A Day in the Life of an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Fuels

By ABF1 (AW/SW) Erica Allen

ABF1 (AW/SW) Erica Allen
As the Leading Petty Officer (LPO) and Regional Quality Assurance Officer at the NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka Fuels Department, my day begins around 0700. After dropping my kids off at school and daycare, I transit to my work site at Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Hakozaki, a 10 to 15 minute drive from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka base. After a short shuttle boat ride, I arrive at Azuma Island, a unique facility that stores various types of petroleum products including JP5, JP8, F76, LTL, MUM, and FJ1. There are 22 aboveground and underground storage tanks throughout the island to hold our petroleum inventory.

As the Departmental LPO, I supervise a team of 14 military personnel. Given the location of our terminal in Central Japan, the team is directly responsible for providing fuel to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Yokota Air Base, Misawa Air Base, Camp Zama and Camp Fuji, as well as U.S. 7th Fleet Forward Deployed Naval Forces vessels and visiting units. We receive fuel by Military Sealift Command tankers and distribute it to Department of Defense (DoD) customers throughout Central and Northern Japan via coastal tankers, barges, rail, and fuel trucks. We also provide fuel to other DFSPs.

All operations that take place require a Quality Assurance Representative and that is when my team comes in. For each evolution that occurs, I assign a military member to that specific operation to ensure all safety precautions are in place and samples are collected as the fuel is being transferred. Operations will vary from day-to-day. Some days we will issue fuel to one ship; on other days, to several ships, depending on their schedules.

As the Kanto Plain Regional Quality Assurance Officer, I lead eight Master Labor Contract employees, who are Japanese nationals hired by the Government of Japan in support of the U.S. Forces Japan mission. We operate out of a regional “Class A” laboratory at DFSP Hakozaki, and in addition to sampling fuel for our terminal, we also provide support to DoD customers in the Kanto region. On a daily basis, I am responsible for tracking all incoming fuel samples that are sent from different locations. I ensure all testing is completed in a timely manner and the results are received by our customers. On average, our laboratory tests over 8,000 samples a year, utilizing 41 pieces of mission-essential fuel testing equipment. In addition, I ensure all our laboratory equipment is calibrated and receives regular maintenance.

At the end of each day, I check the schedule for fueling evolutions for the following day to ensure everyone is assigned where they need to be. In addition, I also ensure our laboratory does not have any pending fuel samples that still need to be tested. Some days are longer than others, and sometimes this includes work on weekends in addition to my other watch standing requirements, but luckily for me I work with a great group of people that hardly ever complains and works hard to get the job done, no matter what.

I enjoy my work and I understand that the collective team effort contributes to the larger Navy mission. Our contributions are what make our Navy “Mission Ready,” at all times