MCAS BEAUFORT --
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 won awards from the American Petroleum Institute for fuels as Marine Corps non-tactical unit of the year and tactical unit of the year respectively for 2013.
Gunnery Sgt. Richard Garrett, fuels team leader of the Sweathog section that led MWSS-273 to win the award, placed second as Marine Corps fuel staff non-commissioned officer of the year. Air Station civilian Ronnie Brady was a runner up for Marine Corps fuel civilian of the year.
"I’m very proud of my Marines," said Garrett. "With their hard work and dedication, and my guidance and direction, we were able to be successful."
The annual awards recognize activities and personnel that have made the most significant contributions to Department of Defense bulk fuel operations, petroleum supply chain management, and fleet fuel support.
"Our section provides fuel to [Marine Aircraft Group 31]," said Garrett. "So we do ground fuel, and aviation fuel for different types of aircraft, whether it’s rotary wing aircraft, C-130s or F-18s."
Garrett deployed to Afghanistan from March to September, 2012. During the deployment, he was a key factor in the establishment of a new fuels operating site.
"In Afghanistan, we were at a main forward operating base at Bastion, but we had multiple forward arming and refueling points [FARPs] throughout the country," said Garrett. "I had to establish a brand new facility, so I had to bring a lot of equipment in from Bastion, and brought some equipment from [another FOB that closed]. They tore it down and convoyed everything to me.
The new facility helped maintain the vital capability that FARPs provide.
"Whenever [our pilots are] flying, and they go out to the front of the battlefield, they can fly back to these FARPs in between the front line and the main FOB, refuel, get ammo and be able to turn around and go back out to the front of the fight without flying all the way back," said Garrett.
Despite his accomplishments as a leader, his outstanding performance as a petroleum professional, and his contributions to the mission of the Marine Corps, Garrett attributes his personal gain to his Marines.
"It wasn’t just me, it was my Marines that had contributed to the success of our mission. I was just leading and guiding them, and directing them on what to do," Garrett said.