Fuel storage facility tours and a ribbon cutting ceremony highlighted Defense Logistics Agency Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas’ command familiarization tour to Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam, April 25-May 5.
In his first official travel since taking command last June, Canlas hosted town halls at all three locations to meet and learn about his regional employees.
“There is no better way to learn about an organization than by being there in person and talking to the subject matter experts,” Canlas said.
His first stop was Anchorage, Alaska, home of DLA Energy Americas North commanded by Air Force Maj. Marcus McWilliams. Canlas presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, petroleum and oil operations facility, April 26. The $11.5 million fiscal year 2019 military construction project provides a new fuel laboratory, office and administrative space, training rooms and 35,000 square feet of covered refueler parking.
“This was a great opportunity to showcase the incredible work being done by the DLA Energy employees here in Alaska,” McWilliams said. “We’re proud to support several strategic military sites as well as a huge federal civilian population in the state. DLA Energy is active here making sure construction and repair projects are funded and executed on behalf of the services under the sustainment, restoration and modernization programs and military construction programs.”
The new facility’s location eliminates a 24-mile round trip to refuel aircraft and the laboratory replaces the current facility, which is over 60 years old.
Canlas recognized DLA Energy Facility Support Engineer Jill Chouinard with a command coin for her efforts in ensuring a smoothly run project. Chouinard provides engineering and project management oversight for DLA Energy SRM and MILCON projects for Alaska.
Leaving the 49th state, Canlas flew to the 50th state for a familiarization tour of DLA Energy Indo-Pacific, led by Navy Cmdr. Eric Lockett. Forward-positioned in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, DLA Energy Indo-Pacific is responsible for providing energy and fuel to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Eastern Pacific Theater region.
Office visits and mission briefs helped Canlas learn more about the region’s specific challenges and better understand the combatant commanders’ specific energy concerns. During his visit, Canlas met with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Deputy Commander Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Minihan and Army Brig. Gen. Jared Helwig, He also met with Naval Surface Group Mid-Pacific Commander Navy Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick II.
On his final stop, he visited the island territory of Guam, home to DLA Energy South-West Pacific commanded by Navy Cmdr. Angela Watson. Strategically located in the Western Pacific, DLA Energy South-West Pacific’s mission is to position bulk petroleum stocks closer to areas of strategic importance and enable closer ties to the Warfighter. The regional office is the most geographically dispersed with seven Defense Fuel Support Points holding over 350 million gallons of petroleum stocks at Diego Garcia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Guam.
Fuel infrastructure plays a strategic role in supporting operations in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command theater of operations. One of Canlas’ goals was to familiarize himself with the DLA Energy Recurring Maintenance and Minor Repair program on Guam.
Canlas visited the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas and toured the Tri Star Commercial Fuel facility, followed by a tour of Defense Fuel Support Point Guam. He met with Joint Region Marianas Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Menoni and the 36th Wing Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeremy Sloane.
The highlight of Canlas’ visit was a Town Hall stretching across the Pacific. The team opened the Town Hall to all personnel that side of the International Dateline.
“We not only had personnel from the South-West Pacific team (Guam, Singapore and Australia), but also from Japan, Korea, and Okinawa on the line,” Watson said. “It was great for Energy’s Pacific workforce to receive insights direct from Brig. Gen. Canlas on his trip and to hear the latest news and initiatives coming out of Energy Headquarters. The collective team was extremely appreciative of the discussion and look forward to more Energy leadership visiting other Pacific sites when COVID travel restrictions relax.”
After the Town Hall, Canlas presented a coin to Army Master Sgt. Allan Hunter, DLA Energy South-West Pacific’s operations non-commission officer, for his outstanding support to the region.
For the DLA Energy Commander, meeting and talking to his employees was the highlight of the 11-day trip.
“This was the first opportunity I had to accomplish battlefield circulation,” Canlas said. “I’ve been nothing but impressed by our teams in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam—all world-class professionals supporting the Warfighter Always!”
The DLA Energy Commander will return to Hawaii in June to be the DLA’s Exercise Director for Pacific Sentry 21. A visit to Texas for DLA Energy Americas and Aerospace is planned the fall, as well as travel to DLA Energy Europe & Africa and Middle East once COVID restrictions allow.