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News | July 25, 2017

Reserve Soldiers participate in vehicle refueling exercise at Joint Base MDL

By Tech. Sgt. Chris Powell Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

More than 100 Army Reserve Soldiers with the 947th and 716th Quartermaster Companies participated in a Quartermaster Liquid Logistic Exercise here July 14-28.

The Soldiers utilized Joint Base MDL’s vast training ranges to set up and operate a fuel system supply point, where they tested their capability to safely and efficiently receive incoming fuel trucks and download thousands of gallons fuel. Once the fuel was received, the Soldiers cleaned and recirculated it before refilling trucks awaiting resupply.

“This fuel would be used for any ground vehicle mission or an aircraft that would need fuel,” said Army Sgt. Benjamin Santa Maria, a petroleum supply specialist assigned to the 947th Quartermaster Company, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. “The fuel would need to be clean, and that’s why we’re doing this exercise – to make sure we know how to clean the fuel well.”

The QLLEX is a multicomponent operation that allows reserve units to conduct real-world petroleum and water purification support in a combat training environment.

Santa Maria has experience with real-world deployments when he deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division to Afghanistan. He understands the importance for young Soldiers to participate in exercises like QLLEX to prepare them for their mission of refueling ground vehicles and aircraft.

“You can teach a Soldier to do everything from a book, but it’s not going to be the same thing once you hit the ground,” he said. “This helps us to prepare physically and mentally for the challenges we’ll face if we ever get deployed.”

Santa Maria said he stresses the importance of Soldiers coming to QLLEX with an open mindset and being willing to learn.

“I make sure they know not to overestimate their skills, even if they take all the precautions necessary,” he said. “They need to be prepared for fuel to still be in those hoses, so when we come out here and do fuel, regardless of the mission, we do it carefully to ensure we’re not forgetting a step so we don’t spill any fuel on us or on the ground.”

Army Spc. Jennie Ruiz had never operated a functioning FSSP before participating in this year’s QLLEX, but she said the training has already made her more confident in case she’s ever tasked to deploy.

“It’s good hands-on training that tests our memory and ability to run an FSSP,” said Ruiz, 716th Quartermaster Company, Jersey City, New Jersey. “It helps the Soldiers who haven’t run an FSSP before to get the knowledge. We’ve gone over the whole FSSP process and to actually get to work on one here helps a lot.”

Over the course of the exercise, the Soldiers received, processed and uploaded more than 100,000 gallons of fuel, and thanks to that experience, Ruiz and her fellow Soldiers are better prepared to perform their mission of keeping the Army’s vehicles fueled for the fight.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst website.