DLA fuels THAAD deployment to Romania, helps maintain missile defense

By Michael Tuttle DLA Europe & Africa

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When a missile defense site in Romania went down for a systems update this summer, a Defense Logistics Agency team in the region worked to fuel the replacement system and help ensure the U.S. fulfilled its commitment to NATO’s ballistic missile defense efforts in Europe.

A unit of about 100 soldiers with the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, in April to emplace a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in Deveselu. The THAAD system temporarily replaced the Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense system while it underwent a long-planned update. 

DLA has been supporting the Aegis Ashore with diesel fuel since before it became operational in 2016, said Mark Knapp, DLA Energy Europe & Africa liaison to U.S. Army Europe. However, the THAAD required JP8 fuel and there were no contracts in the area to support the site.

“The DLA Energy Europe & Africa customer and supplier operations team went to work on determining and implementing an effective, efficient support solution,” Knapp said. 

The closest source for JP8 to Deveselu is a commercial provider that DLA Energy Europe & Africa already works with to fuel U.S. military aircraft that come through the Mihail Kogălniceanu Airport in Constanta. They were able to use that contract and U.S. European Command’s network of commercial truck drivers to deliver the JP8 about 400 kilometers to Deveselu. 

DLA Energy Europe & Africa’s customer operations team worked closely with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. They ensured that unit soldiers were able to use the U.S. Government AIR card to procure fuel when needed. 

“B-62 Air Defense Artillery could not have successfully completed the mission without the support and coordination of DLA Energy,” Army Capt. John M. Moriarty, Battery B commander, said. “Their planning and flexibility was crucial to the unit's success, and we appreciate their assistance and constant communication."

As delivery times and quantities changed, Daniel Stanko, DLA’s warfighter support representative at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base, made arrangements on the ground between the vendor and the truck drivers.  

While the THAAD was in place, the regional DLA Energy team coordinated nine deliveries of more than 55,000 gallons of fuel. The 32nd AAMDC redeployed with the THAAD when the Aegis Ashore system update was complete in August

“DLA Energy followed up with the unit to verify the fuel was en route, and if there were any upcoming scheduling conflicts in order to find an alternate solution,” said 1st Lt. Rocio Ramirez, Battery B. “Each of the [DLA] representatives I worked with were helpful and always available.”