• Pfc. Ronnie Okello of Aurora, Ill., a fuel handler with Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard, fuels a vehicle for the Botswana Defense Force as Sgt. Kaleb Sperry of Decatur, Ill., assists during Operation Southern Accord 2012. The 405th is in Botswana participating in SA12, an annual combined, joint exercise which brings together U.S. military and BDF personnel to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation to enhance military capabilities and interoperability.

    Illinois Army National Guardsmen fuel Southern Accord 2012

    Pfc. Ronnie Okello of Aurora, Ill., a fuel handler with Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard, fuels a vehicle for the Botswana Defense Force as Sgt. Kaleb Sperry of Decatur, Ill., assists during Operation Southern...

  • Pfc. Ronnie Okello of Aurora, Ill., a fuel handler with Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard, fuels a vehicle for the Botswana Defense Force during Operation Southern Accord 2012. Okello, a native of Uganda, is in Botswana participating in SA12, which is an annual combined, joint exercise which brings together U.S. military and BDF personnel to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation to enhance military capabilities and interoperability.

    Illinois Army National Guardsmen fuel Southern Accord 2012

    Pfc. Ronnie Okello of Aurora, Ill., a fuel handler with Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard, fuels a vehicle for the Botswana Defense Force during Operation Southern Accord 2012. Okello, a native of Uganda, is in...

  • Pfc. Ronnie Okello of Aurora, Ill., a fuel handler with Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard, fuels a vehicle for the Botswana Defense Force during Operation Southern Accord 2012. Okello, a native of Uganda, is in Botswana participating in SA12, which is an annual combined, joint exercise which brings together U.S. military and BDF personnel to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation to enhance military capabilities and interoperability.

    Illinois Army National Guardsmen fuel Southern Accord 2012

    Pfc. Ronnie Okello of Aurora, Ill., a fuel handler with Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard, fuels a vehicle for the Botswana Defense Force during Operation Southern Accord 2012. Okello, a native of Uganda, is in...

THEBEPHATSHWA AIR BASE, Botswana (Aug. 15, 2012) -- In an effort to keep the wheels turning during Southern Accord 2012, petroleum supply specialists from Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois Army National Guard from Streator, Ill., and their counterparts from the Botswana Defense Force, have been running both static and mobile re-fueling operations at Thebephatswha Air Base, Botswana.

Southern Accord 2012, or SA 12, is an annual combined, joint exercise which brings together U.S. military and Botswana Defense Force, or BDF, personnel to conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, peacekeeping operations and aeromedical evacuation to enhance military capabilities and interoperability.

With more than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 2,000 gallons of aviation fuel on the ground, the combined team is responsible for providing fuel for both ground and air assets during the exercise.

"We have a total of about 40 vehicles that come through our fueling point on a daily basis," said Sgt. Kaleb Sperry, a fuel handler from Decatur, Ill., with the 405th, "but the bulk of our fuel, about 600 gallons per day, goes to the engineers who are conducting road improvement and pond restoration projects near one of the ranges the BDF uses."

The U.S. and BDF said they are using the opportunity presented by SA 12 to share knowledge and experience to become better and more proficient at their jobs.

"The BDF have been really willing to learn our equipment," said Sperry. "We've cross-leveled on both [forces'] equipment and we've got some good drivers training for them and us."

The BDF Soldiers agreed.

"I've gained a lot of experience from working with the U.S. Army and I hope to be able to share what I've learned with my mates back at my unit," said Lance Cpl. Gagoote Tilo, a fuel handler with the BDF.

Bringing both units together has been a great experience for both the U.S. and BDF, said Sperry. There has been a lot of hands-on experience and most importantly, the team has not had any accidents or spills at the site.

Page last updated Wed August 15th, 2012 at 08:11