the greatest asset to this Air Force,” Mueller said. “You’ll be amazed at the places this job can take you.”

For Mueller, it took him all the way to the top.