FARP tryouts test mental, physical strength

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Deanna Muir
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
The 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron forward area refueling point team held a tryout event at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Dec. 6, 2023.

FARP is a mentally and physically demanding operation that generally happens in austere locations and under the cover of night that provides fuel from a tanker directly to a receiver aircraft. Tryouts are held throughout the year to fill vacancies and evaluate a petroleum, oils and lubricants Airman’s rapid decision-making, teamwork and physical fitness performance.

“FARP in itself is a very physically and mentally demanding job – there's no checklist so you need people who can work through problems even when they're fatigued,” said Tech. Sgt. William Smith, 23rd LRS FARP team chief.

The timed tryout consists of running out a 300-foot hose until it’s fully extended; going back to the starting point to retrieve a fire bottle, water bottle and squeegee to deliver it to the endpoint; and disconnecting and rolling hoses back to the beginning – all while wearing protective gear and FARP team members yelling to move faster.

“We need somebody who can do the tryouts and maintain their mental composure while we try to stress them out – just to see what kind of reaction they have,” said Senior Airman Zachary Short, 23rd LRS fuels facilities technician and FARP team member.

If a member is selected to be a part of the team, they will be required to complete survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE), the altitude chamber and the three phases of FARP school.

Although FARP can be mentally and physically demanding, team members understand the importance of the mission they support. When rescue gets a call to deploy and FARP is tasked to join, the team must be ready within 72 hours.

“Generally FARP is a last resort, no-fail mission,” Smith said. “It’s taking care of the guys that are under me and making sure when we're called upon, we get the job done and there's no questions about it.”

Every Airman has their reasons for trying out for the team, and Short expressed what motivated him to join.

“I just wanted to do something more and it felt like if I joined this team, then I could be a part of that brotherhood – I could have the camaraderie that I wanted,” Short said. “We get to experience a little bit more than what you do as far as a regular deployment and that's what attracted me to it.”

The FARP team looks for Airmen who are motivated to work hard, keep their composure under pressure and bring a sense of humor to the team. If a POL Airman is interested in joining the nine-member FARP team, they must be an E-6 or below and willing to commit two years to the team.