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Red Line Marine Corps News
Story Date: 16 March 2007
Author: Cpl. Kamran Sadaghiani
Unit: 31st MEU Red Line

Bulk fuel Marines keep HMM-265 (REIN) pumped up in Korea

Rodriguez Live-Fire complex, Republic of Korea — Just as NASCAR drivers pull into a pit stop for speedy service during a race, the aircraft of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (Reinforced), the Dragons, need to have their various weapon systems and fuel rapidly replenished to lengthen flight operations.

To extend the reach of the Dragons’ capabilities from Pohang to here, aviation ordnance technicians and bulk fuel specialists set up a forward arming and refueling point here, March 12, in support of a two-week expeditionary training period that began March 6. The training is being conducted in order to enhance the squadron’s capabilities as the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s aviation combat element.

A FARP is a portable combination between a miniature air station and a pit stop that is set up wherever and whenever pilots need to refuel and rearm.

“Usually, the site is set up so aircraft can land, rearm, refuel and get back in the action as soon as possible,” said Staff Sgt. Richard Lopez, the squadron’s ordnance staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

To accomplish their mission, the squadron has four bulk fuel specialists from Wing Support Squadron 172 along with 10 aviation ordnance technicians to operate the FARP.

“Our jobs are critical right now because without our services, the pilots wouldn’t be able to operate up here and conduct their training,” added Sgt. Deon Stewart, the MWSS-172 bulk fuel noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “The nearest arming and refueling point is approximately two hours from here, which is too far away.”

Because the group of Marines is a small work force, their jobs entail a lot of effort.

“We work at setting up the landing zones and maintaining them, assisting aircraft with landings and take offs, while bulk fuel specialists set up the refueling systems,” said Lopez, a native of Garden Grove, California. “After the landing zones are set up, bulk fuel specialists and ordnance technicians go to work, replenishing the aircraft ordinance and fuel.”

As the FARP Marines conduct operations, a group of firefighting and rescue specialists with MWSS-172 stand by observing the operation.

Once the FARP is operational, the Marines are capable of 24-hour operations, said Stewart who calls Raleigh, North Carolina, home.

“Just like a pit crew, we stand by for pilots to fly in,” he said.

Setting up the services are vital and provides a great training opportunity for the Marines to ensure they’re ready to meet the squadron’s fueling and ordnance needs for future contingencies, said Stewart.

The FARP Marines will continue to provide expedient refueling and rearming services for the next two weeks in support of the bilateral exercise, Foal Eagle 2007. The training is focused on strengthening the interoperability between the Republic of Korea and the United States.

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