Army Reserve fuelers support DLA Energy during nationwide exercise

By Army Master Sgt. D. Keith Johnson 316th Sustainment Command

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Army Reserve Soldiers from 18 states participated in the Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise June 7-20. About 1,100 Soldiers came from as far away as Michigan and Puerto Rico and as near as North Carolina to haul fuel for the Defense Logistics Agency.

In addition to Bragg, QLLEX was conducted at five other states across the country: Arizona, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The Soldiers also purified and distributed water, cooked, cleaned laundry, provided field showers and completed other necessary tasks.

“Even though we are from different commands, we came together as a team,” said Lt. Col. Chris Briand, the 334th Quartermaster Battalion commander. Briand was also the mission commander at Fort Bragg.

Six truck companies arrived at Bragg’s Forward Operating Base Patriot with 7,500- and 5,000-gallon tankers ready to perform their mission. Of the 109 tankers checked out by DLA Energy Americas inspectors, 101 were certified to haul fuel.

“A lot of the issues in the past have been with the tankers passing certification,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Braddock, the DLA Energy military liaison. “This year they had everything taken care of from the start.”

Briand said it was important that his unit’s trucks were ready.

“Failure was not an option for us,” Briand said. “This was a real-world mission; real defense fuel with real defense customers.”

During QLLEX, Army Reserve quartermaster units spend their annual training delivering fuel from a defense fuel supply point to DLA customers. The North Carolina DFSP is in Selma.

The team provided fuel to three Marine Corps, two Army and two Air Force installations, traveling as far as 123 miles or as close as FOB Patriot.

According to Briand, the personnel at Fort Bragg delivered 60 percent of the total fuel moved across the nationwide exercise.

“The Army Reserve has done outstanding this year,” Braddock said. “They’re actually breaking records at DFSP Selma. They pushed more than 1.3 million gallons in four days.”

The 334th moved a total of 1.97 million gallons of fuel during QLLEX.

“Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base has a lot of flights,” Braddock said. “If they couldn’t have moved that fuel, the planes wouldn’t have been able to fly. And if they can’t fly, they can’t really defend our nation.”

QLLEX is part of a larger exercise, Global Lightning, which runs through June 26. About 12,000 service members from the Army Reserve, Air Force and Navy, along with British and Canadian forces are involved in one of the largest support training exercises in the Army Reserve’s history.

“We’ve organized an opportunity of this scale to mirror the realities of real-world operational environments,” said Army Brig. Gen. Bruce Hackett, commander of the 78th Training Division. “We’re looking forward to enhancing our readiness by sharing knowledge with our sister services and international partners.”

“QLLEX was rolled up under Global Lightning to give us more tactical play here on Forward Operating Base Patriot,” said Briand. “Every Soldier here is doing what they would do in a wartime mission”

The FOB was completely self-contained. Every drop of water consumed was produced from nearby Mott Lake. Reverse osmosis water purification units, tactical water purification units and the tactical water distribution system purified the lake water and pumped it through lines. A laundry and bath unit set up shower tents and laundry facilities. More than 23,000 pounds of laundry was cleaned, and more than 6,300 showers were provided, in addition to clean water for cooking and drinking.

“Morale has been very high. We had hot showers and laundry since before the exercise started,” Briand said. “We had hot meals twice a day, and it was pretty good food.”

QLLEX and its predecessor have been around for 35 years. The success of the quartermaster soldiers providing fuel and water missions during wartime can be attributed to what they learned in places like Fort Bragg.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with and leverage so many (military occupational specialties),” Briand said. “This is my first opportunity as a battalion commander. Being able to touch every single piece of it has been extremely rewarding. This has been one of the best exercises in my 20-year career; proud to serve with these guys.”