BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
An excess military tanker truck repurposed by the Nebraska Forest Service for firefighting was recently pressed into service as an ethanol hauler for hand sanitizer being used by emergency managers and public schools.
The truck, capable of carrying 5,000 gallons of water, was used to transport ethanol between hand sanitizer production facilities in the state. It was turned in to Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services as excess but found a second life through the Defense Department’s Firefighter Property Program, which shares surplus military gear with the U.S. Forest Service.
The tanker was originally part of the Nebraska Forest Service’s Big Water program, which includes four other former military tankers that are shared among fire departments for local and state-level response, said Lewis Sieber, Nebraska Forest Service’s equipment manager.
Sieber drove the tanker to a facility 45 miles away where the ethanol is loaded and transported 200,000 gallons back to Lincoln, where it’s being used to create hand sanitizer. He also delivered 80,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to public schools.
The tanker will remain configured to haul ethanol until early 2021 but can also be used to support firefighting if needed, Sieber added.