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505th Quartermaster Battalion (Petroleum Pipeline) (Terminal Operations)

The mission of the 505th Quartermaster Battalion (Petroleum Pipeline) (Terminal Operations) is to provide strategic bulk fuels support to all Department of Defense Activities on Okinawa and maintain US Pacific Command (PACOM) War Reserve Objectives. On order, the Battalion can deploy as a headquarters to provide expeditionary C2 fuels support to US and coalition forces.

The 505th Quartermaster Battalion provides Bulk Petroleum, Quality Control, and Surveillance Support to all US Military, all Government Agencies, and Select Japanese Air Self Defense Forces on Okinawa. It supports Contingency Missions in the Pacific Theater as a Deployable Battalion Headquarters. The 505th Quartermaster Battalion in Okinawa, Japan, operates the Army's only active fuel pipeline. On a daily basis, soldiers assigned to the 505th Quartermaster Battalion perform a real-world petroleum mission in line with the Army's responsibility for inland distribution of bulk petroleum to support US Forces. The Battalion maintains and operates the following: 2 offshore tanker mooring systems, pierside load/off-load facility, 6 hardened tank farms with computerized monitoring, fire suppression systems and closed TV monitors, over 100 miles of 8-inch underground welded steel pipeline with cathodic protection, 2 booster pump stations, 4 tank farm pump stations, 6 truck fill stands, 2 pipeline maintenance shops, a watercraft and dive shop, and a petroleum testing laboratory.

In line with the Army's mission to provide inland petroleum distribution, the 505th Quartermaster Battalion was capable of command and control of 5 pipeline companies and can deploy within 96 hours. This capability was a combat multiplier in an undeveloped theater, where petroleum infrastructure is nonexistent.

The 505th Quartermaster Battalion served as a defense fuel support point that stored products owned by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The Battalion supplied JP-8 fuel to Kadena Air Force Base, JP-5 to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, and automotive gasoline and diesel fuel to all services on the island of Okinawa. Also, the Battalion off-loaded aviation fuels at Naha Port to support the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF). The Battalion maintained 3 offload facilities: a single-point mooring system more commonly known as a monobuoy, a 3-legged mooring system, and a White Beach pier. To discharge large ocean going tankers, the monobuoy, located one mile offshore of Camp Courtney in Kin Bay, Okinawa, was used. The Battalion's workforce consisted of US Army soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and local nationals who were contract employees.

The 505th Quartermaster Battalion was responsible for providing support of bulk petroleum products to all Department of Defense agencies on Okinawa. It operated and maintained a 100-mile petroleum pipeline system that reached from Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in the south of the island, through Kadena Air Base, to Chimu Wan, and Tengan near Camp Courtney.

The Battalion received, stored, and issued, all aviation fuel (JP-8/JP-5), automotive gasoline (MOGAS), and diesel fuel (F76) used by the United States Forces on Okinawa. Additionally, it operates an area laboratory capable of providing quality surveillance support for all bulk fuels and lubricants handled by all services on Okinawa.

The petroleum system in Okinawa, and by extension the 505th Quartermaster Battalion, traced its beginning to the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945. The first tank farm on Okinawa had consisted of 1000 barrel (42,000 gallon) aviation gasoline storage tanks near the mouth of the Hija River. They were filled from tankers by means of pumping barges. From these storage tanks, the gasoline was then pumped to storage tanks at the Yomitan and Kadena airfields through a 4-inch victaulic pipeline. Construction on the first tank farm and pipeline on Okinawa commenced on 8 April 1945.

The petroleum system on Okinawa was designated as Petroleum Distribution System, Okinawa (PDSO), a separate organization under the United States Army Japan, in September 1980. On 18 February 1986, it was redesignated as the 266th Quartermaster Battalion (Provisional). The 266th Quartermaster Battalion was reflagged as the 505th Quartermaster Battalion on 16 October 1987.

The 505th played a vital role in the logistical support of all Department of Defense organizations on Okinawa. They also provided quality petroleum training to Reserve Component soldiers while ensuring the soldiers were trained and ready to support all contingency operations within the Pacific.

The battalion maintains 56 million gallons of petroleum storage in its six terminals, operates 100 miles of pipeline, conducts over 10,000 annual laboratory tests, offloads over 75 tankers annually, and receives and issues over 90 million gallons of fuel. Also, the battalion trains 300 to 500 Reserve Component soldiers each year on operating and maintaining a fixed, bulk storage and issue site.

The number of oceangoing petroleum tankers received per year was approximately 90, about 50 percent of which came from the Japanese Self Defense Force. With the exception of rail transportation, the 505th Quartermaster Battalion encompassed every phase of military petroleum operations.

The Battalion also sponsored the Habu-Sakusen exercise (Snake Exercise) every year. 300-500 Army Reserve personnel travel to Okinawa every summer to train on the only pipeline pumping fuel in the active Army. Other exercise participants stationed on Okinawa included the US Marine Corps' 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Forces Support Group, and the US Air Force's 18th Supply Squadron, 18th Logistics Group. Two to 3 US Army Reserve units traveled to Okinawa every summer to train on the Army's only active fuel pipeline. The 2-month Exercise Habu Sakusen '99 began on 10 June 99. The 3 US Army Reserve units that rotated through Okinawa were the 173rd Quartermaster Company from Greenwood, Mississippi; the 328th Quartermaster Detachment from Kingswood, West Virginia; and the 347th Quartermaster Company from Farrell, Pennsylvania.

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