News: Bulk fuel specialists work non-stop during Operation Damayan
Story by Lance Cpl. Anne Henry
GUIUAN, Republic of the Philippines- To ensure remote areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan receive much needed aid, bulk fuel specialists worked tirelessly constructing and operating a forward arming and refueling point at Guiuan, Republic of the Philippines, Nov. 18.
Without the fully functional FARP, and the work of bulk fuel specialists, the aircraft needed to deliver relief supplies would have to refuel at more distant locations, increasing the time between distribution missions to remote areas affected by the typhoon.
For the bulk fuel specialists with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, currently assigned to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in support of Joint Task Force 505, preparation is key and training is critical for real-world situations such as Operation Damayan, according to U.S. Marine Warrant Officer Julio Dominguez, the fuels officer in charge with the unit.
“If we have everything ready, we can set this entire system up within three to four hours,” said Dominguez. “This is a very unique mission. Whenever something happens in this area of operations, we are on call and ready to go.”
With so many aircraft needing fuel, it is important for the bulk fuel specialists to quickly set up the FARP and ensure it runs smoothly, according to Lance Cpl. Jose Valencia, a bulk fuel specialist with the unit.
“Here we have a three-point FARP (capable of refueling three aircraft),” said Valencia. “The process involves pumping the fuel to the aircraft from a (storage bladder). After this, the fuel is recirculated via pumps back to the bag to get rid of any water or sediment that could be in the fuel that was received or given.”
Typhoon Haiyan has impacted more than 4.2 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines, according to the Philippine government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“This natural disaster has devastated this country,” said Valencia. “I have never in my life seen anything like it. The work we are doing goes a long way here, whether that means loading and unloading supplies off a KC-130 or working here on the FARP. This is what I signed up to do. It feels good to be helping out.”
The Marines of the unit work tirelessly for whatever support is asked of them, according to Dominguez.
“I feel like my Marines are doing an outstanding job,” said Dominguez. “They never cease to amaze me. All of these Marines are very eager to be here helping out and want to do as much as they possibly can.”