16th Sustainment Brigade joins multinational fuel company

Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Michael O'Brien 16th Sustainment Brigade

British army Capt. Charles Frost, Commando Logistic Regiment, acting as company first sergeant, hands the Modular Combined Petroleum Unit formation over to French army Capt. Mohamed Aboudi, 1st Petroleum Support Company commander, Oct. 7 in Zaragoza, Spain, for the NATO exercise Trident Juncture. Bringing together 36,000 troops from more than 35 countries, Trident Juncture 15 is the largest NATO exercise since 2002.

British army Capt. Charles Frost, Commando Logistic Regiment, acting as company first sergeant, hands the Modular Combined Petroleum Unit formation over to French army Capt. Mohamed Aboudi, 1st Petroleum Support Company commander, Oct. 7 in Zaragoza, Spain, for the NATO exercise Trident Juncture. Bringing together 36,000 troops from more than 35 countries, Trident Juncture 15 is the largest NATO exercise since 2002.

ZARAGOZA, Spain Joining French army counterparts near Lyon, France, Oct. 5, 515th Transportation Company Soldiers then completed a 700-mile convoy from Smith Barracks, Germany, to the Joint Logistics Support Group Headquarters near Zaragoza, Spain.

“These fine transportation Soldiers have convoyed more than a thousand miles to support almost every nation within the alliance,” said Capt. Nicholas Greco, 515th Transportation Company commander. “The opportunity the 16th Sustainment Brigade has here is to decentralize operations by empowering junior leaders, allowing us to support U.S. Army Europe and NATO.”

The 16th Sustainment Brigade demonstrated their adaptability by contributing a platoon to the French army 1st Petroleum Support Company with mission command of the multinational bulk fuel company called Modular Combined Petroleum Unit. Other countries composing the MCPU include the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.


“As a part of the MCPU, we get to work with fuel units like ours from other NATO countries that we haven’t previously had the opportunity to work with before,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Stevie Hasenfus, a platoon leader with 515th Trans. Co. “It will be exciting to practice convoy operations with our international allies at the exercise.”

The U.S. and French units worked together last month during an exercise testing the interoperability of both units’ petroleum equipment. The convoy continued to build the relationship by introducing both nations’ convoy operations and procedures.

“The convoy to Spain with the Americans was a good experience, especially learning the radio procedures and the vehicle intervals,” said French army 1st Lt. Marie Muller, a transportation platoon leader with 1st Petroleum Support Company.

Arriving at the training area near Zaragoza, the convoy of more than 40 vehicles began to establish the fueling site, integrating with the other contributing nations.

“This was a good start for us going into the (NATO) exercise,” said French army Capt. Mohamed Aboudi, 1st Petroleum Support Company commander. “I was happy to share the convoy with my U.S. colleagues.”

The MCPU will provide a combined bulk fuel capacity of 25,000 gallons of jet fuel and 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel during Trident Juncture 15, supplying both aerial and ground vehicles. Bringing together 36,000 troops from more than 35 countries, Trident Juncture 15 is the largest NATO exercise since 2002.

U.S. Army Sgt. June Baylon, 515th Transportation Company heavy wheeled vehicle operator, and French army  Spc. Cpl. Jacob Abam, 1st Petroleum Support Company, work together Oct. 6 near Carcassone, France, before starting the second day of the convoy to Zaragoza, Spain, for the NATO exercise Trident Juncture. The 1st Petroleum Support Company, along with the 16th Sustainment Brigade and soldiers from the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy constitute the Multinational Combined Petroleum Unit. The MCPU is capable of providing a combined bulk fuel capacity of 25,000 gallons of jet fuel and 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel during Trident Juncture 15.

U.S. Army Sgt. June Baylon, 515th Transportation Company heavy wheeled vehicle operator, and French army Spc. Cpl. Jacob Abam, 1st Petroleum Support Company, work together Oct. 6 near Carcassone, France, before starting the second day of the convoy to Zaragoza, Spain, for the NATO exercise Trident Juncture. The 1st Petroleum Support Company, along with the 16th Sustainment Brigade and soldiers from the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy constitute the Multinational Combined Petroleum Unit. The MCPU is capable of providing a combined bulk fuel capacity of 25,000 gallons of jet fuel and 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel during Trident Juncture 15.