Last stop for fuel in Iraq: Bulk fuel farm consolidates fuel as drawdown continues
November 8, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Nov. 8, 2011 -- As Operation New Dawn continues the drawdown of U.S. Forces in Iraq, Contingency Operating Base Adder has become the main fuel hub in the process of exporting military assets out of the country.
The 305th Quartermaster Company, 101st Sustainment Brigade from Fort Campbell, Ky., manages the bulk fuel farm that provides fuel for military operations in southern Iraq.
"Getting all the equipment that we've had built up since 2003 out of this country, which is an unimaginable amount of equipment that has to be transported from as far north as Mosul all the way down to Kuwait, takes a lot of transportation assets," said Capt. Ervin J. Williams, COB Adder bulk fuel farm commander, 305th QM Company, 101st SB, "And of course, you can't move it without fuel. So our job is to make sure that fuel is brought in, maintained, and then uploaded and shipped out in an orderly fashion."
The fuel deposited at the fuel farm is tested and inspected before being stored in large fuel bags surrounded by berms.
"We test the temperature of the fuel and the quality of the fuel," said 1st Lt. Phat Sanh, COB Adder bulk fuel farm officer in charge, 305th QM Company, 101st SB. "We do a visual inspection to see if it has a lot of water or dirt in it. We do that so we that we know we are getting clean fuel to our customers."
The vehicles fueling up at the bulk fuel farm are also subject to inspection to ensure they are capable of holding fuel.
"We check for leaks and all the safety equipment, like fire extinguishers, and make sure the lights are all working," said Sanh. "If a vehicle has a leak then that is an environmental concern."
"Then once we inspect all of that and everything is fine, the trucks come in and get the fuel that they need and then we seal them," said Sanh. "Then the vehicles are sealed as a safety precaution to ensure that there is no tampering with the fuel."
Although the overall volume of fuel moving through the fuel farm has decreased considerably with the drawdown, the COB Adder bulk fuel farm is still a 24-hour operation.
Camp Cedar, which was the main hub that provided the bulk fuel to all U.S. military bases in Iraq, recently closed.
"To close Cedar, we had to move the fuel north to Adder and set up this fuel farm here," said Williams. "Of course, the north is closing so this is where the business is. We are resizing to support the southern region."
"And you can tell by the fuel consumption and how much we're shipping out of here, how close we are to the drawdown of forces here in Iraq," said Williams.
Part of the process to consolidate the fuel is to disassemble the fuel bladders and sanitize the area.
"Now we are in the process of cleaning up and getting rid of a lot of the fuel bags," said Sanh. "The operation here has been very smooth."
After the fuel bags are removed, the soil is tested to ensure there is no contamination, and the berms are filled in.
"The mission here at the bulk fuel farm is important because this last push is all about the support of the transition from a combat operation to the logistics element of the drawdown in Iraq," said Williams.
"This is the first time we've done something like this," said Williams. "We have to do the sensible thing here, think through this process, leave here in a orderly fashion, and leave it as much in tact like the way it was before we were here."