Soldiers from the 108th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, lay pipeline as part of the Forces Command Pipeline Module training they attended at Fort Pickett recently

FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 3, 2011) -- Army training that takes Soldiers out of their "comfort zone" is not uncommon. It's the best way to ensure they're prepared for the challenges of future warfighting scenarios, whether they are part of a military exercise or a real-world deployment.

That was definitely the case last week when troops from the 108th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, headed to Fort Pickett for a hands-on training event that included the operational procedures of laying petroleum pipelines.

The Soldiers trained to the specifications of the Forces Command Pipeline Module. Much of the instruction was unexplored territory as pipeline distribution is not among the 108th's core competencies, said 2nd Lt. Hale Paulette, a company platoon leader.

The unit is preparing for an upcoming Joint Logistics Over the Shore exercise in South Korea. One of the requirements of that event is a test of an Inland Petroleum Distribution System, or IPDS for short. The equipment is part of the war stock maintained at Sagami, Japan. The 108th will ensure the equipment is in good working order so it can be returned to an operational status.

Other anticipated participants of JLOTS include the U.S. Navy and Korean Service Core civilians, among others. Additional troops from the 49th Group will be deployed in support of the annual Foal Eagle exercise that will also take place during the May 2011 timeframe.

According to Donald Hawkins, one of the instructor/evaluators of the Fort Pickett training event, the 108th should do well during the upcoming mission. "They excelled with the hands-on portion and responded immediately to all the challenges we threw at them," he said.

"These NCOs really took the lead," Hawkins continued. "I was able to call them together, give them a task and they went out and made it happen. Overall, I give them two thumbs up for accomplishing the training mission and actually taking something positive back to their units."

In addition to the pipeline drills, the 108th Soldiers completed various urban assault tasks that had them scaling walls, clearing tunnels and performing close combat drills. CSSB leaders lauded the troops for their enthusiastic response to each challenge.

The week-long event also drew some high level spectators. On Saturday, Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, the U.S Army Forces Command deputy commanding general, stopped by to see how his troops were faring with the Petroleum Training Program and their preparations for JLOTS

"The general's visit was a real honor," said Staff Sgt. Robert Walker, one of the participating NCOs from the 108th. "It shows his genuine concern and support. I'm sure his schedule is very busy, yet he still took the time to come and check on us. The morale of my Soldiers went up even more, and their teamwork allowed us to steadily decrease our IPDS setup time with zero accidents."

Capt. Raphael Martinez, 108th commander, expressed pride in his troops as well, saying they were eager to show the general everything they had learned.

"We were fortunate to have the general as our guest, and I think our hard work will pay off when we're executing our JLOTS mission in (South) Korea. These Soldiers inspire me every day, and it was a pleasure to showcase their talents for Lt. Gen. Bromberg."

The FORSCOM DCG said he was impressed with the overall training mission and he thanked the 108th Soldiers for their expertise, experience and service. He gave his vote of confidence to the Inland Petroleum Distribution System, calling it "trustworthy and capable." On a final note, Bromberg wished the 108th troops the best of luck with their future mission.

(1st Lt. Keronica Richardson, the 49th QM Group Public Affairs Officer, contributed to this story.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16