Defense Logistics Agency Energy Europe & Africa sent Air Force Capt. Keyanna Spears and Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott Tejada to France to represent DLA Energy for the annual officer exchange program with the French Le Service des Essences des Armées March 31 through April 12.
The two-week program is designed to better understand the capabilities of the French SEA and the departments within their organization through briefings and hands-on site visits of depots, air and naval bases and training grounds.
“Being a part of the officer exchange program has been one of the most personally and professionally enhancing experiences in my 18 years of service,” Tejada said. “I am thankful that I was trusted with the opportunity and truly grateful that I was chosen to be a part of DLA Energy Europe & Africa’s history as the first senior noncommissioned officer in charge to participate in it.”
SEA is an inter-service branch of the French Army and is directly responsible for supporting all French forces with fuel including the execution, training and planning for future operations.
“The critical knowledge allows us to communicate directly with decision makers and leverage their capabilities in areas of the world where they have a significant advantage through experience and positioning and are capable of assisting the U.S.,” Tejada said.
The visit included a tour of the pipeline operations of the Central European Pipeline System that provides fuel to six nations. They also received a mission brief from the French SEA Service National des Oleoducs Interallies. They saw first-hand research and development centers, laboratories, aviation and tactical units.
“It was impressive to learn about their tactical expertise and experiences working in the demanding African theater of operation and how they coped with the issues in that area of operations,” he added.
During the visit, we also saw active refueling operations of a French attack helicopter, the Tigre, and discussed strategic future projects in their AOR that will enhance current capabilities to a greater extent allowing the French SEA to have an even greater operational reach in any theater, Tejada explained.
“The SEA exchange was an enlightening experience that expanded my knowledge on global fuel operations through the lens of the French,” Spears said. “The French SEA is a well-oiled machine and seeing how their capabilities support French and NATO troops was certainly an astonishing event.”
SEA is the French Ministry of Defense equivalent to DLA Energy. The agency values the exchange program as an essential contribution in its strategy to build stronger global partnerships.