HomeNewsArticle Display

Keep on truckin': F-35 pilot requalifies to refuel aircraft

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, drags a fuel hose to an F-35A at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. He visited his old unit and became requalified to refuel aircraft to encourage Airmen who may want to follow in his footsteps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, drags a fuel hose to an F-35A at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. He visited his old unit and became requalified to refuel aircraft to encourage Airmen who may want to follow in his footsteps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, left, poses for a photo with his former shift supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Charles Moore, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution NCO in charge, right, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. He reunited with Moore, who is currently stationed at Spangdahlem again. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, left, poses for a photo with his former shift supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Charles Moore, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution NCO in charge, right, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. He reunited with Moore, who is currently stationed at Spangdahlem again. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, sits in a fuel truck at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. This was his first time driving a fuels truck since commissioning in 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, sits in a fuel truck at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. This was his first time driving a fuels truck since commissioning in 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, prepares to refuel an F-35A at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. He visited his old unit and became requalified to refuel aircraft while deployed at Spangdahlem as part of a Theater Security Package. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot, prepares to refuel an F-35A at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 11, 2019. Slotten was stationed at Spangdahlem from 2004 to 2006 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator. He visited his old unit and became requalified to refuel aircraft while deployed at Spangdahlem as part of a Theater Security Package. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Several F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrived here as part of a Theater Security Package. For one pilot, the Spangdahlem flightline was familiar territory.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squadron F-35A pilot, who was stationed here in 2004 as an Airman first class fuels distributor operator, visited his old unit and became requalified to refuel aircraft July 11.

“I remember petroleum, oils, and lubricants leadership being very adamant that I keep POL in my mind, my heart, and my thoughts, as I moved forward in my career — and remember where I came from,” Slotten said.

He also got in touch with his old supervisor who is stationed here again.

Slotten reunited with Tech. Sgt. Charles Moore, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution NCO in charge, who was his shift supervisor in the early 2000’s. They toured the POL building where Slotten used to work and visited the flightline where Slotten had the opportunity to refuel an F-35.

“I definitely knew he made some pretty cool moves out of his career,” Moore, who has kept in contact with Slotten, said.

Slotten said his success is due to great leadership in his enlisted career.

“I remember supervisors like Tech. Sgt. Moore being very supportive,” Slotten said. “They allowed me the time to complete my college education. I commissioned in 2008 because a couple of my supervisors here talked me into it. Had I not been in this supportive career field, I probably would not have made it down that path.”

Moore said Slotten was also very dedicated to his goals.

“His goals were laid out before he even came here,” Moore said. “He wanted to pursue education, be in a jet, and he didn’t let anything distract from that.”

Another former POL coworker here agreed.

“He was a very intelligent young Airman when we first were here, and it does not surprise me that he’s made it up to major so quickly,” said Michael Kessler, vehicle shipment customer service representative.

Slotten hopes his visit will encourage Airmen who are seeking to commission.

“It’s cool for me to go down memory lane,” Slotten said, “but it’s less important for me and more important for those looking to follow a similar path and have that fire to go and try something different.”

Moore, who is also a resiliency instructor, encourages anyone looking to follow Slotten’s path to focus on their goals and keep pushing forward.

“Don’t let any roadblocks or any challenges hinder you,” Moore said. “Keep on truckin’, as we say in POL.”