FORWARD OPERATION BASE EDINBURGH, Afghanistan --
Fuel is critical for almost all missions Marines conduct. Whether in garrison or forward deployed, fuel keeps operations moving. Without fuel, combat logistics patrols cannot get supplies to units in need, aircraft cannot patrol the skies and generators cannot provide power to electronic equipment.
Luckily for the Marines at Forward Operating Base Edinburgh, Afghanistan, three Marines ensure those operations continue. One corporal and two lance corporals are responsible for the fuel needed for vehicles, aircraft and equipment at the FOB.
“We receive, store and dispense all of the ground fuel for FOB Edinburgh,” said Cpl. Clayton Leatherwood, FOB Edinburgh fuel farm noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Headquarters and Service Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward). “We also issue all the fuel to the air wing here at the FOB.”
According to Leatherwood, the fuel farm at FOB Edinburgh dispenses approximately 10,000 gallons of fuel per day – the highest amount of fuel distributed in the region.
“It’s a privilege to show off what we can do,” said Leatherwood, 22, a native of Stockbridge, Ga. “We dispense a lot of fuel, and it’s great to show how much we can do with so few Marines.”
The Marines’ job is important to keep the Marine Air-Ground team mission-ready.
“The Marines at FOB Edinburgh support both the air and the ground missions in [the region],” said Sgt. Shawn Tredinnick, the operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge for Bulk Fuel Platoon, H&S Co., 9th ESB, 1st MLG(Fwd). “They support the ground missions by issuing fuel to all convoys and supporting equipment on that FOB. They support the air mission by ensuring the [Marine Wing Support Squadron] aboard FOB Edinburgh has a steady amount of fuel to issue to aircraft.”
Along with Leatherwood, Lance Cpl. William Zerr and Lance Cpl. Shelby Williams are the three Marines who run the fuel farm at FOB Edinburgh.
Zerr, a bulk fuel specialist with H&S Co., 9th ESB, 1st MLG (Fwd), says he has learned a great deal on this deployment and is excited to have the opportunity to be deployed.
“Some aspects are challenging, but we just work around them,” said Zerr, 20, a native of St. Charles, Mo. “We just look out for one another to make sure the mission is accomplished.”
Williams says she has new experiences daily. The 20 year-old Tallahassee, Fla., native is a combat engineer by trade, but is working alongside the bulk fuel specialists to keep operations moving.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Williams. “Being up here learning the trade is good. I am glad I am doing it.”
The three Marines running the FOB Edinburgh Fuel Farm are not only dispensing the most fuel in the region, they are also building a solid reputation for their work.
“I have heard nothing but good things from the FOB commander about the performance of the Marines at the fuel farm,” Tredinnick said. “[They] are performing with the high standards expected of our platoon.”