By Spc. Dakota Vanidestine: Responding under pressure is something that every Soldier is trained to do – regardless of their military occupational specialty.
Two Soldiers from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) occupational command post applied that training and responded to a mission in Saudi Arabia within 24 hours – receiving the news on Nov. 26 and arriving on Nov. 27, 2019.
Staff Sgt. Nathan Ponausuia, left, petroleum supply specialist, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, and Staff Sgt. Fatima Strong, petroleum lab specialist, 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, prepare to depart on a UH-60 helicopter at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait / Photo: Spc. Dakota Vanidestine
Staff Sgt. Fatima Strong, petroleum laboratory specialist, 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and Staff Sgt. Nathan Ponausuia, petroleum supply specialist, 1st TSC, conducted a three-day subject matter expert visit at Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia from Nov. 27 – 30, 2019 – teaching the young Soldiers proper fueling techniques and testing.
One important piece of equipment required before leaving for this mission was an Aqua-Glo kit.
“We ended up getting the Aqua-Glo kit from the 639th Aviation Support Battalion – who are not even part of the 1st TSC at all” Strong said. “It was a good thing that everybody was on board with executing the mission.”
Right away the next morning, Strong and Ponausuia got on a helicopter.
“First, we went from Camp Arifjan to PSAB (Prince Sultan Air Base),” Strong said. “We slept for a couple hours and then got on our flight to Kuhrais oil field.”
Before getting a chance to do anything else, Strong and Ponausuia headed to the fuel site.
“There were only two young Soldiers at the site when we arrived,” Strong said. “They were new and had little experience. Right away, we started making notes of ideas and things that could be improved upon.”
The next couple days were spent making sure the team at Kuhrais oil field could perform their duties with confidence.
“At first Staff Sgt. Ponausuia showed them how to do some mechanical stuff, while I thought them how to test the fuel – we were doing real NCO (noncommissioned officer) work,” Strong said. “They were willing to learn and very teachable. Someone just needed to take the time and actually work with them in a real-world setting such as this.”
By the end of the three days, the team at Kuhrais oil field could conduct all mission essential procedures without any assistance.
“By the last day they both got a chance to do an Aqua-Glo test without me telling them how to do it,” Strong said. “After that, they also got to refuel a helicopter.”
Strong reflected on her experience and offered some advice to all Soldiers.
“Always be ready to apply your skills – at any moment,” Strong said. “It is easy to get comfortable, but this mission taught me that you never know when you will get called up to conduct an important mission like this – climbing up on top of vehicles and doing stuff in the lab.”
Missions like this show the importance of being ready at all times – you never know when you might get called to action.