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NEWS | July 16, 2023

QLLEX: Bridging the Gap Between Training and Real-World Missions

By Major William Wratee 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command

The Army Reserve logistics community has showcased its progress, skills, and people for nearly four decades at the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX). The exercise brings together fuelers, water purification specialists, transporters, coordinators, and field service supporters, allowing them to assess their capabilities during real-world training.

Brig. Gen. Tomika Seaberry, the commanding general of the 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and QLLEX 2023 Deputy Exercise Commander, highlighted several key benefits of the exercise. "The readiness of bulk fuel enables larger operational capabilities for our forces at home and abroad," stated Seaberry. "QLLEX also emphasizes the significant role that our Army Reserve Soldiers play in sustaining and enabling the fight. This level of operational planning leads to theater-level planning and, ultimately, operational success."

What distinguishes QLLEX from conventional training exercises is the realistic requirements that replicate the challenges and conditions of real-world missions. Participants from the active component, reserve component, and National Guard test their equipment and skills by transporting fuel from the Defense Logistics Agency locations to other Department of Defense customers. Unlike simulated exercises, the fuel transported and services provided during QLLEX are real. This year, approximately 2,500 participants successfully delivered over 1.9 million gallons of fuel.

The exercise involves various roles and specialties. Petroleum supply specialists are responsible for dispensing fuel to vehicles operated by motor transport operators. These operators safely transport the fuel in convoys that are planned and supervised by transportation management coordinators. In addition, shower and laundry specialists provide essential services to personnel, utilizing water purified by water treatment specialists.

Initially known as the Petroleum Oil and Lubricant Exercise (POLEX), the primary mission was bulk petroleum distribution for DLA-Energy. QLLEX rebranded itself in 2004 to reflect an expanded scope that included other disciplines within the sustainment community. This broader focus has increased its influence within the logistics community, resulting in better-trained soldiers prepared for the demands of large-scale combat operations.

QLLEX 2023 took place simultaneously at various locations across the country, including Fort Barfoot, Fort Dix, Fort Jackson, Fort Cavazos, Camp Blanding, Camp Pendleton, and the exercise's headquarters at Camp Atterbury in Indiana.

Maj. Lisa Reasons, Support Operations Officer for the 77th Quartermaster Group (El Paso, TX), was the lead planner for QLLEX 2023. Maj. Reasons emphasized the significance of fuel and water in military operations: "Fuel is essential for powering military vehicles, aircraft, and generators, while water is critical for hydration and hygiene. We want our soldiers at each site, at every level, to recognize that mission success depends on their ability to reliably deliver resources to our customers at the right time, in the right place, and to the right specifications."

QLLEX bridges training and real-world missions, offering Army Reserve soldiers the opportunity to hone their skills in a realistic and demanding environment. The success of QLLEX 2023 and the lessons learned will continue to shape the logistics community and contribute to the overall readiness of the Army Reserve.