BY BRIAN J. DAVIS, NAVSUP FLC PUGET SOUND OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound’s fuel department hosted elements of the 475th Quartermaster Group at the Manchester Fuel Depot (MFD) in support of the 2017 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX) July 17-24.
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A convoy of fuel trucks from the 475th Quartermaster Group prepare to depart MFD to deliver a load of aviation fuel to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. –photos by Brian Davis
QLLEX is an annual exercise held by units of the U.S. Army Reserve to conduct petroleum and water purification support in a combat training environment.
The majority of the Army’s petroleum and water units are attached to the U.S. Army Reserve.
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A Soldier from the U. S. Army 475th Quartermaster Group guides a tanker truck into the NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound fuel terminal.
MFD was the origination hub for the Pacific Northwest portion of QLLEX. Army liquid logistics units transported aviation fuel to a temporary field storage facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. From there, truck convoys delivered the fuel to Naval Air Around NAVSUP Station Whidbey Island and Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington.
“The drill scenario uses Navy infrastructure and Army rolling stock to support Navy, Army and Air Force operational requirements at select locations in the region,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott McCarthy, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound regional fuels officer.
QLLEX is the largest logistics field exercise in the continental United States. Operations take place simultaneously at military installations across the country.
To make the training realistic, Army Reserve liquid logistic units actually obtained and distributed fuel to military customers to meet their day-to-day operational requirements.
For the Manchester portion of QLLEX, Army tanker trucks took on the role of delivering aviation fuel supplies to NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound’s customers, a function normally performed by contractors.
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Nathan Smith, a NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound fuel technician inspects an Army fuel truck prior to departure from the fuel terminal at MFD.
Like most military logistics functions, the mission requirement was simple, but execution required careful coordination across agencies and demanded close collaboration between personnel, military and civilian, to work out a multitude of details.
“QLLEX gives our personnel an opportunity to work in a joint environment and coordinate closely with other agencies to support the mission,” said Capt. Philippe Grandjean, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound commanding officer.
According to 1st Sgt. Marshall Ellis of the 369th Transportation Company, the mission scenario for his Oklahoma-based unit was to receive fuel orders, determine the vehicle requirements, and send the trucks to the MFD truck fueling station to obtain the required product.
Once all the tankers were loaded, inspected and cleared for transport, the convoys headed out on the road to deliver their payload.
MFD fuelies provided inspection and certification of the fuel tankers before filling them up for their first delivery. They assisted the liquid logistics Soldiers with determining fuel distribution between convoy vehicles, and drew samples from the full tanks to ensure that the aviation fuel was free of contaminants.
While safety and strict adherence to procedural guidelines was a priority for all, QLLEX was a challenge for both Army and Navy participants at Manchester. Soldiers and fuel depot personnel maintained a demanding tempo with fueling and convoy operations underway every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“The fast pace and sheer number of moving parts makes QLLEX challenging, so the success of the exercise relied heavily on every participant’s ability to coordinate and adapt,” said McCarthy.
QLLEX is intended to provide a realistic training experience for the soldiers tasked with providing fuel and water in wartime.
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Sgt. Jose Colon, assigned to the 273rd Movement Control Team, 475th Quartermaster Group directs a fuel tanker through an intersection during convoy operations in Manchester, Washington.
For supporting activities like the NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound fuel department, participation brings valuable benefits.
“The exercise not only enhances our own petroleum logistics network throughout the region, but also challenges logisticians from both services with a scenario designed to prepare them for real-world operations. That’s why we look forward to being a part of it every year,” said Grandjean.
The MFD is managed by the NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound fuel department.
The fuel depot’s mission is to provide customers with top quality military specification fuel, lubricants and additives used by land, sea and air forces.
The facility issues, manages and receives bulk petroleum products, and is tasked with ensuring compliance of product quality, inventory control and environmental regulations.
MFD provides fuels support for U.S. and allied forces throughout the Puget Sound region and the Pacific Rim.