Supporting the forces in Arctic exercise

By Connie Braesch DLA Energy Public Affairs

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Operating in an Arctic environment requires planning and preparation for the harsh conditions, extreme cold temperatures and often limited resources. 

During the 2019 Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise in the Aleutian Islands, South Central Alaska and Southern California, Sept. 15-24, fuel quality assurance and technical support were the focus for Defense Logistics Agency Energy personnel. 

DLA Energy quality assurance representatives were in Seward and Adak, Alaska, supporting military fueling operations. Joe LaRose provided quality oversight during a bunkering operation to refuel the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). Brian Reed provided technical expertise and assistance as Marines additized commercial jet fuel in the field using their mobile fuel additization system.

“It was a good learning experience for everyone involved,” Reed said. “The Marines took away lessons learned and ways to improve the use of the additization system and it was valuable to learn how they do tactical fuel operations.” 

Additionally, as part of the exercise, DLA Energy Americas West Navy Cmdr. Michael Wilson and Daniel Schmidt observed the USS Petersburg (T-AOT-9101) transfer bulk liquid over-the-shore into a bladder farm built on Imperial Beach, California, using the Offshore Petroleum Distribution System

“OPDS is a critical asset for contingency and Defense Support of Civil Authorities activities,” Wilson said. “This exercise provided realistic, relevant training to develop a more effective amphibious force as a critical enabler to national, state and local agencies.”  

About 3,000 Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel participated in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercise which tests joint expeditionary force logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment. Several strategic capabilities were tested during the AECE to increase the ability participants to plan, communicate and conduct complex amphibious and expeditionary combat support operations. These same skills are critical for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. 

“The operation was a success for us,” said Air Force Maj. Marcus McWilliams, DLA Energy Americas North commander. “We assisted in troubleshooting problems as they arose and provided support in an expeditionary environment to meet Warfighter needs.”

The June 2019 Department of Defense Arctic Strategy outlines DoD’s strategic approach for protecting U.S. national security interests in the Arctic amongst strategic competition. DoD’s desired end-state for the Arctic is a secure and stable region in which U.S. national security interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is defended, and nations work cooperatively to address shared challenges, the document states.