News | June 20, 2019

Operation Hydrocarbon Fuels the Lines of Cooperation

By Sgt. Alejandro Smith-Antuna Indiana National Guard

Airmen and soldiers from the Indiana National Guard participated in Operation Hydrocarbon, a five-day course with the Nigerien Army and Air Force in Niamey, Niger June 10-14.

The team provided a general overview of preventative maintenance, fuel testing and safety, report forms, general inspections, data collection, excel basics, utilizing forms for analysis and overall SOPs.

“This course works as a really broad overview,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tracy M. Batten, a supervisory equipment specialist. “[We show] how we do everything and [how] some things may be able to be implemented. [Niger] doesn’t have the foundation to take everything we have and use it as is so they must incorporate what fits [within their capabilities].”

The hydrocarbon operation applied an exchange of tactics, procedures, and techniques to the logistics and fueling of a military force. Exposing Niger Armed Force personnel to concepts and procedures enhances their capacity to provide and sustain fuel services to their operational military forces.

“Aside from fuel handing, we look at fuel as more of a whole process,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason W. Helmsing, a supervisory surface maintenance specialist. “So, we take a maintenance approach first to build them up for the fuel operations.”

“There have been many new things that I realize were big dangers we can now prevent,” Nigerien Master Sgt. Boubacar Moussa Mahamane said. “Some of the things we have been currently doing were a large risk to our soldiers.”

After completing the classroom teaching, the Indiana Guardsmen conducted site visits of the Nigerien ground fueling stations at Camp Badage in Niamey and later the air fueling station at US Air Base 101. While there, the guardsmen conducted small group training on ways to improve the efficacy and safety of the sites.

“It has been amazing to have the Indiana people here,” Nigerien Chief Warrant Officer Soumayla Diagouga said. “We saw a lot of good things during our visit to the states and have been excited to learn more about what we can implement. We hope for the continued cooperation of going back and forth and learning from each other.”

Through the state partnership program, soldiers and airmen engage in a broad range of missions, such as Operation Hydrocarbon, to advance peace and security, spur economic growth, and enhance military interoperability.

In the words of Nigerien Lt. Col. Kadogo Mohammed, director of hydrocarbon operation in the NAF, “It is in a building period; the cooperation between our countries’ militaries.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Indiana National Guard website.