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49th Quartermaster Group (Petroleum & Water)

Fuel and water are the two most important sustainment commodities on the battlefield and comprise more than 70 per cent of resupply short tons. The ultimate weapon - the soldier - runs on water, and everything else runs on fuel. Water decided the battle of Little Big Horn and fuel shaped the outcome of Patton's campaign across France during World War II. Without these commodities, warfighting systems will grind to a halt.

The Army first conducted water training under the Engineer School's direction and then transferred proponency in 1981 to the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, VA. More importantly, at the time of the water mission's transfer to the Quartermaster Corps, the Army decided to combine career management fields with petroleum because water, like petroleum, was a liquid logistics function. This was the start of the parallel development - or the paradigm - of fuel and water support as "liquid logistics."

The "liquid logistics" paradigm led to the similar management of fuel and water on the battlefield: a bulk supply or source in the rear feeding a distribution network that brings the liquid commodity forward to the point of use. The supply and distribution of fuel and water look and feel about the same to the warfighter and to the logistician. For the Quartermaster, the equipment, concepts and training for executing these fuel and water missions have developed along parallel paths.

Recent contingency operations have shown that based upon controlled threat environments, the bulk fuel wholesale and retail support arrangements can be tailored. However, as DLA's petroleum leadership cautioned, relying totally on their wholesale capabilities, which is/will be based on foreign nation support contractors, would not be an appropriate offset for Army force structure. They contend that the Army's petroleum distribution mission for today, and the foreseeable future, will remain large and complex. Operational and threat realities will drive how far forward DLA's civilian contractors are actually willing to deliver. DLA's threats of contract terminations or directed demands have produced minimal performance resolution when their contractors have had political, religious or regional biases. They, therefore, considered it essential that the Army maintain a distribution capability that can meet the joint fuel needs anywhere on the future battlefield. This could prove to be an expensive proposition, especially if DLA routinely assumes the theater distribution responsibility (via contracting) and the Army builds a duplicative force structure.

The Quartermaster Group (Petroleum and Water) establishes GS units in the Theater Communications Zone (COMMZ) and the Corps Support Command (COSCOM) in the Corps COSCOM areas. The Quartermaster Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the Water Supply Battalion commands 2 to 5 Water Supply Companies for storage and distribution or 5 Water Purification Detachments or 10 Water Purification Teams if additional purification is needed.

The Quartermaster Group (Petroleum and Water) plans petroleum distribution for the theater and also commands and controls the bulk petroleum distribution system extending from ports of entry through the COMMZ as far into the combat zone (corps area) as practicable. The Petroleum Pipeline and Terminal Operating Battalions maintain most of the theater petroleum stocks in the COMMZ.

Each Petroleum Pipeline and Terminal Operating Battalion (GS) commands and controls more than 450 miles of pipeline with pump stations and terminals, from the COMMZ into the corps area. The battalion commands from three to five Pipeline and Terminal Operating Companies (GS). Each company is responsible for up to 90 miles of the pipeline system. Pipeline, hose line, truck and rail provide fuel distribution to airfields and petroleum GS units.

Transportation Battalions command and control three to seven Medium Truck Companies (Petroleum) under the Quartermaster Group. The Medium Truck Company (Petroleum) transports bulk petroleum to GS units and airfields in the COMMZ and the corps area with 7,500-gallon or 5,000-gallon tank semitrailers. Petroleum products are picked up at host nation and petroleum pipeline terminals and delivered to Petroleum Pipeline Companies, Petroleum Supply Companies (GS) and airfields.

Petroleum Supply Battalions (GS) are under the TAACOM in the COMMZ and the Corps Support Command (COSCOM) in the combat zone. The battalion commands three to five Petroleum Supply Companies (GS) that provide CSS bulk petroleum to the divisional and nondivisional DS companies on a 24-hour basis. Petroleum Supply Companies (GS) receive fuel from a Petroleum Pipeline and Terminal Operating Company or host nation for storage and issue to the divisional and nondivisional DS companies.

On 4 June 1993, the 49th Quartermaster Group was resurrected into an Active Army Component. Since activation the Group has taken on a new motto and mission. The 49th Group motto, "Fueling the Force" serves as both a rally cry and an accurate description of its function. Subordinate to the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), the primary mission of the Group is to rapidly mobilize and deploy its subordinate units to provide bulk petroleum and supply to supported units. The Group also specializes in providing tactical potable water, mortuary affairs and field services in theater operations.

The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 49th Quartermaster Group, was constituted in the Regular Army on 1 May 1936, as the 49th Quartermaster Regiment. Formed in the late 1930's the 49th Regiment and its members focused the bulk of their efforts toward the impending threat of World War II. As mission requirements increased the regiment moved to Berkley California and became known as the 49th Truck Regiment (1 April 1942). In the following year, on 14 December 1943, the Regiment redesignated the 49th Quartermaster Group. Following the last reorganization the 49th Quartermaster Group greatly contributed to the overall QM mission. During WWII the 49th Group was tasked to supply the military forces that would later demolish German forces in Italy. Functioning as a theater asset, the 49th Group, participated in several WWII Campaigns. The four most noted were Noples-Foggie, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and Po Valley. Contributions made throughout WWII earned the 49th Group the Meritorious Unit (Army) Commendation, Streamer Embroidered ITALY.

By the end of WWII the Group was inactivated, 15 November 1947. Gone but not forgotten, Quartermaster General, Major General Edmond B. Gregory proclaimed the totality of the Quartermaster mission with the following quote: "Let me make this simple promise to the American people, the Quartermaster Corps will never fail you boys.Quartermaster will always be by their side to KEEP THEM ROLL'N TO VICTORY."

The 49th Quartermaster Group fulfilled this requirement and laid the framework for the 49th Quartermaster Group (Petroleum & Water) of today.

From 1993 to the present, the 49th Quartermaster Group has been involved in several real world and training exercises. Comprised of a Special Troops Battalion and the 240th Quartermaster Petroleum/Pipeline Battalion, the Group has the capability to deploy by land, air, and sea to any theater of operation, and provide combat and support for Operations Other Than War (OOTW). Units subordinate to the 240th Quartermaster Battalion, are the Headquarter and Headquarters Company, 109th QM and 267th QM Company, and the 58th QM Company. The STB is comprised of the 3rd Quartermaster Detachment, 16th Field Services Company and the 54th Quartermaster Company. The 54th QM Company is the only active duty Mortuary Affairs unit in the Army. Each Company uses major training exercises such as Roving Sands (240th), Operation Genesis (49th Group), and unit FTX/JTX's are used to prepare for real world deployments. Involvements in real world situations include deployments to Bosnia and Kuwait.

The Quartermaster Corps is responsible for the distribution of water and fuel while the Engineers bear the responsibility of designing and sometimes building the pipelines which carry this fuel to it's destination. These pipelines, known as IPDS, or Inland Petroleum Distribution System, are designed for rapid deployment. As a result, the POLOPS Engineer Section's primary mission is to act as liaisons between the 49th Quartermaster Group and other pipeline construction units, both US and allied, which, during a conflict, would fall under the 49th's command, insure the standard of construction and finally design the lines. The unit also coordinates unit training rotations, such as Reserve Annual Trainings (AT) and foreign pipeline unit training rotations.

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