REFUEL ON THE MOVE
The Army’s highly mobile force depends on fuel to sustain it on the battlefield more than it ever has in the past. As in Operation Desert Storm, a mobile and maneuverable force needs large amounts of fuel in a timely fashion to maintain its offensive posture. Combat vehicles must be refueled efficiently, rapidly, and safely. For combat forces to remain maneuverable, fuel resupply must be flexible and innovative. ROM is normally accomplished as far forward on the battlefield as the tactical situation permits, prior to the tactical assembly area. The doctrinal purpose of ROM is to extend the time that ground maneuver forces can spend on the objective, although ROM can be tailored to other situations as well. When vehicles enter a ROM site for refueling, they receive a predetermined amount of fuel (usually timed) and they move out to return to their convoy or formation. This distinguishes it from routine convoy refueling operations.
Due to safety considerations, normal vehicle refueling is done with the engine off. AR 385-55 states that commanders will apply all normal safety standards to their operations unless it is necessary to change to do the mission. In training situations, changes may be authorized only by the commander. Commanders will evaluate the significance of the assumed risk versus the training benefit. In combat operations, commanders will make decisions based on METT-T and risk analysis.
In planning a ROM operation, METT-T must be considered. Based on these considerations, identify plan, and conduct the type of ROM operations that best support the commander’s scheme of maneuver.
The mission drives the need for ROM operations. Since the ROM site is a vulnerable, high value target, consider other refueling options which will do the mission. ROM missions are most often used to support extended moves to a tactical assembly area before an attack or before retrograde moves.
Known or expected enemy activity in the area of operations and area of interest must be considered. Clear and secure the ROM site before the fuel semitrailers arrive. Risk increases significantly as the ROM gets closer to the FLOT. Consider enemy artillery range when choosing the ROM sites and concealing its operations. Air defense assets should support the ROM site if there is any enemy air threat.
A thorough terrain analysis is an essential part of a successful ROM operation. Examine the routes of march, supporting road networks, cover and concealment, the locations of check points, and whether or not the terrain can support loaded fuel semitrailers and high traffic flow. A movement using multiple routes of march may require several ROM sites. Wet, swampy, or restrictive terrain will not support most ROM operations due to the weight of the fuel trailers and the high traffic flow.
The status of combat vehicle crew and supporting unit soldiers must be analyzed. Do they have enough crew members to operate the issue nozzle themselves and let the driver remain in the vehicle during refueling? Are the soldiers trained on ROM operations? Analyze the forces available to secure the ROM site and perform traffic control.
Time must be considered. Consider the time it will take to cover the distances vehicles will be moving; the amount of time available to coordinate, secure, establish, and camouflage the ROM site; the acceptance rate of unit vehicles and the number of minutes of fuel they will receive. Also, determine how far in advance of the main body the security force and fuel semitrailers can deploy while still concealing the projected unit move. The ROM site personnel must ensure each vehicle receives the correct number of minutes of fuel. If not, the following march units will back up.
VEHICLE HOLDING/ MARSHALING AREAS
Set up these areas at locations before and after the ROM site. Coordinate areas before to the start of the operation. Use the first area (prior to the ROM site) to organize the march column into serials of vehicles equal to the number of refueling points available. Call the vehicles forward out of the holding area one serial at a time to move into position to receive the predetermined amount of fuel. When each serial has received its allotted fuel, it moves to the second holding area (after the ROM site). In the second holding area, organize the vehicles back into their convoy march elements or combat formations. Figure 25-1 shows a recommended layout and marshaling areas for a ROM.
Figure 25-1. 8-Point ROM
Plan a contingency for equipment failure. Make sure there is enough room in the site to move equipment. Make the most use of natural cover and concealment. Include a signal system to coordinate the operation. Use signals to start and stop refueling operations, and coordinate the vehicle serials to and from the holding areas. Use the arm and hand signals or flags during the day. Long distances may require radio communications. At night or in low visibility conditions, use chemical light or flashlights for signals.
- Enforce grounding and bonding procedures for fuel semitrailers, pumps, filter/separators and each refueling point.
- Make sure fuel handlers wear protective clothings (for example, standard combat uniform, hearing protection, goggles, and gloves). With the exception of the standard uniform, other items are normally provided by the organization.
- Locate fire extinguishers at each refueling point and source of fuel (but not so close that they cannot be reached in the event of a fire).
- Place fuel drip pans at each refueling point and fuel source. When draining drip pans, observe fire, safety, and environmental precautions.
- Ensure the fuel spills procedures and equipment should include, as a minimum, sorbents, shovels, and containers. An SOP should detail equipment and procedures for response in a field environment. Ensure that the SOP follows federal, state and local requirements.
