FORT PICKETT, Va. –
Instructors from the 80th Training Command (The Army School System) led approximately 50 Soldiers from the 1018th Quartermaster Company out of Schenectady, New York, through the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX) at Fort Pickett, Virginia, which ran from June 12 through June 26, 2022.
The two-week exercise allowed petroleum supply specialists — Soldiers with the 92F military occupational specialty (MOS) — to get hands-on training with equipment they would use while deployed.
During the QLLEX, Soldiers trained by operating the Inland Petroleum Distribution System, or IPDS, which is a bulk fuel storage and pipeline system designed to move massive amounts of fuel forward in a theater of operations.
While these fuel specialists would normally be transporting petroleum in real-world scenarios, for training purposes and environmental considerations, Soldiers pushed 24 gallons of water pulled from a nearby lake through the 20 miles of pipeline.
Pfc. Anthony Davis with the 1018th has been in the Army Reserve for two years, and this was his first annual training. “I wish we were able to do this mission or other trainings like this more often,” said Davis.
He felt this training allowed him to revisit things he has previously learned during his Advanced Individual Training (AIT). “It was a much slower pace than AIT. When I was in AIT, everything was rushed, but here the instructors take their time and make sure we understand what we are doing and why.”
Davis added that the instructors were very knowledgeable and really went in-depth with their instructions. He particularly enjoyed the manual labor involved with being a 92F.
Sgt. James Tucker from the 1018th appreciated the way the instructors presented the information to the Soldiers involved in the exercise.
“They made a game out of it,” said Tucker. “It wasn’t just death by PowerPoint, we were able to be active during instructions, which allowed me to bring out my competitive side.”
Tucker felt it was important for U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to attend missions like the QLLEX so they can refamiliarize themselves with aspects of their MOS they can’t complete at their units.
Contractors like Bernie Howard, the Joint Training Exercise Manager, used his years of experience to make the Soldiers’ training successful.
“It’s what I love to do,” said Howard. “I hope to do this for 15 more years.” He added that training these Soldiers and working with his hands is why he comes to work every day. Howard retired from the Army after 20 years of service as a 92F and has been a contractor for 16 years.
“Our contractors keep this mission going,” said 1LT Larissa von Nyssen, the Liquid Logistics Program Manager for the 80th Training Command. “With 92F being such a small career field, we don’t have the instructors needed to keep our Reserve Soldiers trained.”
Reserve Soldiers received classes and training at Fort Pickett prior to the QLLEX so they could execute what they learned during the exercise itself while instructors oversaw the training, ensuring Soldiers operated the equipment the right way. They also provided feedback following each stage of the exercise.
“I was really excited to be a part of QLLEX and see the Soldiers that came out for the classes actually perform the exercise, it is why we do what we do,” said von Nyssen.