Indo-Pacific leaders manage largest geographical fuel region

By Connie Braesch

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Regional fuel deputy directors converged at Defense Logistics Agency to participate in the Commander’s Strategic Offsite, meet with the DLA Director, and attend the annual Joint Petroleum Seminar at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  

During their two-week visit, Indo-Pacific leaders shared personal experiences about supporting DLA Energy’s largest geographical fuel region.

“It’s important to have a forward presence to provide the greatest Warfighter support possible,” said Chris Boeding, DLA Energy Japan deputy director stationed at Yokota Air Base. “We support U.S. Forces Japan and oversee the inventory and quality surveillance of more than $1.8 billion petroleum and cryogenic products to 16 defense fuel support points and 158 locations throughout Japan.”

There are eight DLA Energy regional command offices geographically located in the United States and around the world. Five offices support the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and foreign countries in the Eastern Pacific theater region. The Indo-Pacific has offices in Guam, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, and Okinawa to project and sustain joint bulk petroleum operations for the combatant commanders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

DLA Energy Korea, located at Camp Walker, Dageu, South Korea, provides bulk petroleum supply, distribution and quality management for U.S. Forces in the Republic of Korea during armistice and contingency operations.

“We are the voice of DLA Energy to our Warfighting customers throughout the Korean peninsula,” said Adam Shirriff, DLA Energy Korea deputy director and a retired 25-year Air Force logistician. “We work with our Korean partners to exercise fuel exchange agreements when requirements arise.”

Located on Kadena Air Base in the ”Keystone of the Pacific,” Kirk Moats is the DLA Energy Okinawa deputy director who joined DLA after retiring from 22-year Air Force Fuels Operations and Fuel System Maintenance career.

“We support the Warfighter with fuel, exercise support and are the problem solvers for the Military Sealift Command and other customers for the Okinawa region,” Moats said. “Kadena is the largest and most active U.S. Air Force base in the Far East. We are in a critical strategic location supporting military bases and training sites.” 

Across the Pacific Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, Ralph Wells bring a wealth of experience as the DLA Energy Indo-Pacific deputy director. Previously, as an active duty Army lieutenant colonel, Wells served as DLA Energy Middle East commander and upon retirement became the DLA Energy Korea deputy director. 

“Within the Eastern Pacific theater area of operations, I advise the DLA Energy regional commander on the integration of optimal energy solutions in support of Warfighter,” Wells said. “I maintain a holistic view on the fuel supply chain including working with Services Executive Agents on sustainment, restoration and maintenance projects.”

As the face of DLA Energy, regional commands support expeditionary military and civilian employees during international exercises, conduct fuel quality inspections, maintain fuel support points and provide contracting support. 

“When you’re managing 124 people throughout the Okinawa area, anything can and usually happens in a workday to throw you a curveball,” Moats said. “As the deputy, I work to set the expectations and get everyone to pull in the same direction. I am here to take care of the workforce and solve problems.”

A thousand miles east of Okinawa across the Philippine Sea, DLA Energy South-West Pacific is located on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The most important U.S. air base west of Hawaii, Anderson AFB is the only one in the Western Pacific that can permanently base U.S. heavy strategic bombers. It has the most geographically dispersed region with seven Defense Fuel Support Points holding over 350 million gallons of petroleum stocks at Diego Garcia, Singapore, the Philippines and Guam. Its purpose is to position bulk petroleum stocks closer to areas of strategic importance and enable closer ties to the combatant commander. 

Victor Madaris, DLA Energy South-West Pacific deputy director, relies on his 24 years of Army petroleum experience to lead a dispersed 23 member team. 

“I identify capability gaps and coordinate with DLA Energy headquarters and other regions as necessary to provide customer support,” Madaris said. “My primary focus is to help employees perform their assigned tasks and responsibilities, as well as facilitate employee professional development.” 

Years of military experience, refined decision-making abilities and unwavering employee engagement are the key qualities of DLA Energy regional deputy directors. Regardless of location, they are at the tip of the spear ensuring Warfighters have the fuel needed to meet global mission requirements.