Every year, thousands of men and women raise their right hand and pledge to defend this nation. Though not all these service members stay until retirement, setting them up for success after life in the military is always a priority.
Petroleum specialists from First Army Division West, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, along with the Fort Hood Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program, hosted eight petroleum companies from Houston, San Antonio and other partner cities of Fort Hood June 21.
The event showcased the 92F and 92L petroleum military occupational specialties and the skills these petroleum experts bring to the civilian sector once they leave the military service.
“This event helps to solidify the relationship between Fort Hood, Houston and Fort Hood’s other partner cities,” Jerry Hernandez, SFL-TAP transition specialist, said. “It also helps us to educate the civilian population on what Soldiers do and how their skills translate into civilian careers.”
Sgt. 1st Class Heather Hathaway, 166th Aviation Brigade, was crucial in putting the event together. She has been in the petroleum field in the Army for 23 years, and it was also important for her to dispel some common misconceptions about the petroleum
“Employers target most 92Fs in SFL-TAP for truck operations,” Hathaway said. “Realistically, they are experienced human resources and commodity managers, maintenance operators and quality assurance supervisors.”
Soldiers from 61st Quartermaster Battalion first gave the visiting petroleum leaders a briefing on the Inland Petroleum Distribution System in the chapel. The IPDS is a rapid deployment, general support, bulk fuel storage and pipeline system designed to move bulk fuel forward in a theater of operations. Afterwards, they moved operations to the Glass Rapid Refuel Point where the industry partners were able to get a first-hand look at petroleum operations in a round-robin style training
Visitors received a combination of briefs, demonstrations and static displays for pump operations, testing and quality assurance, aircraft refuel operations and other petroleum operations that showcased their skills.
Pvt. Michael Green, 61st QM Bn., has been in the Army for 12 months and really enjoyed the experience.
“It was nice having people come up asking me questions so I could talk about my job,” Green said. “It’s reassuring that people are interested in what I do here. It means I will have more options once I get out.”
After those in attendance got to witness the Soldiers refuel an Apache helicopter from 1st Cavalry Division in real-time, 61st QM Bn. Commander Lt. Col. Alphonso Simmons, explained why it was so important to make this event happen.
“It was a great opportunity for them to see first-hand how our Soldiers execute missions in a real-world environment,” Simmons said. “They got to see how the skills our Soldiers have earned in the U.S. Army can benefit civilian employers. Soldiers have enough challenges as they transition and events like this that showcase their skills to the industry can help make that easier.”
Helping the industry partners see what and how the military does in the field is not different then their civilian counterparts was important for all those involved.
“We are essentially doing the same job,” Hathaway said. “We’re just talking about it in a different language. We are breaking down (language) barriers. It’s the first step in a mile … we can really start to pipeline this talent that is coming out of the military.”
As the event came to a close, 13th ESC Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Willie Rios III was grateful the petroleum leaders not only enjoyed themselves, but that they gave the Soldiers the opportunity to demonstrate the impact that can have in the civilian sector.
“It was an amazing opportunity for our Soldiers to demonstrate what they do day-in and day-out,” Rios said.
“Just having you out here today demonstrates that link between the civilian communities and Fort Hood, and we appreciate you all coming out.”