For the ROM operation to be expedient and personnel to be proficient on the battlefield, prior coordination and planning must be conducted throughout the chain of command. Successful conduct of ROM operations will require all units to work together. Planning must include both supporting and supported units. It must cover in detail the organization, sustainment, and protection of ROM site(s) and the organization and conduct of the overall operation.
Determine if you need more support requirements to conduct ROM operations and coordinate there requirements with your higher headquarters. Coordinate with higher headquarters for operational and intelligence data. Analyze all factors involved, including the METT-T, to determine the type of refueling operation needed to support the mission. The recommendation is then forwarded to the commander. Select the location for the ROM site based on the METT-T, the ROM configuration, and the established march route. Coordinate ROM security support before setting up the ROM site. Coordinate with the military police for traffic control support at the site. Receive and review estimated fuel requirements and coordinate with the Class III section of the MMC. Review and coordinate the vehicle movements into the refueling area to prevent convoy backup.
ROM Site Personnel
Set up, perform PMCS, operate, and retrieve the equipment used in the operation. Ensure safety (for example, grounding, bonding, fire extinguishers, no smoking signs, drip pans, spill equipment is in place and personnel are familiar with procedures). Ensure personnel are familiar and equipped with operational control signals (flags, lights, radio) to be used. Man fuel nozzles to refuel vehicles when convoy personnel (assistant driver or commander) are not available to refuel their own vehicles. Ensure vehicles safely enter and move through the ROM site and receive the prescribed amount/time of fuel.
Refueling March Unit
March unit commanders are subordinate to the ROM site commanders during the refueling operation. Before entering the ROM site, vehicle operators close up vehicle intervals and reduce speeds per SOP. March units’ personnel follow instructions from ROM personnel. ROM site personnel regulate the amount of furling IAW the time limits set up. Vehicle passengers (assistant drivers or commander) refuel their vehicles. Vehicle drivers remain in their vehicles. Air guards will continue to observe assigned sectors during the refueling operations.
ROM EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATION
ROM is a concept that is equipment independent. As long as the concept is followed, any number of current equipment configurations can be used to do a ROM operation. ROM operations can be employed anywhere on the battlefield where there is a need to rapidly refuel combat vehicles.
The ROM kit consists of enough hoses, valves, and fittings to refuel up to eight combat vehicles at the same time. The kit takes care of transporting the ROM. Any cargo vehicle with a payload capacity greater than 1.5 tons can be used. The ROM weighs about 2,900 pounds. It cannot be loaded on the fuel-transporting semitrailer due to the weight limit of the semitrailer. The main fuel source is the 5,000-gallon fuel semitrailer (model 969s and M131A5C) using onboard pump and filter/separator. The average flow rate at each of the eight nozzles, using the fuel semitrailer, is 35 GPM. The area to set up and operate the eight-point ROM kit is about 550 feet long by 150 feet wide. Multiple tankers can be connected to the ROM kit by means of a Y- or T-fitting and valves. One tanker will be dispensing fuel through the ROM to refuel vehicles. The remaining tanker is backup and ready to replace the issuing tanker when it is empty.
NOTE: If conducting multiple tanker operations, fuel should not be received into and dispensed out of the same tanker at the same time. This would only be possible through top loading, which is a safety hazard.
As a tanker is emptied, the fuel dispensing source is transferred to the backup tanker by the resetting of the values at the Y and/or T. This will allow fuel issues to continue to the combat vehicles. Fuel semitrailers can be shuttled to and from the ROM site to maintain a fueling tanker on-site.
Setting up several Mini-ROMs (four-point ROM), dispersed within the same general area, can reduce the vulnerability of the operation. More security personnel may be required to cover the larger operational area. More traffic control personnel may be required as a result of the multiple ROM sites. Set up a main TCP along the route of march before the mini-ROM sites. Set up communications to coordinate traffic control between the main TCP and the mini-ROM sites. When a march unit reaches the TCP, direct it to break down into subelements that equal the number of refueling points at each individual mini-ROM site and proceed to a designated location. Figure 25-2 shows a recommended layout and marshaling areas for a mini-ROM.
Figure 25-2. Mini-ROM
Collapsible Tank(s) With Pump and Filter/Separator
Collapsible tankage (for example, 10,000- and 20,000-gallon bags) could be used as the fuel source in ROM operations when the tactical situation does not dictate a highly mobile refueling system and large quantities of fuel are paramount. The ROM system using collapsible tanks as shown in Figure 25-3 should be avoided in forward areas where vulnerability to enemy actions and lack of mobility expose operations to high risk. Planning for ROM operations using collapsible tankage should take into account the additional terrain requirements. The terrain must be level and free of debris. Additional area is required for setting up the equipment (for example, collapsible tank(s), pumps, and filter/separators).
Figure 25-3. Collapsible Tank ROM
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