Army Reserve Fuelers deliver the ‘juice’ across North Carolina

By Story by Master Sgt. D. Keith Johnson | 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | July 14, 2015

June 16, 2015 — FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Approximately 1,100 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from 18 states participated in the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise conducted at Forward Operating Base Patriot on Fort Bragg, N.C. They came from as far away as Michigan and Puerto Rico and as near as North Carolina to haul fuel for the Defense Logistics Agency. They were also there to purify and distribute water, cook for the troops, clean laundry, provide field showers and other tasks necessary to complete the mission.

“Even though we are from different commands, we came together as a team,” said Lt. Col. Chris Briand, the 334th Quartermaster Battalion commander. Briand is also the mission commander for the Fort Bragg exercise.

Six truck companies arrived with 7500 and 5000 gallon tankers ready to perform their mission. And they were ready. Of the 109 tankers inspected by the Defense Logistics Agency inspectors, 101 were certified to haul fuel.

“A lot of the issues in the past have been with the tankers passing certification,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Braddock, the DLA military liaison. “This year they had everything taken care of from the start.”

“Failure was not an option for us,” said Briand. “This was a real world mission, real defense fuel with real defense customers.”

The QLLEX mission is for US Army Reserve quartermaster units to spend their annual training delivering fuel from a Defense Fuel Supply Point to DLA customers. The North Carolina DFSP is in Selma. They provided fuel to three U.S. Marine Corps bases, two U.S. Army bases and two U.S. Air Force bases, traveling as far as 123 miles or as close as FOB Patriot.

And deliver they did. The QLLEX is being conducted at six locations across the country. According to Briand, the fuelers at Fort Bragg have delivered 60 percent of the total fuel delivered.

“The Army Reserve has done outstanding this year,” added Braddock. “They’re actually breaking records at DFSP Selma. They pushed more than 1.3 million gallons in four days.”

The 334th moved a total of 1.97 million gallons of fuel during QLLEX.

“Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base has a lot of flights,” said Braddock. “If they couldn’t have moved that fuel, the planes wouldn’t have been able to fly. And if they can’t fly, they can’t really defend our nation.”

QLLEX is part of a larger nation-wide exercise. Approximately 12,000 service members from the U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, along with British and Canadian forces conducted Global Lightning. Held from June 6 to June 26, Global Lightning is one of the largest combat service and service support training exercises in the U.S. Army Reserve’s history.

“We’ve organized an opportunity of this scale to mirror the realities of real-world operational environments,” said Brig. Gen. Bruce Hackett, division commander of the 78th Training Division. “We’re looking forward to enhancing our readiness by sharing knowledge with our sister services and international partners.”

“QLLEX was rolled up under Global Lightning to give us more tactical play here on Forward Operating Base Patriot,” said Briand. “Every Soldier here is doing what they would do in a wartime mission”

The FOB was completely self-contained. Every drop of water consumed on the FOB was produced here from Mott Lake. Reverse osmosis water purification units, tactical water purification units and the tactical water distribution system purified the lake water and pumped it through water lines. A laundry and bath unit set up shower tents and laundry facilities. More than 23,000 pounds of laundry was cleaned and more than 6,300 showers were provided, in addition to clean water for cooking and drinking.

“Morale has been very high. We had hot showers and laundry since before the exercise started,” said Briand. “We had hot meals twice a day, and it was pretty good food.”

QLLEX and its predecessor, POLEX, have been around for 35 years. The success of the Quartermaster Soldiers providing fuel and water missions during wartime can be attributed to what those Soldiers were able to train on in places like Fort Bragg.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with and leverage so many MOSs,” said Briand. “This is my first opportunity as a battalion commander. Being able to touch every single piece of it has been extremely rewarding. This has been one of the best exercises in my 20-year career. Proud to serve with these guys.”