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NEWS | June 6, 2016

U.S. Army Reserve Quartermasters fuel the force at Exercise Anakonda 2016

By Timothy Hale U.S. Army Reserve Command

DRAWSKO POMORSKIE TRAINING AREA, Poland – For the past two weeks fuel tankers, loaded with the life-blood for any piece of military equipment that moves on the ground, have been heading out to local training sites as the final stages of Exercise Anakonda 2016 were put into place this week.

Exercise Anakonda 2016, a Polish-led, multinational exercise running from June 7-17,  involves approximately 25,000 participants from more than 20 nations and is a premier training event for U.S. Army Europe.

Approximately 1,000 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers are part of nearly 12,000 American troops from the active Army and National Guard participating in Exercise Anakonda 2016.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 716th Quartermaster Company, based in Jersey City, New Jersey, have been fueling the force at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area with military-grade JP-8 gas at a 150,000-gallon bulk fuel farm.

Capt. LaTrecia Parker, commander of the 716th Quartermaster Company from Jersey City, New Jersey said being a part of Anakonda 16 is one of the best experiences for her unit.

"We are providing fuel to units at DPTA (Drawsko Pormorskie Training Area) in bulk and retail support. Bulk, being the fuel farm here for the tanker trucks, and retail where Soldiers can pull up and fill gas cans and smaller military vehicles like you would at a regular gas station," Parker said.

While there is another bulk fuel farm run by the 240th Quartermaster Company, an active unit near Torun to the south, the 716th is the first U.S. Army Reserve unit to set up and maintain a bulk fuel farm in Poland.

"I didn't realize we were the first (U.S. Army Reserve unit) until we got here. Then it resonated with me that we have an amazing opportunity to showcase our unit and what the U.S. Army Reserve is all about," the Leavenworth, Kansas native said. "We have the capabilities to do the same tasks that an active Army petroleum unit can - we're just doing it in a different location during Exercise Anakonda 2016."

Parker said many of the 716th Soldiers are on their first exercise, with some having recently graduated from the Petroleum Supply Specialist course at Fort Lee, Va.

Spc. Sudine White, from Westmoreland, Jamaica, joined the unit after graduating from the course in February. She said being a part of Exercise Anakonda 2016 is very different compared to the school environment.

"I actually get to see the system in action in a real-world exercise and I've learned a lot from the other Soldiers in the unit," said White. "It was actually a private that showed me how the system works and now I'm showing others. Teamwork makes a dream work."

Exercise Anakonda 2016 further enhances individual and unit readiness to meet the operational needs of the Army's Total Force and the Soldiers of the 716th have taken advantage of the opportunity.

Parker said her unit conducted three Soldier Readiness Checks to include medical, dental, legal, and administration as well as practicing setting up a fuel farm at Fort Dix, New Jersey - minus the fuel in the bags.

"We laid flat bags down there (at Fort Dix) filled with water but nothing beats having fuel in the bags - they look and feel different," Parker said. "Everybody got hands-on training in fuel, maintenance, driver's training, and even setting up tents. We tried to think of everything we could possibly encounter out here. The preparation was worth it."

Staff Sgt. Richard DeJesus, is the assistant noncommissioned officer in charge of fuel distribution for the 716th, said all their training throughout the year has led them to this point.

"When it comes to exercises like this, we put all that training into practical use," said DeJesus, a Kearney, New Jersey native. "Having the Soldiers put their hands on the equipment and distributing the fuel the way it's supposed to be done as a team. The whole cohesion of it to see how it all flows and the training the training has worked out perfectly."
Col. Phil Brooks, commander of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3d Infantry Division, from Fort Stewart, Georgia, is very pleased with the support the 716th is providing his armored unit.

"As an armored brigade combat team, logistics is the center of gravity," said Brooks, a Fayetteville, Tennessee native. "The Army Reserve and National Guard units from throughout the United States are vital to sustain an armored brigade combat team. The 716th is such an enabler here with bulk fuel. There have been no issues with fuel and the units continue to train."

Brooks echoed the assessment of Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commanding general, of the need for the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard in Europe.

"We continue to require multi-component units to sustain our armored brigade combat team," Brooks said. "It is logistics heavy and we do require a lot of fuel and food that is not often organic to a brigade support battalion."

Brooks added that Exercise Anakonda 16 is a prime example of the importance of the Army's Total Force concept.

"This is exactly what the Chief of Staff of the Army (Gen. Mark Milley) envisioned," Brooks said. "We've got multi-component units in one environment. This is the way we will fight and win our nation's wars in the future and it takes a total Army.

For more information about Exercise Anakonda 2016, please visit the following social media links:
Twitter - @DowOperSZ
You can also search the following hashtags: #Anakonda16 #Anakonda #Road2Anakonda