Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka Sailors and Master Labor Contract (MLC) employees pumped thousands of gallons of fuel onboard rail cars and helicopters Oct. 29 aboard Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Tsurumi and Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi.
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ABF2 Ryan Moore, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Atsugi, Fuel Dispatcher, drags a JP-5 fuel hose to a MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on the flight line aboard Naval Air Facility Atsugi during hot refueling missions.
These highly technical fuel missions are an everyday occurrence for the command, which prides itself on being the best option for petroleum, oil, and lubricant products within the Asia Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR).
Planes, trains and automobiles - the fuel professionals at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka use just about every weapon in their arsenal when it comes to providing clean, clear and bright fuel to the fleet and joint warfighter.
The sky is overcast and the rain is coming down in sheets, but 12 rail cars have entered DFSP Tsurumi on the coastal outskirts of Yokohama, Japan on a brisk October morning, initiating a flurry of action that springs NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Fuels Department employees into a series of well-orchestrated movements.
DFSP Tsurumi is one of nine DFSP's operated by NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka. Eight out of the nine are considered Category I Depots, which is more than all other U.S. Navy NAVSUP FLC's combined worldwide.
"With nearly 7,000 fuel movements every year totaling well over 700 million gallons, the fuel mission we operate is massive and critical to the joint warfighter's overall mission success," explained Capt. Marty Fields, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer. "The fuel we pump keep the jets and helos in the sky and the ships out to sea."
In Tsurumi, the rail cars come to a halt alongside an intricate pipeline network that delivers the fuel from massive storage tanks. These tanks have been filled to operational capacity through a series of super tanker and fuel barge visits.
Each rail car takes on about 12,000 gallons of JP-8 jet fuel, which is headed to Yokota Air Base, a U.S. Air Force base in Western Tokyo.
It is the fuel rated Sailors and MLCs at the pumping stations in Tsurumi that are ensuring the airmen in Yokota, who comprise the 374th Airlift Wing, have what they need to make their jets fly and accomplish their mission of providing expeditionary forces ready to employ anywhere in the world and maintain the airlift and operational hub for U.S. forces in the Western Pacific.
Another group of Sailors and MLCs stand ready at their fuel farm in Atsugi awaiting the call from their “Warlord” customers.
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ABF2 Ryan Moore, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Atsugi, Fuel Dispatcher, connects a JP-5 fuel hose to a MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on the flight line aboard Naval Air Facility Atsugi during hot refueling missions.
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Five One (HSM-51) "Warlords" is a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron based at NAF Atsugi. HSM-51 is one of the seven squadrons making up Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, Pacific Fleet, based in San Diego, and deploys aboard multiple ships in the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan.
"When the phone rings and that call comes in, we get our trucks rolling," explained Lt. Cmdr. James Venckus, Director of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Atsugi. "The operation we run here is 24/7, and our team must be able to respond at a moment’s notice; we are going to get that fuel to those aircraft on time and safely every time."
As the helicopters taxied into position the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Sailor hops out of his fuel truck and grabs the fuel line hauling it out for a "hot refuel,” which means the helicopter blades continue spinning and the aircraft remains ready for action at a moment’s notice.
So whether it is a rail car taking on fuel that is destined for an Air Force jet, or a Navy helicopter conducting a hot refuel, the men and women of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka stand ready to deliver by all means necessary.
By Sky Laron; NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications