Yokosuka-based U.S. Navy leader: We have a small island with a big mission
YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. Navy logistics leaders toured fueling operations onboard Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Hakozaki on the island of Azuma located within Tokyo Bay Jun. 5.
More than 80 years ago on a nondescript piece of land floating off the coast of the Empire of Japan’s home island of Honshu the Imperial Japanese Navy dug out a mountain and built massive fuel tanks within it. Today those tanks give the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka fuel department personnel the unparalleled capability to fuel the U.S. Navy’s forward deployed fleet presence.
"Right here, directly off the coast of Yokosuka we have a small island with a big mission,” said Capt. Ray Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Commanding Officer. “Our fuels personnel, who run the daily operations of DFSP Hakozaki, are maintaining a vital capability which feeds the fleet the fuel they need to maintain a strategic forward presence in this Asia Pacific region.”
Sticking out of the Pacific Ocean, within view from FLC Yokosuka headquarters and a mere 10-min boat ride away, the rock outcropping that is Azuma island sits unassuming to the naked eye but under the surface lies the life blood that keeps the U.S. Navy moving.
DFSP Hakozaki holds 29 fuel tanks, each ranging from 3,000 barrels to 300,000 barrels in total capacity with the entire operation putting out an average annual throughput of 116 million gallons per year.
“The island acts as a main distribution hub for central and northern Japan,” said John Floyd, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Kanto Area Fuel Director.
As half of the U.S. Navy’s deployed fleet is permanently home-ported in the Asia Pacific it is vital that NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka has the fuel available to keep the ships moving and DFSP Hakozaki is an integral piece of a much larger puzzle.
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka has a very significant fuel mission that spans from points in the north Pacific to the Indian Ocean, managing roughly 45 percent of the total Navy fuel in the region, which equates to an astounding 10 percent of the Department of Defense (DOD) total global bulk petroleum inventory.
“We receive fuel in 240,000 barrel shipments from deep draft ocean tankers contracted by Military Sealift Command (MSC), which is then Trans shipped from Hakozaki to other DFSP's via deep draft and shallow draft ocean tankers and coastal barges contracted by MSC; then shipped to end use customers via trucks or shallow draft barges,” said Floyd.
These primary customers include jets and aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Yokota Air Base and Misawa Air Base as well as all the 7th Fleet Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) vessels, said Floyd, adding that fuel is also shipped to Okinawa, Guam, Diego Garcia, Wake Island and Kwajalein Atoll.
With such an expansive reach, it is easy to say that if you find yourself on a U.S. military aircraft or ship traveling between ports and airstrips across this AOR (area of responsibility), chances are the fuel that delivered you to your destination was put there by the hard work of more than 100 fuel professionals that spend their days on a very small island doing very important work.
As the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka enterprise networks more than 20 sites and fuel terminals from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam with a mission to serve the Asia Pacific Region’s forward deployed maritime warfighter with 24/7 operational logistics support integrating an extensive service provider network to deliver fuel as well as other supply chain services to include parts, material, provisions and mail across the U.S. Navy’s largest geographical AOR.