News | Nov. 30, 2021

A fuel handler’s storied 42-year career

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

Chuck Allyson’s storied career in fuel has carried him from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; through Fort Lee and Fort Belvoir in Virginia; to Germany, South Korea, and Alaska. His final duty assignment landed him traveling throughout the northeast region of New England. 

After 21 years in the Army and another 21 years working as a civilian Defense Logistics Agency fuel quality assurance representative, it’s time to move on.

“I absolutely loved the job I did, and I loved being part of the DLA team,” Allyson said. “It was rewarding being a part of the military, the job always came first, 24/7 and 365 days a year.”

Allyson achieved many successes as an Army senior noncommissioned officer before his retirement in 2000. He was the Distinguished Graduate of the Petroleum & Water Specialist Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course; Instructor of the Year at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, Fort Lee, Virginia, in 1992, 1994, and 1995; and ultimately, Soldier of the Year at the Defense Contract Management Agency in 1998.

“My career in the Army was life changing to say the least,” Allyson said. “There are times in life that give you reflection and solace. Being a U.S. Army Soldier was one of those times. The professional and personal relationships I made along the way will never be forgotten.”

After retiring from the Army, Allyson joined the DLA team to serve as a QAR at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. While serving in Alaska, he worked for the Defense Contract Management Agency and DLA Energy’s predecessor organization, Defense Energy Support Center.  He transferred throughout the nation supporting the fuel quality mission with assignments at DLA Headquarters, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and finally in New England as part Americas East’s Quality Division in the Northeast Quality Group.

As a QAR, Allyson was recognized for his tireless work ethic, professionalism, dedication, and ability to tackle any task in an exceptional manner. In October, he was recognized by DLA Energy Quality Technical Division for his efforts revising the Petroleum Quality Assurance Course and the Petroleum Quality Assurance General Course. This recognition is just one of his 14 awards, step increases, and promotions that he’s earned since 2002.

“Chuck is not only a technically savvy professional, but a talented individual that simply gets it done,” said Clay Allen on the DLA Energy Americas East Quality Division Northeast Team. “He was not only a key team player, but he was relied on by all his contacts throughout the Agency as well as our supplier and customer partners alike.”

Allyson worked at DLA Energy headquarters from 2005 to 2013 providing support from a staff level position by writing policy and providing mission problem solving. 

“I loved working at the headquarters,” Allyson said. “QARs have this innate ability to solve problems.” 

One example of Allyson’s problem-solving skills occurred when he received a phone call from the U.S. Coast Guard fuel quality manager. It was February, and the Coast Guard cutters assigned to the Great Lakes were having problems with their bunker fuel. Their bunker fuel had turned to jelly.

“It turned out they had water in the bunker fuel and that was causing the diesel fuel to jell,” Allyson said. “When bunker fuel jells, it doesn’t flow through fuel lines creating engine problems and the ships can’t operate.” 

The enginemen tried to fix the problem by adding fuel additives, but it wasn’t working.

“As part of our customer support in solving the problem, I went out to Lake Superior and Lake Michigan to inspect the ships and their fuel,” Allyson said. “The crew didn’t know where the water was coming from. It turned out that the water was coming from condensation inside the tanks where the droplets of water dropping into the fuel tanks, creating microbiological growth due to temperature differential between the internal tanks and the lake water. It was really bad, the fuel looked like liquid moss.”

Trouble shooting fuel quality issues, Allyson continued to provide quality assurance and surveillance for petroleum products and fossil fuels for his New England and upstate New York customers during the 18 months of COVID-19 lockdown.

“When COVID hit, we couldn’t do anything initially, our travel to customers was limited,” he said. “My number one priority was to establish an excellent working relationship with my customers and my contractors, by helping them with questions and advice.”

“Mr. Allyson's vast breadth of experience, from in the field to up at headquarters, was vital in ensuring that the Americas East Quality Division completed its missions 24/7 in support of the Warfighter and other customers,” said DLA Energy Americas East Quality Division Manager Mike Van Dongen.

Facing retirement, Allyson had mixed emotions about leaving a job he loved.

“I will miss the customer interaction, contractor support and helping fellow QARs,” he said. “I will be available for coworkers if they need to call. Even though I will be retired, I just can’t take my head off, shake all the information out and put it back on. I just can’t delete the information I have from memory.” 

Charles Allyson received the Distinguished Civilian Service Award and a Gold Letter for his 21 years of federal service. 

Thank you, Mr. Allyson, for your service and dedication to supporting warfighters both near and far. Your efforts have always gone above and beyond for DLA Energy, and we will miss your experience and dedication to our organization.

If you’re interested in the DLA Energy quality mission, you can learn more in the stories linked below and on the DLA Energy Quality Technical Directorate’s website. If you want to learn more about DLA Energy quality assurance internship opportunities, go to the DLA Pathways to Career Excellence Program website.