SAN DIEGO - Cmdr. Joshua Harding, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, Coronado Site director, visited the supply management department sailors stationed on Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island (SCI) Feb. 17. During his visit to the island, Cmdr. Harding took the opportunity to present each sailor with an “MVP Purple Grape” 24-hour Special Liberty award.
“Witnessing the outstanding hard work each of the sailors perform ensuring daily flight operations occur flawlessly is truly motivational! When you see them perform with the highest morale and utmost professionalism in an isolated environment, it is absolutely a testament to the amazing talent of the U.S. Navy. Providing this small amount of recognition, and spending time learning more about their jobs, meant as much to me, if not more, as it does to each of the sailors.” said Harding. “Admittedly biased, I think I have the best ABFs in the U.S. Navy, and I am honored to serve with them.”NAVSUP FLC San Diego currently has eight sailors stationed on San Clemente Island, all of which are Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Fuel (ABF) rate. ABFs are often called “Grapes” because of the purple jackets worn while performing fueling operations aboard a ship. The liberty awards are highly valued by the SCI sailors, as each sailor can spend up to two weeks on duty on the Island. Rotating in shifts, these sailors provide continuous year round fuels support to the island.The ABFs stationed at SCI are responsible for the safe execution of both hot and cold refueling evolutions on all embarked and transient military and civilian aircrafts. They also operate the fuels lab where they are charged with receiving, cleaning, purifying and distributing JP-5 fuel.NAVSUP FLC San Diego supply management department works closely with Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific to facilitate fueling support of both Helicopter Advanced Readiness Program (HARP) and Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) training exercises on San Clemente Island. Through-out a calendar year the ABFs on SCI support eight to ten HARP trainings.HARP is a graduate level exercise designed to ensure aircrew are capable of using basic, intermediate, and advanced level tactics to effectively fly and fight the aircraft and FARPs are designed to provide fuel and ordnance necessary for highly-mobile and flexible helicopter and fixed-wing operations.Strategically placed, the position Harding currently fills is designated as both the Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific Supply Officer and NAVSUP FLC San Diego Coronado Site Director. This ensures streamlined communication between organizations and enhances the mission readiness of our fleet.“On behalf of SCI's Fuels Team, I would like to extend our appreciation to Cmdr. Harding for taking the time to visit the island in order to recognize us. The team’s morale was uplifted, and his visit was very significant to all of us. We are Combat Grapes who proudly support the fleet!" remarked Chief Petty Officer Anass Benmoussa, Supply Management Department – SCI Leading Chief Petty Officer, as he reflected on his team’s gratitude for the visit from the Site Director.During HARP/FARP exercises, the ABFs on SCI conduct approximately 30 refueling evolutions a day, and average approximately 75,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel issued during the week-long exercises. Under normal operations, the team dispenses an average of 100,000 gallons of JP-5 (Aviation Fuel), Diesel, and MOGAS at the fuel farm in one month.San Clemente Island is the primary maritime training area for the Navy Pacific Fleet and Sea, Air and Land Forces, playing a pivotal role in tactical training for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft squadrons assigned to Navy Region Southwest. Located 75 miles west of San Diego, SCI has been owned by the Navy since 1934 and is the Navy’s only remaining live fire range.NAVSUP FLC San Diego is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, NAVSUP employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP and the Navy Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor & family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars. Learn more at www.navsup.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/navsup and https://twitter.com/navsupsyscom
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