News: Fuelers keep vehicles rolling during Golden Coyote
Story by Spc. Joseph Bungert
CUSTER STATE PARK AIRPORT, S.D. — Petroleum specialists with Company A, 139th Brigade Support Battalion from Watertown and Redfield, S.D., are currently keeping vehicles full of fuel during the 25th annual Golden Coyote training exercise in the Black Hills.
"Our unit is operating retail fuel points, or mobile gas stations, on the five tactical forward operating bases created for Golden Coyote," said Sgt. Dennis Benthin, a Watertown native with Company A, 139th BSB, and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the fuel point on FOB Custer State Park Airport.
Fuel for Golden Coyote is drawn from a fuel storage area on Ellsworth Air Force Base by the 593rd Transportation Company from Reno, Nev., and transported in 5,000-gallon tankers to distribution companies, like Company A, 139th BSB. Once delivered the fuel is then transferred as needed into smaller tankers.
"Right now we are pumping fuel from one 2,500-gallon Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck tanker into our customers' vehicles and gas cans, and have a 5,000-gallon tanker standing by," Benthin said.
As soon as Company A, 311th BSB, from Lexington, Mo., arrives, two small tankers will be operating on each FOB, he explained.
"So far we have issued 1,600 gallons of fuel," Benthin added. "This includes refueling our own vehicles during the trip from Watertown to the Black Hills."
Spc. Ryan Jorgensen, a fuel specialist from Watertown, with Company A, 139th BSB, and a full-time student, explained how a typical refueling operation works.
"When a vehicle pulls up for fuel, the first thing we do is ground the receiving vehicle to prevent electrical shocks," Jorgensen said. "We then have one fueler handling the hose from the tanker to the vehicle and another operating a fuel control lever that can cut off the flow of fuel to the hose in case something happens to the hose operator."
"We then record the gallons of fuel issued, the bumper number of the vehicle and the name of the unit receiving the fuel. The driver then signs for the fuel and drives off," he added.
According to Spc. Joe Landers from Watertown, also a fuel specialist with Company A, 139th BSB, unit members can refuel anything the Army has from five-gallon gas cans to aircraft.
"Our tankers can pump up to 300 gallons of fuel a minute. That's the same rate that a fire truck can pump with two people handling the hoses," said Landers.
"Over the next two weeks we're projecting to pump around 20,000 gallons of fuel at each FOB, and over 100,000 gallons just to keep all the vehicles, generators and stoves running throughout Golden Coyote," said Benthin.