The Army mission remains to deploy, fight, and win our nation's wars by providing ready, prompt, and sustained land dominance by Army forces across the full spectrum of conflicts as part of the Joint Force. The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, Forward Task Force Iron Eagles, is doing just that. By utilizing operations with CL III (B) fuel assets, harbored by the mobilization of the United States Air Force type A/S 32-R11 Fuel Trucks, Task Force Iron Eagles can support the Battle Field Commander.EQUIPMENTThe USAF type A/S 32-R11 is a fuel servicing tank truck that the Aviation community is now using and allows commanders to anticipate storage and Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) flexibility. The R11 enables forces to have a mobile FARP that has a larger storage capacity as well as a larger pumping system for faster refueling, which makes the mission far simpler. The R11 requires less equipment and personnel compared to bags and 350 GPMs with fuel separators. The R11 has provided a way to improve how the CAB will refuel rotary and fixed wing aircraft in theater.While Task Force Iron Eagles added these vehicles for utilization that employs the refueling and bulk storage operations in austere environments throughout Afghanistan, the benefits lie in multiple aspects. The R11, with its mobility, is able to cut down on wet wing refueling operations. This allows up to 6,000 gallons of fuel to be dispersed at one time. The R11 allows the task force to deploy in an austere environment for lasting land power that is required by current mission aviation assets that are organic to the CAB.TRAININGTask Force Iron Eagles has conducted training and combat operations in order to utilize the usage of the R11. The training was conducted by Iron Eagles' 92F (Petroleum Supply Specialists) levels 10-30 and 88M (Motor Transport Operator) levels 10-20. This enabled our Soldiers to understand the capabilities of the vehicle, as well as the necessary maintenance and employment of the fuel system. The 92F's were required to conduct a five-day intense training program where Soldiers performed operations and readiness training, to include loading and unloading, with the R11 during day and night. Soldiers trained with bulk transfer, wet wing transfer and truck to truck transfers as well as cold and hot refueling of Army Aircraft organic to the CAB.
WHERE WE ARE NOWThe maintenance plan with the 91J (Quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer) and 91B (wheeled vehicle mechanic) was done in accordance with the current footprint of maintainers. The maintenance and repair of the R11 is still currently in the validation process. Another found friction point is the GCSS system does not have repair parts. Iron Eagles, instead, utilized the All Things are Possible program by GPC to acquire the parts in order to maintain and repair the R11s.Despite any hindrances, the R11 increases the ability of the battlefield and the task force commander to extend the operational reach of the unit. It also increases the capacity and flexibility to provide Class III (B) at outlining areas with efficiency. With four R11 trucks, the task force commander is able to support and employ four FARPs with a total of 12 personnel, instead of the previous 20-24 personnel that would be needed to sustain 2-4 FARPs.RESULTSAs the Army looks past the Army 2020 vision, the use of the R11 for combat aviation brigades cannot be overlooked. The R11 needs to be organic to the CAB for expeditionary operations because it provides the combat power of warfighting functions. It enables CABs to accomplish unified actions, as defined by ADP 3-0 and JP 3-0. In conclusion, the utilization of the R11 and enabling our Soldiers to effectively use it, give the CAB the ability to conduct expeditionary operations to known and unknown battlefields, enhancing the lethality of the Joint Operations and warfighting functions.---------------
Capt. Matthew Giersdorf is a graduate of Ordnance Corp BOLC and the Logistics Captain Career course. He is a graduate of Saint Cloud State University of Minnesota. Currently serving as the Deputy Support Operations officer for the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas.