Nov. 20, 2019 —
A U.S. Army Quartermaster Hall of Fame member credited for the successful management of fuel operations during Desert Shield and Desert Storm was inducted into the Defense Logistics Agency Energy Hall of Fame, Nov. 13.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Gregory D. Gibbons was the commander of the Defense Fuel Region Middle East, Bahrain, from 1988 to 1991 where he orchestrated mission essential petroleum products in support of the deployment of more than 500,000 personnel, 1,300 aircraft, 100 capital ships, and tens of thousands of armor, artillery, and tactical vehicles.
“This is really a very happy day for me, and I am honored to receive this recognition,” Gibbons said in his acceptance speech. “It’s a great honor for me to be given the accolade for the execution of the Middle East mission during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.”
Gibbons said he often felt like a quarterback as he executed what he called one of his most challenging assignments.
“If things were going downhill, I knew I’d get the blame. But if they were successful, I’d get to accept an honor like this on behalf of the whole team,” he said.
The significance of the work Gibbons performed during this time didn’t end with the secured fuel for the buildup of forces. His work went further.
Army Maj. Gen. James Ray credited Gibbons for negotiating a Host Nation Support Agreement for cost-free fuel program with Saudi Arabia. In a letter, Ray praised Gibbons’ insight into U.S. requirements and understanding of the Saudi’s capability leading to a plan for U.S. Forces to obtain cost-free fuel and a one-time payment of $760 million to the U.S. Treasury.
Ambassador to Bahrain from 1989 to1993, Charles W. Hostler, stated in a letter, “what a magnificent job that Greg and his office have done in keeping the U.S. military in this part of the world adequately supplied with fuels, particularly during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Our great victory in deterring further Iraqi aggression and in liberating Kuwait would not have been possible were it not for the skills and dedication of the augmented team that Lt. Col. Gibbons so ably led.”
Current DLA employees recalled their service with Gibbons.
Rob Lias, business process analyst for DLA Energy Business Process Support Directorate, knew Gibbons when he was a newly promoted colonel taking the reins of the only brigade level petroleum formation in the active U.S. Army.
“The selection of Col. Gibbons was putting the right man at the right time into the right position,” Lias said. “The entire Department of Defense was made stronger when Col. Gibbons was handed the colors and officially added the Petroleum Group into the Army’s force structure ensuring theater level petroleum distribution would never limit a maneuver commander’s ability to fight.”
Keith Sylvia, deputy director of DLA Energy Supplier Operations Supply Chain Management, recalled meeting Gibbons when both were active duty in Japan.
“During an hour-long drive, I briefed Col. Gibbons on our unit, mission and other issues of the day,” Sylvia explained. “He, the Army’s most senior petroleum officer, actively participated, asked me questions and left me with a very positive impression of a senior Army petroleum logistician.”
Sylvia said the experience contributed to his decision to seek successive Army – and later DLA – petroleum assignments.
Gibbons retired from the Army with 27 years of service in 1997.
Energy’s Hall of Fame was established in 2016 to honor and preserve the memory of past associates for their exceptional leadership, service, dedication to duty, and contributions in supplying fuel to the Warfighter.