NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB) and Naval Supply Systems Command, Fleet Logistics Center - Jacksonville (NAVSUP FLC-J) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for one of the installation's fuel piers, Pier Charlie, Feb. 27.
"It's more than just a fuel pier. It's a lifeline for the base," said Capt. Matthew Ott, commanding officer, NAVSUP FLC-J. "It's critical not only to sustain today's operations, but gives us options for tomorrow and decades to come."
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, one of Guantanamo Bay's most senior residents, Mr. Noel West, was recognized for providing 55 years of civil service in the NAVSUP Fuels Division working on the original Pier Charlie.
"Many of the operations on this base occur in the background," said Ott. "Generally, many are invisible to the inhabitants, whether it's mail or household goods or supplies that arrive on island through a very, very complex network of supply and delivery."
Ott said that fuels is one of those commodities that we often, at times, take for granted, until of course, it runs out.
"Whether it's filling up your personal or work vehicles with gas or providing diesel fuel for power plants to the generator I hear humming in the background, or to help water plant capacity or capability, supporting air ops with JP-5, fuel is a commodity that we really don't think about at times, but we rely on and it needs to be there consistently," said Ott.
Pier Charlie started serving fuel to the base in the 1920s and continued to do so for more than 80 years until the inspections on the pier pilings showed advanced stages of deterioration. In 2014, a demolition project began so that the new facility could be constructed.
"There are a myriad of activities that have to take place for a project as complex as this one," said Ott. "It is truly a team effort."
Since the original pier construction, the population of the base has grown, other missions have arisen, and environmental regulations have come into play. Ott reiterated that the new pier is more than simply a replacement facility. The pier will provide a means to offload or replenish in an efficient manner and will enable workers to handle multiple types of fuel commodities concurrently. The environment was also taken into account with safety and environmental practices such as containment of potential spills being designed and incorporated into the new Pier Charlie to ensure it is even better than before.
"I can't underscore the scope and complexity of this Navy military construction project," said Ott. "Hundreds of thousands of man-hours went into the planning, development and execution to make it a reality. It's easy to look at the finished product and say 'Why did it take so long?' Well I will tell you what, when you consider the scale of the project ... this finished project is truly a testimony of partnership at all levels."
Ott was joined by many of these partners at the ribbon cutting and expressed thanks to Navy Region Southeast Chief of Staff Capt. Steve Barnett; Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Commanding Officer Capt. David Culpepper; NAVFAC Southeast Executive Officer Capt Gil Manalo; Defense Logistics Agency Energy's Capt. Matt Hollman; Naval Facilities Engineering Command GTMO Public Works Officer Cdr. Jeff Richer; and NAVSUP FLC-J GTMO Site Director Cdr. Shane Dietrich. Ott also thanked specific industry partners, the Public Works Department Project Manager Christine Flora, the men of NAVSUP FLC-J GTMO Fuels Department led by Mr. Tony Ramirez, the onsite fuels contractor Maytag led by Brian Lofland, and construction contractors AECOM and RQC. Each have provided exceptional service and support.
Pier Charlie's lifecycle is expected to match that of the original pier and to provide reliable fuel distribution for decades to come.
"Thanks to all who have tread the ground before us, who injected what I would call intellectual fuel to the project," said Ott. "They had the foresight and the will to make the significant investment payout. It's a payout in mission preparedness, warfighting capability and capacity, and will sustain mission readiness and service for generations to come."
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