CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 removed an empty 210,000-gallon fuel bladder just after sunrise aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, June 28.
“This morning we took out an empty 210,000-gallon fuel bladder,” said Cpl. Anthony Casares, a native of Greeley, Colo., and a wrecker operator with MWSS-274. “We used a (Logistics Vehicle System Replacement MKR15) wrecker, which is typically used for towing vehicles out of a ditch and getting them back in the fight, but it can be useful for other things as well. We assist bulk fuel Marines, and do a lot of cross-training with them for improved efficiency on the job.”
The bulk fuel site at Camp Bastion was contracted by the Army for more than 20,000 troops Camp Bastion once supported at the height of Operation Enduring Freedom, and was partially operated by civilian contractors for constant aircraft refueling capability.
The system was so large that contractors were hired and trained to operate the fuel system with supervision and training from the Marines. The fuel farm once held more than 1.6 million gallons of fuel for operations taking place in Helmand province and the surrounding area.
In three hours’ time, more than 15 Marines with MWSS-274 and 15 contractors removed the last of the eight non-Marine owned bulk fuel bladders at the bulk fuel site. With these bladders removed, the remaining six, 50,000-gallon fuel bladders are completely Marine Corps owned and operated.
“The Marines here are very dedicated and hardworking individuals,” said Sgt. Andrew Sewell, a bulk fuel specialist with MWSS-274. “Once we remove the last of the bulk fuel bladders, this will be a completely Marine-run operation at the flight line at Bastion.”
Bulk fuel Marines verify that the fuel on hand is safe for use and tested daily for water and sediment to ensure it is the best fuel going into aircraft at all times, said Sewell a 24-year-old native of Gastonia, North Carolina.
“Every morning we walk along each bladder and inspect it for tears or punctures and check the hoses to make sure everything is good to go,” Sewell said.
The fuel is used for vehicles, aircraft and equipment vital for flight line support.
Bulk fuel Marines with MWSS-274 deployed to Afghanistan in March from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. They will take on full responsibility of refueling efforts for the Camp Bastion flightline for the remainder of their deployment.