UDAIRI, Kuwait -- Echo and Golf Companies, with support from Combined Anti-Armor Teams “Alpha” and “Bravo,” all with Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 8th Marines, conducted tactical convoy re-supply operations recently during the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s (Special Operations Capable) current training exercise at Udairi Range.
Bringing in the needed fuel and supplies were CH-53E Super Stallions from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-162 (Reinforced). Flying in pairs, one aircraft carried water and food (simulated) while the other carried the tactical bulk fuel delivery system (TBFDS).
The TBFDS is similar to a flying gas station. The system consists of a large fuel bladder and hoses that are extended from the aircraft to fuel ground vehicles. The TBFDS is a vital part of tactical refueling, allowing the ground vehicles to fill their tanks while using the cover of darkness to protect against would-be attackers.
Neither Echo Co., Golf Co., nor CAAT “Alpha” had never used the TFBDS before.
“Its dangerous when you combine helicopters and fuel into any scenario,” said Capt. Thomas Przybelski, commanding officer for Echo Co. However, he said the Marines performed well during the training relying on small unit leadership and standard operating procedures to make sure the training was conducted safely and proficiently. The Marines also used night-vision goggles, which allowed them to see clearly in the dark.
When the helos touched down, two convoys were prepared to get their fuel and continue with their mission.
The convoys set up in makeshift assembly lines. This allowed them to quickly establish security as one element of the convoy moved to pick up supplies before continuing to the second helo for refueling.
After they were supplied and fueled, the next element of the convoy would do the same thing.
The platoon commander for CAAT “Alpha,” 1st Lt. Benjamin Gifford, said that his Marines conducted themselves well in this new form of resupply. The Echo/Golf convoy received the same praise.
Upon completion, both convoys returned to Camp Buehring ready to carry out the rest of the MEU’s live-fire exercise scheduled through mid June.
To learn more about the elements of the 26th MEU (SOC) visit www.usmc.mil/26meu.