In response to the Aug. 8 Hawai’i Wildfires, a fuel team from the 25th Infantry Division stepped in to fill a critical need for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' temporary power mission on Maui.
At the request of the Corps, the 25th ID, located on Oahu, provided a team of soldiers and two Heavy Expandable Mobile Tactical Trucks to fuel temporary generators which are providing support to water wells and other critical public facilities in Lāhainā since the wildfires began.
“The fueler is offloading between 300 to 600 gallons of diesel fuel daily,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Maksym Zymin, Temporary Power Team Commander “They’re an additional asset that provides redundancy and efficiency for the contractor’s fueling operations.
When combined with the skills of soldiers who are operating and maintaining them, they are a “response multiplier” for the USACE temporary power team.
The fuel trucks can hold and transport up to 2,500 gallons of fuel. Zymin said that deploying the fuel trucks closer to the deployed generators has reduced refuel runs by 40 miles and reduced risk.
“As safety is one of the primary considerations of the mission, driving fewer miles minimize the risk of an accident and potential fuel spill,” Zymin said.
Donald Schlack, temporary power team subject matter expert from the USACE Honolulu District, said the generators keep critical infrastructure operating, enabling water and power companies to work on repairs.
“While we’re providing power to critical infrastructure and municipal buildings with the generators, it’s one less thing the electric and water companies must think about while they’re dealing with the recovery,” said Schlack. “It lets them focus on restoring electricity and water for the larger population.”
The soldiers operating and maintaining the fuel trucks come from all over the world and are comprised of petroleum supply specialists, wheeled vehicle mechanics and chemical refueler repairers.
Sgt. 1st Class Lanilua Pine is leading the unit as they do their part to support recovery efforts.
Pine said she feels a close connection with the people of Hawai'i. On the way to retrieve the fuel trucks each day, they pass through areas directly affected by the wildfires.
“This really hits home,” said Pine. “It’s personal. It’s family. We can make a difference in how we help people, and we want to help.”