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Fort Drum soldiers begin fueling operations in Hurricane Sandy aftermath

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FORT DRUM — Soldiers from the post’s 10th Mountain Division continued to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy on Wednesday afternoon, helping to refuel essential vehicles around the Brooklyn area.

Lt. Col. Michael B. Lalor, commander of the 710th Brigade Support Battalion of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, said about 20 soldiers were sent to Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, with five fueling trucks, each carrying about 2,500 gallons of fuel. The soldiers are charged with filling government and military vehicles along with those of first responders.

Before their arrival, Col. Lalor said, vehicles could receive only 10 gallons at a time to conserve supply. “With us here, we can get them all topped up and ease up some of the fuel concerns,” he said.

He said over the next few days, his soldiers would help distribute 8,000 gallons of fuel.

Col. Lalor said his unit’s mission could change depending on the severity of a nor’easter that swept through New York and New Jersey. “If this particular storm today and tonight creates more problems, whether we get something that causes significant power outages, we may be called in for additional missions,” Col. Lalor said Wednesday afternoon.

He said security had not been an issue since the soldiers arrived Wednesday, as extra military police had been stationed near fueling points. A police escort took the fuel trucks to the Brooklyn post.

Col. Lalor, who said this is the first time he has operated in a natural disaster area, said his soldiers have been energized to contribute to the relief effort.

Overall, about 250 personnel and 50 tankers were dispatched Monday and Tuesday from post to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, about 20 miles from Trenton, N.J.

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