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News | Sept. 1, 2017

DLA Energy team fuels Hurricane Harvey rescue, relief efforts

By Ronald Inman, DLA Energy Public Affairs

DLA Energy Americas and Task Force Americas are providing fuel and energy support to recovery efforts in southeast Texas following Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

As of Aug. 31, DLA Energy had delivered 11 generators to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and 100,000 gallons of gasoline and 493,000 gallons of diesel fuel to Fort Hood and FEMA’s incident support base in Seguin, Texas. TFA also staged 160 fuel trucks filled with diesel fuel and gasoline at Hood Army Airfield as a FEMA fuel staging area in support of disaster relief.

“From a DLA Energy perspective, the rescue/relief efforts in southeast Texas have gone exceptionally well,” said DLA Energy Americas Commander Army Col. Craig Simonsgaard. “(DLA Energy Americas East at Houston Commander) Lt. Col. (Josielyn) Carrasquillo and the TFA team that she leads deployed to Fort Hood on Friday before the storm hit Texas and set the conditions for the arrival of Foster Fuels, FEMA’s contingency fuels contractor.

“TFA has been proactive and aggressive in getting fuel missions pushed out of Fort Hood and into the affected areas to provide ground fuel support to first responders,” Simonsgaard said. “Foster Fuels are true professionals and handle every mission thrown their way with a ‘Warfighter First’ mentality.”

Simonsgaard also recognized the rest of the Americas East team.

“Americas East sent their deputy director, Tracy Keenan, to lead their Emergency Relocation Group to Fort Hood and those nine people have been handling all the short notice – really, no-notice – fuel missions that DLA is expected to perform under difficult circumstances,” Simonsgaard said. “Our normal jet fuel provider in Houston was offline, so in less than 24 hours, the ERG coordinated commercial trucks to pick up jet fuel at Dyess Air Force Base, move it to the outskirts of Houston, link those trucks up with local law enforcement and get the fuel to Ellington Field in the heart of a devastated Houston.”

He explained that Ellington Field is the main hub for U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) operations in Houston.

“SAR is still U.S. Northern Command’s highest priority and, as you can see in the news, helicopters are working around the clock pulling people off the roofs of houses,” he said. “I just saw video of a woman holding a tiny baby being hoisted in a small basket up into a Coast Guard helicopter ... unbelievable. That fuel mission ensured that those helicopters kept flying the next day to save more people.

“I am exceptionally proud of Americas East and TFA,” Simonsgaard said. “They have been proactive, agile and responsive while also maintaining very high morale while separated from their families and wondering about the status of their homes back in Houston.”