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.