News | July 24, 2019

Fired up

By Connie Braesch DLA Energy Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Energy Americas at San Pedro logisticians deployed mitigation strategies to minimize Warfighter service disruption when a fire shut down a strategic defense fuel support point in Carson, California, June 5.

Exercise Ardent Sentry had just started when DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro was notified of a serious fire involving two commercial tank trucks at the contractor owned and operated Kinder Morgan Energy Partners DFSP terminal. The two tank trucks were destroyed, the terminal was evacuated, and one commercial tank truck driver was injured.

“DFSP Carson is a key link in supplying multiple jet fuel supply chains emanating from the Los Angeles basin and any prolonged outage would result in mission failures for military and government customers throughout the West Coast,” said DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro Deputy Director Tracy Keenan. “KMEP estimated it might take up to 45 days before full functionality could be restored at DPSP Carson.”

The DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro team immediately began implementing a plan to minimize service disruption to customers who rely on the fire-damaged jet fuel tank truck loading rack. The team used five different supply chains to make up for the DFSP Carson loss.

“The actions we took were totally transparent to our customers,” said DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro Distribution Manager Bowdoin Swenson. “The majority of our end users didn’t even know anything was out of the ordinary.”

First, the team increased pipeline batch sizes to Edwards Air Force Base, California, to support the increase in volume that would be lifted from the base and delivered to customers. They then coordinated with the California and Nevada Army National Guards to lift jet fuel from March Air Reserve Base, California, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to support National Training Center Fort Irwin’s participation in Ardent Sentry.

“The real-world requirement provided a mutually beneficial opportunity to not only exercise wartime mission essential tasks but also provide alternative suitable fuel sources,” Keenan said. “Our relationship and collaboration with our Service Component partners proved beneficial when DLA Energy had an urgent real-world requirement.”

The DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro team began identifying a solution for commercial tank trucks to lift jet fuel for customers from March ARB, a site used by military tank trucks. This option depended on the team identifying and obtaining a commercial-to-military coupler/adapter.

Within three days, DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro Quality Assurance Representatives Joseph LaRose and David Gladden fabricated and delivered three adapters to March ARB for a trial test loading of commercial carriers from a military bulk fuel facility.

“We were able to obtain the adapter components, at no cost to the government, from surplus parts at the defunct DFSP San Pedro and Army supply personnel at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos,” LaRose said. “The adapters performed flawlessly in loading two CAL FREEDOM commercial trucks from the March ARB loading facility for product delivered to a DLA customer at Naval Air Station Point Mugu. We now have a solution to ensure uninterrupted fuel support to DLA customers by loading fuel on commercial carriers at any military installation.”

The team also worked with DLA Energy headquarters to explore lifting fuel from Tesoro and Epic at the Long Beach Airport, California. The airport had the necessary additive injection system to convert commercial fuel into military specification fuel if needed, Keenan said.

“We were in constant contact with our region and vendor over the immediate need for fuel to cover the DFSP Carson loss,” said DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum Products Division Chief Callie Lake. “Last year, we conducted outreach with multiple suppliers in the West Coast region, including Tesoro. As soon as we heard the news of the fire, we were able to rely on that supplier relationship to work out the best win-win scenario.”

At the request of the DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro team, KMEP re-activated the closed jet fuel tank truck rack at the KMEP Barstow, California, to lessen the load on Edwards AFB.

“I’m really proud of how our team responded to this adversity,” said DLA Energy Americas at San Pedro Commander Navy Cmdr. Michael Wilson. “When the loss of a major capability threatened several supply chains, our team developed and implemented multiple replacement supply chains literally within hours of the fire.”

Between all courses of action, a total of 265 tank trucks were loaded with more than two million gallons of jet fuel and delivered to DLA customers between June 5-27 when DFSP Carson was partially reopened.

“It’s nothing short of remarkable what the team achieved in so little time after losing such a major capability,” said DLA Energy Americas Commander Army Col. Kevin Cotman. “Overall, the teamwork, inventiveness and innovation displayed was truly amazing. All the while, they continued to participate in Ardent Sentry and their Continuity of Operations Exercise without skipping a beat.”