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Neighbors helping neighbors: 193rd distributes fuel in wake of Hurricane Sandy

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
Members of the 193rd Special Operations Wing responded in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The massive "super-storm" wreaked havoc on the east coast and disrupted the supply chain of gasoline throughout New York City. As of Nov. 9, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that 28 percent of gas stations across the New York City metropolitan area were without gasoline.

Airmen of the 193rd teamed up with National Guard units from seven different states to form a "super-team" in response to the gasoline shortage in New York City. With ongoing twenty-four hour operations at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, N.Y., more than 24,567 gallons of fuel have been distributed in support of the humanitarian mission.

"It means a lot to see these folks here helping us out, it's really a great thing," said Ricky Roy, resident and employee of Queens, N.Y. "It's nice to come here and feel safe when there are fights breaking out in the City over gas."

With approximately 1,900 gallons of fuel being pumped an hour, the recipients are nothing short of gratuitous.

"I haven't encountered anyone who hasn't rolled down their window to say 'thank you,' or tell me we're a godsend and such a blessing," said Tech. Sgt. Nicole Brennenman, 193rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, fuels specialist. "They're all just so appreciative and it feels great to be helping them get to work and allowing them to live their lives."

Sergeant Brennenman has been at Floyd Bennett Field since Nov. 5, working 12 hours a day.

The Pennsylvania Air Guard sent a fleet of nine C300 fuel trucks to Floyd Bennett Field, all of which had to be customized for this mission.

"We had to specially modify the truck hose nozzles because they are designed for refueling heavy equipment and supplying jet fuel," said Sergeant Brennenman. "The jet fuel was removed from the trucks and stored and replaced with unleaded."

Unleaded and diesel fuel is currently being supplied to all officially plated vehicles; public school busses; access-a-ride; approved essential city employees; nurses with badges; doctors; hearses with official plates; food carts; New York City Housing Authority; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Animal care and control; American Red Cross; Federal Emergency Management Agency electricians and inspectors; ambulettes; and during the night shift, city taxis.

There are three different checkpoints at Floyd Bennett Field for drivers to filter through to ensure they are qualified to receive fuel, explained Eric Richardson, assistant chief fleet management officer, Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Once the drivers get through the checkpoints they are directed to one of the 11 unleaded fuel trucks or one of the four diesel fuel trucks to have their gas tank filled.

"We don't want the individuals working the pumps to have to worry about who is allowed to get gas," said Mr. Richardson. "If the vehicle gets to them, it gets filled."

While the length of the 193rd's and the rest of the National Guard's mission at Floyd Bennett Field is unknown at this time, they continue to utilize Wing assets to help support the people of New York City for as long as they're needed.