Jump-FARP fuels monumental outcome
August 24, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The Forward Support Company, 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, for Task Force Wings (4th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt.) provides responsive, manifold logistic support to the task force. The support does not stop at providing the companies with drinkable water, equipment movement, or drivers for convoys; they provide fuel and lots of it.
"We have to support AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Blackhawks, to include the MEDEVAC aircraft, OH-58 Kiowas, CH-47 Chinooks, and to refuel vehicles and generators to keep the mission running smoothly," said Sgt. Maurice James, a petroleum supply NCO with FSC, 4th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt. "To help aid in mission success, we are setting up the jump-(forward arming and refueling point) to get fuel to the aircraft sooner instead of the pilots having to fly all the way back to the main fuel point."
With all of the tasks at hand, the FSC displays flexibility and rapid response when it comes to supplying units with vehicle maintenance, fuel, and any other needed support.
"This is what we do, whenever a company needs help with something -- (refilling) the water buffalo, cold gas or hot gas refuels, we ensure it gets done no matter the time of day or night," said Staff Sgt. Muhamad Shahid, a petroleum supply NCO with FSC, 4th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt. "We understand the mission and what it takes to complete it, so we pride ourselves in providing rapid-response service."
The FARP is mission critical to the aircrew making it safely in and out of dangerous situations.
"Without gas, the pilots would have to land and another aircraft may have to slingload them into the nearest FARP location," said Shahid. "That will waste time on another important mission and flight time an aircraft has remaining to fly before maintenance must be conducted. To alleviate this problem, jump-FARPs are used as a halfway point to top off your aircraft and reload necessary ammunition."
At the main FARP location, petroleum supply specialists staged several 500-gallon fuel blivets, a military shipping container (commonly referred to as a conex) filled with several supplies needed to run a FARP, and a generator for two CH-47F Chinooks to slingload to what would be the new jump-FARP site.
"When you get on top of the conex, make sure you get down low, connect the load to the hook, and make sure it is seated properly," 1st Sgt. Earnest Simmons, the first sergeant for FSC, 4th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt., said to his Soldiers as the CH-47F Chinooks approach for slingload operations. "If you don't, the rotor wash will blow you off of the (conex)."
Heads nodded and the hand signals between the fueler and the crew chief began.
"Signals are important, so the pilots won't hit the load and hurt the aircraft, the equipment, or any Soldiers connecting the load," said James. "In the end it is all about safety, and the mission being carried out successfully."
Strong winds and dirt created a rotor wash as the CH-47F Chinooks lifted the loads to the final destination.
"This stuff is too easy, just make sure you have the proper gear to complete the task and follow proper procedure. Everything else will fall into place," said Shahid. "Even though our mission may seem small, the outcome is monumental when the job is done correctly and safely."