Soldiers with the 135th Quartermaster Company, Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, provided support for the Quartermaster Liquid Logistic Exercise at Camp Blanding, Florida, June 9-24. QLLEX is a three-week long operation that establishes a real-world water and petroleum distribution support site that aims to show readiness at the company level for liquid logistic sustainment operations.
“Initially I brought the idea of 135th participating in QLLEX to my Company Commander just to gauge his level of interest,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Omar Stoddard, the senior petroleum and water systems technician for the 135th. “We discussed how incredible the opportunity was to exercise our equipment and execute our Mission Essential Task List.”
The exercise involved more than 1,000 Soldiers from eight reserve component Battalions and 14 Companies, dispersed across six locations in the United Sates with 135th QM Co. being the only active component unit to participate in the training which presented challenges during the planning stages.
“Planning was difficult being at the Company level training to coordinate with BNs in different states all through MS teams and having conflicting schedules at times, while not losing focus on the task that were in front of me at home station and getting Soldiers prepared to conduct an exercise of this magnitude,” said Stoddard. “The execution was the simplest of the task, this is what we do! The Company, BN, and BDE Command teams ensured that once we committed to participating in QLLEX we had every opportunity to get sets and reps on setting up or FSSP.”
After a convoy from Fort Stewart, Georgia to Camp Blanding, the 135th Soldiers established a 120,000-gallon Fuel System Supply point to allow them to conduct petroleum movement and storage operations with the reserve component units and the Defense Logistics Agency-Jacksonville.
“Our intent was to operationalize our bulk petroleum operations in real time and add true value to our training by receiving, storing, and issuing 108k gal of JET-5 from our strategic partners down at DLA-E Jacksonville,” said Stoddard. “The Soldiers trained for months doing layout after layout not really being able to grasp the concept of how we play a major role in large scale combat operation and what this massive system could actually do.”
In addition to the FSSP operated by the 135th, they employed new systems acquired for QLLEX that allowed them to more rapidly establish the FSSP and to conduct training with the reserve component Soldiers.
“I expected the Soldiers to learn how to employ this system in a tactical environment, while also conducting daily operations and coordinating and executing operations with our strategic partners and COMPO’s 1&2,” said Stoddard. “Our NCOS instructed them on how to properly set up the ALL-Terrain berms which we acquired for QLLEX back in December. The Soldiers from the reserve had not seen this system before which allowed us to set up the Fuel System Supply Point in less than half the time using our digging assets.”
The training will leave the 135th Soldiers with an opportunity to appreciate and sharpen their capabilities for their mission of providing liquid logistic support for a large area of a battlefield or disaster area.
“QLLEX prepared the Soldiers of 135th to be able to operate and execute under any organization’s Command,” said Stoddard. “The fact the Petroleum Support Company’s like 135th are designed operate at echelons above gave the Soldiers a better understanding of how they would support the entire battlefield not just units located in the division support are.”