Grissom fuel system

Danny Bowlin, a fuels contractor, pumps fuel Tuesday from a new $35 million Type III fuel hydrant system to a KC-135R Stratotanker at Grissom Air Reserve Base. The new system replaces a system installed in the 1950s.

BUNKER HILL — Grissom Air Reserve Base has wrapped up construction on a $35-million fuel hydrant system that marks one of the largest single projects ever completed at the military installation.

The new jet fueling system recently went online and replaced the base’s former fuel system, which was installed in the 1950s and required tanker trucks to enter the base in order to restock tanks.

Now, fuel is offloaded by delivery tankers to the base, which never have to come on to the main installation.

Lt. Col. Matt Garvelink, 434th Security Forces Squadron commander, said off-loading the tanker trucks from outside the base has obvious security benefits.

“Anytime we can create extra stand-off between Grissom’s asset vehicles with 50,000 pounds of jet fuel, it’s a good option,” he said in a release.

The new fuel system has a flow capacity of 600 gallons-per-minute, and can fuel four aircraft in the same parking row. It can also refuel and defuel planes at the same time.

“Anytime you replace a system older than 50 years with something new it can’t help but be better,” said Cory Walters, environmental flight chief, in a release. “The new system has 50 years’ worth of lessons learned and advancements built into it.”

Ground broke on the project in 2015, but the design began back in 2012. Construction ended up taking longer than expected, and was delayed even further by complications from the pandemic, officials said.

The Defense Logistics Agency paid for the project, which has now been turned over to Grissom.

Grissom Commander Thom Pemberton said that although it took around nine years to finish the new fuel system, it’s an infrastructure upgrade that will help the base far into the future.

“This new hydrant system not only brings increased capabilities for supporting our own aircraft, but also adds enhanced capabilities for transient aircraft, thus giving the base even more strategic importance,” he said.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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