Logistics: March 4, 2003


Civilians take fuel for granted. It's always there. But when an American airbase was set up in Kyrgyzstan in 2002, a 40 man air force logistics unit was assigned to make sure everyone had fuel, all the time. The base fuel supply is kept in large fabric pouches called fuel bladders. The "bladder farm" receives and distributes about 160,000 gallons of diesel, vehicle and aviation fuel a day (and holds only a few days supply.) The air force fuel crew refuel about twenty aircraft a day, but make about 500 refuelings a day for things like tent heaters, generators, kitchens and other equipment. This take up most of their time. The logistics guys make their rounds in trucks carrying barrels of fuel for all their "customers." Civilian contractors keep the bladder farm filled, with most of the fuel coming down from Russia. Units in other parts of Central Asia, including Afghanistan, perform the same chores because in this region there is little or no electricity service available. You either bring your own or do without.


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