It’s easy to forget about those people behind the scenes who ensure the show goes on flawlessly. They put in long hours, travel great distances at a time, sometimes do unattractive jobs, and are never seen by those who couldn’t perform their work without their efforts. It’s a thankless job, but most who choose it don’t do it for the glory.
In the U.S. Army Reserves, soldiers in support job fields are the blood running in the veins of the military body. They make it work. They process, package, and deliver cargo such as fuel and water, and ensure all other soldiers have every resource needed to complete the mission.
The soldiers of the 705th Transportation Company (Petroleum, Oil, Lubricant), assigned to the 475th Quartermaster Group during this year’s Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise, deliver a specific grade of fuel on request. They drive M915A5 line-haul tractor trucks filled with JP-8, the grade of petroleum that fuels nearly every tactical vehicle, all aircraft and even electrical generators — essentially all equipment the Army uses to successfully complete its vast mission.
Being specialized logistical soldiers; they train throughout the year with empty trucks and maintain their equipment. The nationwide QLLEX, conducted from June 1-17, provides them the only time to train with fuel in the truck trailers.
“[With an] empty trailer; you don’t have to stay as far back and your braking is different,” said Pfc. Christopher Barnhart, driver with the 705th. “You don’t have that much weight behind it pushing you forward when you stop,” he said. “You have to keep a better distance when you have all that fuel in there because of more weight … you have to push the brakes hard and you could lock the brakes up; or just slide into somebody, into the rear of their truck or another car.”
The unit is comprised of experienced leadership and many junior Soldiers who have never driven a full fuel truck. During QLLEX, they took turns driving the vehicles, and the experienced mentored and provided guidance to the younger soldiers.
During the two-week exercise, the unit received orders from various clients requesting a certain amount of JP-8. One of their first orders was received on June 7. The fuelers prepared their trucks and drove from Fort Eustis, Va., where they were located for the training, to the Yorktown Naval Fuel Depot to pick up the allotted amount of fuel.
At Yorktown, the team fueled up their four fuel tankers and began their nine-vehicle convoy with an assortment of tactical vehicles specializing in logistical deliveries. They diligently followed all security protocols and reached their destination at Fort Lee, Va., in just under three hours. Because the request came in late that day, they spent the night at Fort Lee, and planned to deliver the fuel first thing in the morning.
Logistical patrols such as these are incredibly common during deployments. Support units receive requests from various locations in a country for certain resources, and it’s their job to load up the supplies and deliver the product to the requestor. The missions range from a couple of hours to overnight. The realistic training provided by QLLEX equips these fuelers with the skills needed to be successful when deployed.
“The mission that we’re doing here is a good experience,” said Barnhart. “I’ve only hauled fuel a couple of times, so I guess I learn from it. It helps out a lot overseas I know.”
|Date Posted:||06.15.2011 13:36|
This work, Fuelers Keep the Tactical Vehicles Moving at the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise 2011, by SSG Shejal Pulivarti, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.