U.S. Navy logistics leaders toured fueling operations onboard Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Hakozaki on the island of Azuma located within Tokyo Bay in early June.
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John Floyd (left), NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Kanto Area fuel director, briefs Capt. Ray Bichard (center), NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka commanding officer, on the layout and operations of fuel facilities at Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Hakozaki while onboard the small craft HAKO-8 (25' Boston Whaler) enroute to the island of Azuma located within Tokyo Bay.
More than 80 years ago on a nondescript piece of land floating off the coast of the Empire of Japan’s home island of Honshu, the Imperial Japanese Navy dug out a mountain and built massive fuel tanks within it. Today those tanks give the NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka fuel department personnel the unparalleled capability to fuel the U.S. Navy’s forward deployed fleet presence.
"Right here, directly off the coast of Yokosuka, we have a small island with a big mission,” explained NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Commanding Officer, Capt. Ray Bichard. “Our fuels personnel, who run the daily operations of DFSP Hakozaki, are maintaining a vital capability which feeds the fleet the fuel they need to maintain a strategic forward presence in this Asia Pacific region.”
Sticking out of the Pacific Ocean, within view from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka headquarters and a mere 10-minute boat ride away, the rock outcropping that is Azuma island sits unassuming to the naked eye but under the surface lies the life blood that keeps the U.S. Navy moving.
DFSP Hakozaki holds 29 fuel tanks, each ranging from 3,000 barrels to 300,000 barrels in total capacity with the entire operation putting out an annual average of 116 million gallons per year.
“The island acts as a main distribution hub for central and northern Japan,” said John Floyd, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Kanto Area fuel director.
As half of the U.S. Navy’s deployed fleet is permanently home-ported in the Asia Pacific it is vital that NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka has the fuel available to keep the ships moving and DFSP Hakozaki is an integral piece of a much larger puzzle.
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka has a very significant fuel mission that spans from points in the north Pacific to the Indian Ocean, managing roughly 45 percent of the total Navy fuel in the region, which equates to an astounding 10 percent of the Department of Defense (DOD) total global bulk petroleum inventory.
“We receive fuel in 240,000 barrel shipments from deep draft ocean tankers contracted by Military Sealift Command (MSC), which is then shipped from Hakozaki to other DFSP's via deep draft and shallow draft ocean tankers and coastal barges contracted by MSC; then shipped to end use customers via trucks or shallow draft barges,” Floyd explained.
These primary customers include jets and aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Yokota Air Base and Misawa Air Base as well as all the 7th Fleet Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) vessels, Floyd said. He also said that the fuel is also shipped to Okinawa, Guam, Diego Garcia, Wake Island and Kwajalein Atoll.
With such an expansive reach, it is easy to say that if you find yourself on a U.S. military aircraft or ship traveling between ports and airstrips across this area of responsibility, chances are the fuel that delivered you to your destination was put there by the hard work of more than 100 fuel professionals that spend their days on a very small island doing very important work.
Story by Sky Laron; NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications