267th Quartermasters in Somalia
Quartermaster Professional Bulletin – Winter 1993
LT Scott B. Tardif
Bulk petroleum operations during Operation Restore Hope 1993
The soldiers of the 267th Quartermaster Company, 240th Quartermaster Battalion, joined units from 27 countries as part of the coalition task force in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope about one year ago. On 19 Jan 93, the 267th Quartermaster Company successfully deployed 110 personnel from Fort Lee, VA, to assume control of all bulk petroleum assets in Mogadishu and Log Base Durham at Jilib. The company occupied the southern ridge of Mogadishu airfield. Within a week, the company established command and control of the operation while transitioning with the U.S. Marine Corps 7th Amphibious Assault Battalion.
On a daily basis, the company completed such missions as the receipt, storage and issue of 300,000 gallons of products; quality surveillance testing for all petroleum products; accountability of all fuel transactions; and the movement of bulk fuel from one tank farm to another.
Unit morale was a major concern and challenge for leaders at all levels, but the unit’s morale steadily increased over time. Regular mail deliveries, nightly movies, unit cookouts, and weekend phone calls to the U.S. added to both the overall welfare and morale of the soldiers.
With the recent completion of Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) Phase II and III testing for the Offshore Petroleum Distribution System (OPDS), the OPDS appears the way of the future. Petroleum logistics in an undeveloped theater will depend on ship-to-shore operations with the Inland Petroleum Distribution System (IPDS). The 267th Quartermaster Company witnessed the importance of ship-to-shore bulk petroleum resupply during the humanitarian relief effort to Somali.
Since Mogadishu had only one port and the port could dock only two seagoing vessels at a time, bulk resupply had to come from an anchored source off the coast of the capital city. The Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ship, S.S. American Osprey, served as the offshore storage complex where about 15 million gallons of product were kept as floating storage. The tanker anchored about 1/2 mile from the coast of Mogadishu. Though the Osprey is equipped with OPDS capabilities, the coral-lined ocean floor prohibited that use. The U.S. Navy overcame this obstacle by using a floating assault hose line as a simple, direct hookup to shore. Roughly 1/2 mile of six-inch flexible conduit ran from the ship to a beach interface and into the Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Fuel System (AAFS).
The 267th Quartermaster Company coordinated on a daily basis with the Osprey to provide Class III (petroleum, oils and lubricants) resupply for the coalition task force. In turn, the AAFS was connected to the Tactical Airfield Fuel Dispensing System (TAFDS) with roughly 500 meters of six-inch assault hose line. The TAFDS serviced all aircraft (below C-5) landing in Mogadishu. It also provided emergency resupply to C-5 and commercial aircraft.
Unlike the Army’s Tactical Petroleum Terminal (TPT), consisting of 18 collapsible 210,000-gallon storage tanks, the Marine system consisted of 174 collapsible 20,000-gallon storage tanks. We found the Marine AAFS system much more manpower-intensive because of the increased number of tanks, hoses and manifolds. Under normal conditions, the Army would have brought in a prepositioned TPT. However, costs and other constraints meant continuing operations with the existing Marine system.
Marine Sections The AAFS was broken up into three distinct sections: the main storage area, the JPS retail site, and the MOGAS (motor gasoline) site. The main storage area, which housed 138 20,000-gallon storage tanks, replenished fuel to the TAFDS and the JPS retail site. The retail point, which provided fuel tankers and vehicles with JPS product, was made up of 18 20,000-gallon storage tanks. The MOGAS site contained 18 20,000-gallon storage tanks for a total storage capacity of 360,000 gallons of MOGAS.
In addition to conducting operations in the Mogadishu area, a contingent from the 267th Quartermaster Company created and staffed fuel supply points in Jilib at Log Base Durham and at Kismayo Air Base to provide petroleum product to units operating in the southern region of the theater. The mission was to support Engineer operations repairing the main supply route (MSR) between Jilib, Barderra and Kismayo. Another mission was to support the Quick Reactionary Force on the way to the Kismayo area. Eventually, these soldiers assumed control of the bulk site at Kismayo Air Base and recovered the system when operations in that area were complete.
At roughly the same time that orders came for the 267th Quartermaster Company to redeploy to Fort Lee, VA, the decision was made to construct a 2.5-rnile pipeline (IPDS) to supply the storage tanks at the airfield in Mogadishu. The trace of pipeline stretched over coral banks and beaches from the new port to the airfield. In three weeks, 15 soldiers, 30 Somali laborers and 3 systems integrators from a civilian con- tractor completed the pipeline.
During a 90-day deployment, the 267th Quartermaster Company was responsible for the receipt and storage of over 9 million gallons of bulk petroleum product, as well as the transfer of over 4.7 million gallons of both JPS and MOGAS to 27 countries and civilian humanitarian relief agencies. Although the description of such an immense distribution system seems overwhelming, the 267th Quartermaster Company efficiently provided outstanding bulk petroleum logistical support during participation in Operation Restore Hope.
In keeping with past performance, the 267th Quartermaster Company continues to spearhead modern, battle-focused petroleum logistics for forces throughout the world. The soldiers of the 267th are logisticians who fuel the force.
LT Scott B. Tardif is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, with a concentration in French studies. Military schools include the Quartermaster Basic Course, Air Assault, and Survival Evasion Resistance Escape. At the time this article was written in 1993, he was Terminal Platoon Leader, 267th Quartermaster Company (Petroleum), Fort Lee, Virginia.