News: The US Army Reserves Quartermasters make the military move
Story by Ryan Swanson
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Army Reserve Soldier Pfc. William Cruz explains how important an IPDS or Inland Petroleum Distribution System aids in the recovery after an earthquake at the Port of Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 3, 2014.
The Inland Petroleum Distribution System or IPDS is a distribution network of pipes that are visible in an oil depot near an area where normal docking operations are not available or destroyed. A U.S. Navy tanker pumps fuel from a few miles offshore into a conduit that distributes the fuel into a network of storage and distribution sites.
"Alaska suffered a natural disaster that shut everything down. We get things up and running then the civilians take over," said William Cruz from Scottsburg, Ind., a petroleum supply specialist with the 417th Quartermaster Company in Scottsburg, Ind.
Cruz and others in his unit are participating in Alaska Shield 14. \It is an exercise that links together state, federal, military, and local agencies, to test response and coordination efforts during a disaster. The drill is designed to simulate the 1964 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated much of South Central Alaska.
"Without fuel nothing moves in the military," said Cruz.
Private citizens are also dependent on this military-based system in times of a real emergency. The city of Anchorage and much of Alaska relies on the Port of Anchorage for its fuel, food and other supplies coming in at this one location.
It takes a minimum of two days to get the facility operational and it takes two full weeks until the I.D.P.S. is at full capacity.
"From there we can push it out on to rail, trucks, pipelines or a retail product," said Sgt 1st Class Jonathan Soros, from Salem, Ind., a member of the 417th Quartermaster Company in Scottsburg, Ind.
Soros also emphasized the IPDS section has ample storage capabilities that can send fuel back onto a ship when their mission needs change.
"We have two different sets of bags set out here to differentiate between the two types of fuel we have here," said Soros.
The entire operation with pipe sections, machinery and deflated bags, is soon loaded onto an U.S. Army boat and taken back home.