News: Providing More than Just Fuel
Story by Spc. Megan Burnham
From Joint Task Force - Guantanamo
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – It is common knowledge that military commissions of detained enemy combatants occurs at the Expeditionary Legal Complex of U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. What is less commonly known or thought about are the people responsible for keeping the ELC up and running which, in turn, enables the Joint Task Force to continue in their mission.
It is the primary mission of the 474th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron liquid fuels section to provide power and continuously maintain that power of the ELC and Camp Justice.
"We [liquid fuels] are responsible for providing fuel for the MEP-12 generators which provide power for the camp," said Air Force Master Sgt. James Butts, liquid fuels supervisor.
Not only does the fuel go towards maintaining power at the ELC and Camp Justice, it is also used to uphold comfortable living conditions for Troopers residing at Camp Justice.
"Our secondary duty is to provide fuel for the laundry tent, the boilers which provide hot water, and the portable generators used as back-up power.
Despite the liquid fuels section being manned by only Butts and Air Force Senior Airman Albert Leyvas, a liquid fuels apprentice, the daily workload doesn't get overwhelming.
"We are under the utilities shop and they have about eight members so there's always someone I can request help from," said Butts. "Overall, it's a steady job."
For five days out of seven, liquid fuels acquire 1,900 gallons of fuel and pumps it to fill the two fuel bladders in service. These bladders can hold up to 10,000 gallons apiece. While usage varies between only 900 and 1,100 gallons in a 24-hour period, much fuel is kept in stock to ensure that there is enough fuel to run all generators and ensure no chance of running out when fuel is not available, especially during the hurricane season.
To check fuel levels in the bladders, a stick is placed on top of the bladder and tape measurer is used to measure the height of the stick above the ground. Once the measure is taken, the measure in inches is then converted to gallons and written down; fuel checks are performed after every filling.
Since beginning their six-month deployment in August, Butts and Leyvas have improved the fueling process by installing two new bladders while completing constant inspections of them to minimize possible leaks. They also replaced the surrounding plastic around the fuel bladders to enhance the drainage system and ensure cleanliness as well as change worn out sand bags with 150 new ones.
"The service life of a fuel bladder is one year and installing the two new bladders prevented any extreme complications," said Butts. "I feel that we improved the liquid fuel operations by 100 percent."
The mission of the liquid fuels section offers much to the mission of Guantanamo Bay as well as the mission of the Joint Task Force. It is with their knowledge and hard work that work continues at Camp Justice and personnel are able to live comfortably while accomplishing their own missions.