Bulk fuel specialists learn vital skills during field training
CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Whether riding in motor vehicles and aircraft, or operating an array of heavy machinery, having the required fuel when and where it needs to be ensures readiness and mission accomplishment.
Marines with Bulk Fuel Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, executed a field training event to perfect the unique skills demanded of their profession March 24-28 at Landing Zones Hawk, Mallard and Falcon in the Central Training Area.
The battalion is with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Throughout the week, Marines gained valuable hands-on experience in a simulated deployed environment, according to Gunnery Sgt. Damian B. Sinanon, a bulk fuel specialist with the company.
“The purpose of this field exercise is to give our Marines the opportunity to operate in an austere environment,” said Sinanon. “This is the first exercise that we’ve executed at the CTA in several months, so it’s good to get our basically trained Marines’ feet wet in terms of handling the equipment, having basic familiarization with the equipment, troubleshooting some of the problems they may encounter, and how to negotiate some of those obstacles.”
The exercise scenario centered around Marines landing on a beach and establishing a forward operating base ashore, according to Cpl. Samuel J. Trigiano, a bulk fuel specialist with the company. The mission of the bulk fuel specialists was to receive fuel being pumped from a ship offshore, properly store the fuel, and distribute it as necessary.
“Our job is very important,” said Trigiano. “Without fuel, a lot of the military’s equipment doesn’t run. Our job is really the front-runner of completing any mission. We have to push the fuel out to vehicles and (aircraft) to complete the mission.”
Marines pump the fuel through the hose reel system via a 600-gallon-per-minute pump, according to Sinanon. The fuel is stored in 50,000-gallon bags that sit inside large berms constructed on site.
When building the berms, Marines push dirt using a crawler tractor to form a square wall around the fuel bag. Once they construct the berm, they position a large plastic sheet over the entire berm for added safety and environmental considerations.
The construction requires trial and error to get the berms the right size, so that the Marines are able to maneuver around the bag for work, according to Sinanon.
During the training, Marines also learned how a forward operating base is run, and trained in patrolling techniques and providing security, according to Cpl. Jhamie M. Moore, a bulk fuel specialist with the company.
“We are doing security as well,” said Moore. “As Marines, when we (deploy), we are our own security. We have to be self-sufficient. While running the FOB, we have to provide security for ourselves. The main thing for the training is to be combat ready.”
The exercise demonstrated the Marine Corps’ amphibious and expeditionary capabilities from sea, according to Sinanon. The ability to get fuel from offshore to troops on the ground is imperative.
“Marines in combat don’t have a whole lot of time (for resupply),” said Sinanon. “It’s very important that we have the capability to receive from offshore. When the day comes — (when) we get the call that we are needed for this exercise or this mission — we have to be ready.”